Brandon Lyon Rumors
Brandon Lyon exercised the opt-out clause in his contract and was granted his release from the Red Sox's Triple-A affiliate, the minor-league club announced. Lyon, 33, did so after learning there wasn't a spot available for him in the major league team's bullpen, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal tweets.
Lyon logged 5 1/3 innings with 1.69 ERA for the Pawtucket Red Sox since inking a minor-league deal in July. He's already seen significant time in the majors with the Mets this season, and was excellent in his first 31 1/3 innings, posting a 3.16 ERA. However, he proceeded to give up eight runs in his next three innings, prompting the Mets to designate him for assignment shortly thereafter. In 681 1/3 major league innings, Lyon owns a 4.16 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9.
As Tim Britton of the Providence Journal writes, it's been 10 years since the strangest week of Brandon Lyon's life. In 2003, the then-23-year-old Lyon was dealt by the Red Sox to the Pirates as part of a pacakage for lefty Scott Sauerbeck. The Pirates decided they weren't comfortable with the state of Lyon's elbow and sent him back to the Red Sox in a trade centering around Freddy Sanchez and Jeff Suppan just nine days later. Now with the Red Sox once again, Lyon tells Britton that he hopes to be with the big league club in the near future. Here's more on the AL East...
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that as of Sunday, the Yankees had yet to receive a single trade offer for struggling right-hander Phil Hughes. That's fairly surprising, given Hughes' solid production away from Yankee Stadium (3.02 ERA in 53 2/3 innings compared to 6.02 in 58 1/3 innings at home).
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman feels that there may be more offense on its way to New York via the trade market before Wednesday's deadline, writes MLB.com's Bryan Hoch.
- The Red Sox are no longer in the mix for Joe Nathan, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com, but they're still prioritizing right-handed relief help. The Red Sox remain in contact with the Phillies about Michael Young but find the asking price for Cliff Lee too high, according to Bradford. The same goes for Jake Peavy of the White Sox.
- Alex Speier of WEEI.com takes a look at how the Red Sox stack up in terms of starting pitching, right-handed relief and third base options.
The Red Sox have signed right-handers Jose Contreras and Brandon Lyon to minor league deals and assigned each to Triple-A Pawtucket, the team announced (hat tip: Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald on Twitter).
Contreras, 41, was released by the Pirates just over 24 hours ago. He's spent time on the bereavement list and dealt with shoulder inflammation recently, but as Tim Dierkes noted yesterday, Contreras has excelled at Triple-A Indianapolis of late. The veteran Cuban has allowed just one earned run with 19 strikeouts against five walks in his past 16 2/3 minor league innings. Contreras is represented by agent Jaime Torres.
Lyon, 33, was released by the Mets 10 days ago. He was terrific in his first 31 1/3 innings for the Mets, posting a 3.16 ERA with 22 strikeouts against 10 walks in that time. However, he yielded eight earned runs over his next three innings of work, including a disastrous six-run meltdown against the Nationals. This will be Lyon's second stint with Boston, as he saved nine games and pitched to a 4.12 ERA in 59 innings with the Sox back in 2003. Lyon is a client of Meister Sports Management.
TUESDAY: The Mets announced they have asked for unconditional release waivers on Lyon. Assuming he goes unclaimed, he'll soon be a free agent.
THURSDAY: The Mets have designated right-handed reliever Brandon Lyon for assignment, according to the team's official Twitter feed. New York will recall fellow righty Greg Burke to take Lyon's roster spot, the team further tweets.
After a solid 2012 season in which he put up a 3.10 ERA, 9.3 K/9, and 3.0 BB/9 over 61 innings for the Astros and Blue Jays, Lyon signed on with the Mets for 2013. As ESPN's game log shows, Lyon had been reasonably productive for New York until he was bombed by the Nationals last Friday and Sunday. He is currently sporting a 4.91 ERA in 33 innings thrown, though he was sitting at 3.16 earned per nine before the Nats came into town. Lyon has, however, failed to match last year's strikeout to walk ratio: he has registered 6.3 K/9 against 3.5 BB/9 to date.
As ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin notes on Twitter, Lyon was one of only two free agents (the other being Shaun Marcum) to get a Major League deal from the Mets this past offseason. Rubin also tweets that Lyon was on the verge of triggering contract incentives. Sitting at 37 appearances, Lyon would have earned $100k for every five appearances beginning with his fortieth.
