UPDATE 10:20PM MLB Trade Rumors is reporting that Ken Rosenthal has heard the Tigers and Brandon Lyon are close to agreeing on a deal. The deal would actually be only one year and worth five million dollars, plus incentives.
About a month or so ago we talked about the Detroit Tigers and their lack of a closer. We said the Tigers had decided to not focus on the position at the time as General Manager Dave Dombrowski wasn’t impressed by any of the options out there. Now that Spring Training is drawing near the Tigers have changed their tune. With it almost being game time one can’t blame the Tigers for now scouring the market, there is still some talent out there and it’s all becoming very cheap. The person at the head of the class is former Arizona Diamondbacks closer Brandon Lyon.
Lyon had a strange 2008 campaign, before the All-Star Game he was lights out, a money closer saving 19 games with a 2.43 era. After the All-Star break was a completely different story. He racked up an era of 8.46, with only one save coming after August 12. All of that led to him losing his job to Chad Qualls. Because of this one has to wonder which Brandon Lyon the Tigers will see. Will it be lights out Lyon or lit up Lyon? Will it be somewhere in between.
The Tigers have enough interest in Lyon thou where they are willing to offer a two-year deal, rumored to be worth $9 million. There’s enough interest where they are going to give him a chance at the closer role currently occupied by Fernando Rodney. The St. Louis Cardinals are also in the mix thou, so things aren’t quite finalized yet.
Regardless of what happens it can’t be worse then last years nightmare. Todd Jones was just atrocious in the role, and Rodney wasn’t much better. While Lyon had a horrendous second half of the season, he still had a better overall season when it came to save situations. So with that being said, if he can just perform in the middle of his two extremes then stability would be brought to the Tigers bullpen. Which is something the pitching staff at a whole missed last year.
Does this move turn the Tigers back into a contender? No, definitely not but it’s a step in the right direction. The offense should rebound this year, there is just too much talent for them not too. For the Tigers to succeed it’s all going to come down to the starting pitching. If those guys can rediscover their form, then having a capable closer like Lyon on the back end should definitely help.
“I think before it’s all said and done, there’ll be more of a veteran presence in our bullpen than people think,” manager Jim Leyland said during a stop on the team’s winter caravan Thursday.
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