As long as he passes his physical, Brandon Lyon will join the New York Mets bullpen, which would likely complete Sandy Alderson’s winter makeover of one of the team’s weaknesses from 2012. Financial terms of the one-year deal were released last night, as Lyon will earn between $750K and $900K, with incentives that coul bring the overall value to $2.4 million. This is a great signing for the Mets, as it helps solidify the back-end of the bullpen for multiple scenarios.
Last season with both the Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays, Lyon appeared in 67 games (61 IP) and posted a 4-2 record, 3.10 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, and 63 strikeouts. As Danny Abriano pointed out yesterday morning when reporting news of the signing, Lyon enjoyed a 9.3 K/9IP rate, which was by far the highest of his career. In fact, the second-highest single season K/9IP rate came all the way back in 2003 with the Boston Red Sox. Why did this happen, and how did this number more than double from 2011 t0 2012? Danny cited an article on Fangraphs that credits the use of his curveball.
May 19, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros pitcher Brandon Lyon (37) pitches in the eighth inning against the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
What I like the most about this signing is that Lyon can fill multiple roles within the ‘pen if needed. He spent most of his time in ’12 as a set-up man, which is job he is set to take on with the Mets, as Frank Francisco will probably have the closer’s job to lose (if Terry Collins has anything to say about it). However, if Frank Frank falters, he can take on that role, as he’s closed 79 games and finished 234 others in his 11-year career. He can also give Bobby Parnell that veteran guidance the Mets continue to groom him to take over the 9th inning, possibly as soon as 2014.
Well, there’s more Michael Bourn news, but I swear it’s new! Jim Bowden of ESPN tweeted a league source shared with him that it’s likely the MLB and MLBPA would agree to protect the Mets’ 11th overall pick because the wording in the Collective Bargaining Agreement is flawed. However, Adam Rubin’s source told him the complete opposite, stating that the league remains steadfast in their belief to not protect their pick because the wording in the CBA is clear. So, just when we thought there were two steps taken forward, it looks like there are three more steps taken backward. Bowden also mentioned that the annual average of the deal for Bourn will end up being between $14-15 million.
While I’d rather see the Mets agree to a deal with Bourn for less, I can see Boras’ view on this. The free agent center fielder is viewed as more valuable than other players with similar skill sets that also signed contracts this winter (Angel Pagan and Shane Victorino), and wants a highest annual average value of them all ($13 mil for Victorino) and highest overall money ($40 mil for Pagan), plus combining that with the fact that they already rejected a $13.3 million qualifying offer from Atlanta. Although I see where he’s coming from, it’s too bad for him. It’s less than a week before Spring Training, and it doesn’t look like any other team is seriously pursuing him, so they’ll have to settle for a shorter deal worth less money, unless he wants to sit out for a while longer…which I doubt.
Adam Rubin was busy giving us news yesterday, and he gave us an encouraging update on Travis d’Arnaud’s knee, as the catcher said his injured knee feels 100% and he’s already participating in voluntary drills in Port St. Lucie. We also learned a couple weeks ago that Terry Collins was planning on giving both Justin Turner and Zach Lutz a look in the outfield during camp, and Lutz is already doing his fair share of outfield drills in camp with coach Tom Goodwin. I guess he knows that if he performs well, he has a clear track to the Big Leagues.
Sandy Alderson participated in a live chat yesterday with Mets fans, and among the topics that were discussed, we heard what his thoughts were on the Bourn situation, whether or not they’re still considering Brian Wilson and Jose Valverde for the ‘pen, and where Wilmer Flores will be playing on the field this season. You can find the recap right here on Rising Apple. We also secured our second interview of the week, this one with pitcher Jeremy Hefner.