TWO WEEKS AGO, Ruben Amaro Jr. and the Phillies brass arrived at the winter meetings with a formidable task at hand: After 2 months of inactivity and with 2 months before the start of spring training, management had to address the glaring holes on the roster.
Panic began to set in with fans when the same brass prepared to leave Nashville with those same glaring holes unfilled. But in a 10-day span since he walked out of the doors of the Opryland Hotel, Amaro quickly and diligently has taken care of business.
A week after adding Michael Young and Ben Revere to the lineup, Amaro acquired two pitchers for Charlie Manuel's staff. The Phils signed veteran setup man Mike Adams and lefthanded starter John Lannan to free-agent contracts on Saturday, according to league sources.
The Phillies haven't announced or confirmed either signing; both deals are likely pending physicals.
Adams and Lannan fill what were significant vacancies on the roster.
The 34-year-old Adams, one of baseball's top eighth-inning arms in the last 4 years, provides the Phillies with perhaps their best setup arm since Ryan Madson handed the ball over to Brad Lidge in the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
In the last three seasons, Adams has a 2.06 ERA with 192 strikeouts and 54 walks in 192 2/3 innings in 206 games with the San Diego Padres and Texas Rangers. Adams had a 3.27 ERA in 61 games with Texas in 2012, a season that ended with him undergoing a procedure to address Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, which can affect circulation in the hands.
Adams is expected to be ready by spring training. The Phillies signed him to a 2-year, $12 million deal that includes a vesting option for a third season. In order for the third year to kick in, Adams must make 120 appearances in the next two seasons and at least 60 appearances in 2014, according to an ESPN.com report.
Although his name might not register as highly on the hot stove league Richter scale like a Josh Hamilton or Zack Greinke, Adams is a big-splash addition to the relief corps. With a bullpen besieged by injuries and inexperience in front of closer Jonathan Papelbon, the Phils lost 16 games that they led in the seventh inning or later last season.
Adams has pitched in the eighth inning in 246 of his 359 career games, sporting a 1.82 ERA with 237 strikeouts in the eighth. The deal for Adams was first reported by KRIS-TV in Corpus Christi, Texas, Adams' hometown.
While Adams should complete the makeup of the 'pen, Lannan likely will fill out a rotation that already includes Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Kyle Kendrick.
CSNPhilly.com first reported the 1-year deal. According to CBSsports.com, Lannan will earn a guaranteed $2.5 million in 2012.
The 28-year-old Lannan is 42-52 with a 4.01 ERA in parts of six seasons with the Washington Nationals. Lannan went 4-1 with a 4.13 ERA in six starts with Washington in 2012, when he spent the majority of the year at Triple A after being a regular in the Nats' rotation for the four previous seasons.
After the Nationals added Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson last winter, Lannan was the victim of a numbers crunch; he returned to the major league rotation when Washington shut down Stephen Strasburg in September.
Lannan fills the void left by Vance Worley, who was sent to Minnesota in the Revere trade. He fits the bill of the "low-risk, high-reward" starting pitcher Amaro said the team was seeking for that void a week earlier.
With the additions of Young, Revere, Adams and Lannan, the Phils still have the financial wherewithal to add the final piece to the puzzle that is their 2013 roster. Amaro and Co. are still looking for an upgrade in the outfield.
In order to stay under the $178 million luxury-tax threshold, the Phils would have to get that outfielder for less than $9 million in 2013. But with that threshold rising to $189 million in 2014, they may very well consider going above the threshold this coming season.
A Foxsports.com report late Saturday said the Phillies had "intensified" their pursuit of Cody Ross.