Thought the Revs’ bullpen was looking pretty good?
Well it just got a whole lot better. The Revs signed RHP Adam Thomas today, an All-Star closer for the Road Warriors last season. Thomas, a member of the inaugural 2007 Revs, has the York portion of his career come full circle, having joined the team in camp today.
Thomas was the first closer in team history, and was dominant for York during the first month of the 2007 season. Few Revs fans saw him pitch in their team’s jersey, though, as the team’s “home” games were still being played in Camden at the time. Thomas was signed by the Oakland A’s a couple of weeks before the team moved into Sovereign Bank Stadium, and today marked the first time he had set foot in the Revs’ clubhouse as a member of the home squad.
It’s been a remarkable journey for Thomas the last few years. He retired after the 2007 season and worked at a baseball facility owned by Mark Cuban in the Dallas area, coaching youth teams as well. Thomas had been playing in an adult league near home, and one day a friend of his clocked him on the radar gun just for fun. It happened to be in the mid 90s.
Thomas decided to give pro ball another shot, but when he contacted teams in the Atlantic League before last season, rosters had already been filled, and it was fair to consider him an unknown, having not pitched professionally in three years. So he landed with the Road Warriors, and had an outstanding season (17 saves, 1.73 ERA), pitching in the All-Star Game at Sovereign Bank Stadium, and earning a spring training invite with the San Francisco Giants.
Thomas pitched in spring camp with the Giants this year, and then signed a contract to pitch in Mexico where he made eight appearances for Laguna. At one point in Mexico, he was clocked on the radar gun at 98 mph, the first time he’s ever been registered that high.
Now 32 years old (he’ll turn 33 on May 22), he is throwing the ball as well as he ever has, and is a huge addition for a Revs bullpen that already had plenty of late-inning options. But there’s no such thing as too much of a good thing.
R.J. Rodriguez will be the team’s closer to begin the season, having earned that job the last two years. But Thomas is a proven back-end guy and would be great in the 8th inning, or wherever he’s used. The Revs also expect Ricardo Gomez to arrive, perhaps in early May, after finishing his commitment to pitch in a tournament in Panama. And Dumas Garcia’s arrival is expected soon as well… he’s another guy that the coaching staff likes in one-inning situations, perhaps late in games. And don’t forget Santo Luis, who was scouted as having the “best arm in indy ball” last season by Baseball America. We’ll see where Stephen Penney fits into the mix as well, as he’s on his way to York tonight.
They like what they have from the left side as well with Ian Thomas and Kris Regas. Thomas is just 25 years old and has a 2.03 ERA in three pro seasons in Winnipeg. Regas is finally 100% healthy after missing all of 2010 due to injury. He pitched well last year, but said he never felt the consistency or comfort that he wanted coming off surgery the previous year. As Etch used him more consistently late in the season, he threw the ball better and better. If he can return to the form that he had in the American Association before his shoulder injury a few years back, the Revs could have a lefty that’s even better than they thought they had.
Point is, the team has lots of potential, and many options in their ‘pen with the season opener in Texas just over a week away. Fan Fest is now just four days away, and the first open spring training game at The Vault is just two days away, so fans will get a glimpse of this team soon. And with Thomas’ signing, they just got that much better.