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.

Detroit Tigers Weblog Live – 1.22.09

It’s the return of DTW live. Tune in at 9:30 ET tonight and will talk Tigers as they embark on their caravan. Topics include: well the bullpen of course, Verlander’s extension, the demise of WDFN and whatever else comes up. Hope to see you back here at 9:30.

We ended up covering quite a bit in this extended (44 minutes) edition. Once we get back to a regular posting schedule I’d like to keep these a little shorter.

Links from today’s show:

Like sands through the hourglass

I think it’s clear that the Tigers bullpen situation will be an on going saga. It’s been the lead story leading up to Tigerfest and will likely hold that distinction throughout spring training (unless of course someone gets injured in the World Baseball Classic). Without an established and healthy closer available, anyone that is brought in to help the pen wouldn’t be a lock to close games anyways.
Continue reading Like sands through the hourglass

Tigers relief options dwindling

As we move closer to spring training, the Tigers bullpen still remains highly questionable. This hasn’t bothered me for the most part due to the number of options on the market. And while still not bothered, I am growing more concerned as two more of those options are close to signing deals.

Trevor Hoffman doesn’t appear to be an option as he mulls over a one year offer from the Dodgers amidst reports that he is close to a deal with the Brewers.

Another intriguing possibility, Michigan native John Smoltz, is set to sign with the Red Sos for a $5.5 million base and incentives that could push the deal to $10 million.

I don’t know how excited I would be about either option, but knowing they were out there made me feel better about the Tigers situation. The market for relievers isn’t barren yet. Juan Cruz is in compensation pick purgatory and Brandon Lyon is still available. But the only Tigers rumor floating is that they will watch Chad Cordero throw, along with a third of the league. For a bullpen that has exactly one member who is both productive and not a huge injury risk (Bobby Seay), that doesn’t really instill the warm fuzzies.

Winter Meetings – Heading to Day 3

I had so much hope after the first day of the winter meetings. The Tigers had two holes filled with plenty of money to fix the bullpen. Things aren’t going according to my plan.

Francisco Rodriguez was never an option for the Tigers, but he’s with the Mets. Kerry Wood was a very attractive, no compensatory draft pick, choice. But Wood chose the Indians.

The Tigers are still interested in J.J. Putz, but so are the Brewers. The Brewers have a better system and I don’t want the Tigers to get into a bidding war. Already Matt Joyce AND Jeff Larish AND Luis Marte have been discussed. That’s way too much for a guy with elbow ligament issues. It would be reminiscent of the Renteria trade in which the team instantly gets older. Joyce can’t be part of that deal.

But it sounds like the Mariners aren’t finding any matches and it’s unclear of the Tigers met with the Mariners today.

Brandon Lyon is a secondary arm I’d like to see the Tigers add. He’s talking to the Red Sox now.

Yes, Brian Fuentes (Rosenthal says the Tigers are interested in Fuentes) and Juan Cruz are still out there. Either would mean parting with the second round pick in next year’s draft.

Meanwhile the Tigers don’t like the Bobby Seay-Clay Rapada-Nate Robertson possibilities as lefties and continue to pursue Joe Beimel. Beimel is suitable as a LOOGY, but he wouldn’t be paid or used that way. The guy has walked more right handed batters in his career than he’s struck out. Don’t be fooled by the low ERA last year. Other than an ability to limit homers he isn’t a good pitcher.

If they can’t get Beimel then John Parrish is the back-up plan. Parrish has walked 6.10 batters per 9 innings over his career. Yippee. The walk numbers have been more mediocre to not good as of late, but the K-rate has gone the same way. He strikes me more as a spring training NRI than someone worthy of a 40 man roster spot.

Here’s hoping tomorrow is a better day.

UDPATE Wednesday 5:58 a.m.:

UPDATE Wednesday 7:43 p.m. Thanks to everyone for participating and keeping the rumors flowing today. Sheffield and Smoltz? Huh.

Winter Meetings – Heading to Day 2

With the Tigers being fairly active today, there won’t be a lot of speculation about those catcher and shortstop holes. But there still are items of interest on the relief pitching front. Here’s the buzz as I get ready to sign off for the night. This will be our day 2 rumor repository as well.

Chad Cordero will meet with 5 teams. The Tigers are one of them. I wonder if Cordero gets a big league deal from anyone or he chooses the best looking minor league contract.

Brandon Lyon, a favorite target of mine, will be meeting with the Royals along with Kyle Farnsworth.

As for the closer market, the Tigers are still connected to J.J. Putz and Kerry Wood. Their price could be heavily dictated by K-Rod who received an offer from the Mets that is expected to be 2 and 24 with a 3rd year option. Not quite the $75 million people were expecting heading into the offseason.

On that front, division rival Cleveland met with Kerry Wood’s people this evening and are still interested in Brian Fuentes and Trevor Hoffman.

I’ll post more as I hear it. As always I recommend checking out http://mlbtraderumors.com as well as Twitter for updates on the winter meetings.

UPDATE: 7:30 p.m. Kerry Wood is off the market and to the Indians. Damn. He wouldn’t have cost a draft pick or prospects. The Tigers continue to pursue J.J. Putz but I’d just assume not get into a prospect bidding war with the Brewers for a guy who is coming off an elbow injury.

Jason Beck continues to report Joe Beimel rumors. Let’s just say that Day 1 seems better than Day 2 so far.

Winter Meeting Eve Rumor Roundup

Are Larish and Thames on the trading block?
Are Larish and Thames on the trading block?
UPDATED 12.08.08 5:08 a.m.

Tomorrow is the start of the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas and things are going to get crazy-stupid when it comes to rumors and people who saw people talking to people. It was at the winter meetings last year (a year ago last Thursday to be exact) when the Tigers traded for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis. It was a move that came out of nowhere, so you never know what will happen. With that in mind, here is a cautious look at Tigers related rumors before the meetings begin.
Continue reading Winter Meeting Eve Rumor Roundup