The Newest Tiger is Brandon Lyon

The Tigers will formally announce the signing of Brandon Lyon on Saturday. Terms are not immediately available but it is likely a one or two year contract. Lyon isn’t necessarily being handed the closers position, but he will definitely have a shot to claim it.

UPDATE 2:49 The deal is one year and $4.25 million with another half million in incentives. Eddie Bonine was DFA’d to make room on the 40 man roster

Lyon served as the Diamondbacks closer for the first half of 2008 before losing the job. The ERA and WHIP weren’t impressive last year, but there are a couple of quirks at play. First was a very high .355 BABIP. The second, and likely the reason for the first, is he was tremendously unlucky on ground balls. Last year 13.4% of the ground balls he allowed resulted in infield hits. To provide some context, Ichiro Suzuki has a career 12.2% mark. Suffice it to say that it was abnormally high and likely to correct itself.

The high BABIP resulted in an ERA a nearly a run higher than his FIP.

Detroit Tiger Tales also points out his clean outing rate. Even in 2008, it was higher than every current Tiger reliever other than Clay Rapada and it compares favorably to Trevor Hoffman, Takashi Saito, and Juan Cruz.

I don’t know that Brandon Lyon is the savior at closer, but the signing demonstrably improves the bullpen provided his second half struggles in 2008 were not the result of some sort of injury that could carry over to 2009.

28 Comments

  1. jud

    January 23, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    very good signing. He is basically a younger version of Todd Jones.
    The second good reason is it puts Rodney back where he just might do some good . The 8th or 7th inning

  2. Kevin in Austin

    January 24, 2009 at 12:53 am

    I like it. Should we change this to 11?.

    Let’s try to get out of the first week DD before we pipe off about our All-Stars.

  3. Kevin in Austin

    January 24, 2009 at 12:53 am

    I like it. Should we change this to 11?.

    Let’s try to get out of the first week DD before we pipe off about our All-Star prospects.

    (sorry about the double post. damn Ajax.)

  4. Dave BW

    January 24, 2009 at 9:29 am

    Yay! A signing!

  5. Kyle J

    January 24, 2009 at 9:38 am

    Works for me. 13 walks in 59.3 innings last season.

  6. Dave BW

    January 24, 2009 at 10:16 am

    btw, Lyon had a .360 BABIP last year, which is way out of line with the average. He will most likely revert to the mean this year, meaning we could have just picked up a terrific bargain.

  7. Coach Jim

    January 24, 2009 at 10:56 am

    This gives us 4 guys in the pen that throw reasonable strikes, Lyon, Seay, Glover and Lopez. That’s pretty encouraging. It’s time we stop drooling over “good arms” and start developing “good pitchers.”

  8. Eric Cioe

    January 24, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    Glover and Lopez aren’t with the organization anymore. Lopez let just about every inherited runner he had score and Glover was a bad Kyle Farnsworth. I’m ready for totally new blood.

  9. Kevin in Austin (now Dallas)

    January 24, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Game 4 of ’06 ALCS is on MLB network right now…

  10. Joey in Portland OR

    January 24, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Lyon’s a Tiger, Oh my!

    Rollercoaster v 2.0

    At least we are used to rollercoasters already.

  11. Joey in Portland OR

    January 24, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    and thanks for the tip Kevin!

  12. Dave BW

    January 24, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Does anyone in Metro Detroit know what Comcast package I have to get in order to receive MLB network?

  13. Vince in MN

    January 24, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Going to ST, this is how the staff looks to me:
    Starters
    1. Verlander
    2. Bonderman
    3. Galarraga
    4. Jackson
    5. Robertson

    Bullpen
    6. Miner
    7.
    8.
    9.
    10. Seay
    11. Rodney
    12. Lyon

    I am leaving out Willis and Zumaya, assuming they won’t be ready in April. I am giving Robertson the nod as #5 simply because he is LH while all the others are RH. That leaves the three empty bullpen spots. Rapada (mostly because he is LH) and Dolsi probably have an edge for two of them, but who fills in the last spot? Rincon and Williamson are in the mix, but I don’t really expect much there. How about giving Fein or one of the other rookies a real shot, or does DD keep shopping? The staff still looks a little soft to me, not much depth there. What to do?

  14. Mat

    January 24, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    I would not use Lyon as a closer. He really looked soft with the Diamondbacks last year. The tigers really need someone more reliable and should have been in the market for Kerry Wood or even guys like Trevor Hoffman, Brian Fuentes or even Takashi Saito… ostensibly, the only “closers” remaining are guys who I wouldn’t think about trusting. (Izzy and Gagne). We’ll see what happens…

    Matthew Gargano
    http://www.mlbfreeagents.net

  15. Chris Y.

    January 24, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Ask any Cubs fan: “Broken” Wood does not equal “reliable”. Hoffman showed his age last year, the Rox couldn’t wait to jettison Fuentes, and Saito had to have cells experimentally injected into his elbow to save his career.