MONDAY: ESPN New York's Adam Rubin has the breakdown of Lyon's contract. He'll earn a $750K base salary, and his contract has incentives for appearances, games finished and time spent on the MLB roster.
Lyon will receive $100K for reaching 40, 45, 50 and 55 appearances. He'll receive $125K for reaching 60 and 65 appearances. He'll receive $50K for finishing 30, 35, 40, 45 and 50 games. He will receive $100K for 1, 30, 60 and 90 days spent on the roster. Lastly, he'll receive $125K for 120 and 150 days on the roster.
All told, Lyon's contract could total $2.3MM if he hits each of his incentives. That seems unlikely, as he doesn't currently project as New York's closer.
FRIDAY: The Mets announced they have officially signed free agent right-hander Brandon Lyon to a one-year deal. Meister Sports Management represents Lyon, who will earn a base salary of between $750-$900K, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The total value of the deal will be worth $2.4MM if Lyon hits his incentive bonuses (Twitter links).
Lyon, 33, split the 2012 season between the Astros and Blue Jays. He posted a 3.10 ERA with 9.3 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and a 37.5% ground ball rate in 61 innings of relief work. The 11-year veteran averaged 90.2 mph with his fastball. Lyon earned $5.5MM in 2012, but the terms of his deal with the Mets are not yet known.
The Mets have added a number of relief pitchers on minor league deals this winter, as MLBTR's Free Agent Tracker shows. Scott Atchison, Tim Byrdak, Pedro Feliciano and LaTroy Hawkins are also candidates for the New York bullpen. Frank Francisco is expected to close for the Mets (though be sure to follow @closernews in case anything changes).
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com first reported the agreement (on Twitter) and Andy Martino of the New York Daily News first reported the sides agreed to a one-year deal (on Twitter). Steve Adams also contributed to this post.
- New York GM Sandy Alderson said the Mets will probably be done adding to their bullpen, assuming the deal with Lyon goes through, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports (Twitter links). The club had interest in a number of relievers as recently as last week, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork reported.
- Alderson sounds serious about pursuing free agent center fielder Michael Bourn, DiComo reports. However, the GM said the Mets could end up going to Spring Training with their current roster. The Mets have sincere interest in Bourn, but don't intend to forfeit the 11th overall pick in the 2013 draft to complete a deal with the Scott Boras client.
- One Mets official indicated to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that the team has no interest in Daisuke Matsuzaka (Twitter link). Cafardo reported yesterday that teams like the Astros and Mets were considering the possibility of bringing the free agent right-hander to camp.
4:54 pm: The Mets are quite confident a deal will be completed with Lyon, tweets Martino.
4:35 pm: The Mets are definitely serious about Lyon, but one Major League source tells Andy Martino of the New York Daily News the reliever is still talking to a few clubs and no deal is done (Twitter link).
3:09 pm: The Mets are closing in on a deal with free agent reliever Brandon Lyon, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. If a contract is finalized, Lyon would be the third right-handed bullpen piece added this week after the signings of Scott Atchison and LaTroy Hawkins. MLB.com's Anthony DiComo tweets this move will probably complete the Mets' bullpen makeover.
Lyon pitched to a 3.10 ERA, 9.3 K/9, and 3.0 BB/9 in 67 games for the Astros and Blue Jays last year. The 33-year-old, represented by Meister Sports Management, received interest from the Giants this offseason and reportedly was talking with several teams as recently as yesterday. The Blue Jays meanwhile never fully closed the door on Lyon's return despite a full bullpen and limited payroll space.
GM Sandy Alderson has been lukewarm about keeping closer Frank Francisco in that role, so the Mets have been aggressive in trying to improve their bullpen this winter being linked to Jose Valverde, Francisco Rodriguez, and Brian Wilson. The Mets even approached Roy Oswalt about becoming their closer, but to no avail. Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com tweets he doesn't believe the Mets are viewing Lyon as a closer.
The Blue Jays have been one of the busiest teams this offseason, per MLBTR's Transaction Tracker. GM Alex Anthopoulos has traded a manager (John Farrell), hired his replacement (John Gibbons, his second stint in Toronto), acquired the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey, Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio, Josh Thole, Mike Nickeas, and Esmil Rogers while signing free agents Melky Cabrera, Maicer Izturis, Henry Blanco, and Mark DeRosa. Is there anything left for Anthopoulos to do before pitchers and catchers report to Dunedin on February 12? MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm answered that question and others when he opened his inbox recently.
- The remaining moves the Blue Jays have left to make are minor league signings for organizational depth, writes Chisholm.
- The only real area of competition is the bullpen. Casey Janssen and Sergio Santos will battle to be the closer. Right-hander Jeremy Jeffress is a favorite to win a job, as he is out of options. Chisholm thinks Brandon Lyon would add a reliable veteran presence to the bullpen, but doesn't see the Blue Jays re-signing the right-hander because the team has reached its payroll limit.
- It appears Izturis received some sort of promise from the organization he would be the starting second baseman before agreeing to his three-year, $10MM deal, according to Chisholm. Look for Bonifacio to be used in a super utility role even though, in Chisholm's view, he has more upside than Izturis and would bring another element of speed to the lineup.
- Don't expect Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchison, both recovering from Tommy John surgery, to make a major impact until 2014.
- The Blue Jays' farm system has been weakened by the flurry of trades this offseason. Chisholm notes there's talent in the lower levels, which is at least three years away, but that isn't a concern for the Blue Jays because their core is tied up for a similar period at the big league level.
The latest from around MLB...
- Rays closer Fernando Rodney continues to express confidence at the Caribbean Series that he'll get a two-year extension finalized, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com reports (on Twitter). Agent Dan Lozano recently said no talks have taken place between the Rays and Rodney, who's entering the final year of his contract.
- Though the Brewers wanted to sign Lyle Overbay and Juan Rivera, the free agents went to American League teams in part because NL teams can't offer playing time as a DH, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter).
- Free agent reliever Brandon Lyon is still talking to several teams yet nothing is imminent, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports (on Twitter). Meister Sports Management represents the right-hander.
- The Reds are monitoring the relief market and could make a deal if the price is low enough, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reported this morning (Twitter links). Though the Reds like their bullpen, GM Walt Jocketty acknowledged the team is "looking.'' The Reds have added Manny Parra since Crasnick provided this update, so it's not clear if they'll continue searching for arms.
- MLBTR is seeking someone to lead an effort to fix a bug a few readers are experiencing, in which ads display incorrectly. Experience with DFP Small Business and TypePad is a plus. If you're interested in this job, please email Tim Dierkes at firstname.lastname@example.org and explain your qualifications.
Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos introduced Jose Reyes in Toronto yesterday, explaining that players of Reyes’ caliber are difficult to find. “He’s electric,” Anthopoulos said. “High energy, smile on his face, just so many things. This is a rare guy to find. Leadoff, shortstop, energy, makeup -- check off every single box.” Here are some more notes on the Blue Jays with Spring Training just a month away...
- Before the Blue Jays acquired Reyes, they had been “really close” to another trade that would have had a similar impact on their 2013 payroll, Anthopoulos said. They discussed the deal toward the end of October, when option decisions were due.
- The Blue Jays continue to seek a 25th man to round out their roster. Anthopoulos said last week that the Blue Jays would like to add a right-handed bench player capable of playing multiple infield positions. That said, the Blue Jays could add such a player in Spring Training.
- Don’t expect another deal in the near future. “We’re not having any dialogue at all with respect to trades,” Anthopoulos said.
- The Blue Jays could add a player or two on minor league deals and under the right circumstances they could add a player to the 40-man roster.
- Anthopoulos hopes the rotation provides enough innings that the team doesn’t need to seriously consider an eight-man bullpen. The Blue Jays have a pretty full bullpen, so it doesn’t appear as though free agent right-hander Brandon Lyon will return. “I don’t want to ever close the door on him, since he did a great job for us,” Anthopoulos said.
- The GM stressed the importance of starting pitching depth and explained that players such as Justin Germano, Brad Lincoln and J.A. Happ provide the club with options.
- The Blue Jays are a ‘file and trial’ team meaning if they exchange filing numbers with players they go to a hearing. Anthopoulos said he’s “hopeful” and “optimistic” that the Blue Jays could reach deals with their three remaining eligible players by today’s deadline. Emilio Bonifacio, Happ and Josh Thole are Toronto’s eligible players, as MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker shows. Assistant GM Jay Sartori is leading the way for the Blue Jays as they negotiate with their players.
- Though the Blue Jays look like an improved team, Anthopoulos cautioned that many of their American League rivals have also added significant pieces. “You can’t take anything for granted,” he said. “We haven’t even played a game yet. We still have to win a game, and we have to win a lot more than one. The whole division is outstanding.”