    I’d say they all would have with baggage.

    And at least Lyon throws strikes. That alone improves the pen.

  16. Chris in Dallas

    January 24, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    I’d say this is decent enough news. Should add some depth. In Lyon and Rodney you have two guys who have experience in closing games at least, so you’re not going with anyone inexperienced in the 9th if that means anything.

  17. Chauncey

    January 24, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    The problem with the Tigers pitching staff as a whole is that there is potential there for a year like 2006, but also a lot of potential for a year like 2008.

    The problem DD had this offseason was really that there was no where to turn for help without giving out another bad contract. Giving $20 million to Woods may turn out to be smart, but also could be a disaster. Same for Fuentes. Lyons throws strikes, and has proven to be an effective closer- assuming he pitches like he did in the first half last year. At the worst, he looks like a guy that could give solid outings in the 7th-8th innings. It looks like the Tigers are really hoping that they improve from within with guys like Dolsi, Zumaya getting healthy, and possibly Feins or Perry coming up. I don’t have high hopes for the ‘pen, but again, there is the potential for it to be decent, provided things go right.

  18. Pingback: tOfficial Tigers 2008-2099 Offseason thread - Page 22

  19. Coach Jim

    January 24, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    Glover and Lopez not with the team? I missed that. Grrrr

  20. Kathy

    January 24, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    Dave BW,

    Seems you have the same problem I have living right here in Michigan and still can’t get it. After speaking with numerous customer service types several times (some of them didn’t know anything about MLB Network) I went over to the local Comcast office and asked them. “We don’t have that” I was told. Finally after going back and forth the Supervisor said we would get it after the digital changeover. Now, what that has to do with it is anyones guess. Right now, I absolutely HATE Comcast. Good Luck!

  21. Dave BW

    January 24, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    Thanks Kathy — it’s apparently on their Digitial Classic package, which I picked up today (it was fun to see Kenny’s 06 WS game again).

  22. Brenden

    January 25, 2009 at 12:08 am

    I’m good with Lyon, at least he has had decent experience as closer some time in his career, unlike Rodney, or anyone else in the bullpen.

  23. Figdawg

    January 25, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Anybody who has WOW cable, please go to the MLB network site and demand that WOW offer the MLB Network as part of its service.
    MLB has it all set up for you. It is very easy to do.
    As far as the Tiger bullpen goes, Casey Fien will be another member of this bullpen. I wish somebody would tell me what the roles are going to be for the two pitchers out of Robertson, Willis, and Miner that are NOT going to be the fifth starter. I still think that before the end of spring training, you will see the Tigers trade one of these pitchers for someone who is more accustomed to pitching out of the bullpen.
    I believe we are going to have a better then .500 team, and with a little luck, contend for the playoffs. Don’t forget about Cabrera. He had 37 home runs and 127 RBI’s without hitting his stride until mid – June. I think 150-160 RBI’s are a realistic goal for him – IF EVERYBODY IS REASONABLY HEALTHY.

  24. Peter from GR

    January 25, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    I too am quite angry I can’t get the MLB Network
    I also am NOT going to switch back to Comcast just to get it
    Waiting for DishNetwork to add it

    BTW
    I love this signing
    It shows DD is actually capable of signing solid relief help (such as not signing: Wood,
    Fuentes, Hoffman, etc.- sure they all have baggage, but at least they proved they can close out a game, unlike Rodney)

  25. Mr X

    January 25, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    The team is really shaping up nicely since the season ended. It’s good that DD filled the voids that Jones and Rogers left, but also filled in the SS (Renteria) and Catcher (Pudge) vacancies with established major leaguers.

    The Tigers could still be either really good or bad. Still much depends on guys like Zumaya, Robertson, and Willis filling out the staff and contributing positively.
    Just a thought, if Willis is anywhere near healthy, maybe he should be considered for the closers job. His stuff is wild enough to make him a good closer, kind of like how Mitch Williams was. Dontrel’s goofy personality on the mound kind of fits the closers role also.

  26. Kathy

    January 25, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    Well, I finally find MLB Network, which Comcast says I don’t have, only to watch the Tigers get beat in the WS. According to MLB Network I was supposed to get the channel on #179 but it is on #279. Even last night, Comcast told me it wasn’t available in my area no matter what package I had.

    Now, I’m in baseball heaven!!!!

  27. Joey in Portland OR

    January 26, 2009 at 12:03 am

    I”m loving the MLB Network. Sadly I could only bear to watch Game 2 of the 2006 WS, and Game 4 of the ALCS, is still awesome. Wish they showed the ALDS too!

  28. Dave BW

    January 26, 2009 at 8:56 am

    Me too, Joey. Those WS games STILL piss me off :)