Brandon Lyon Rumors
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.
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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.”
The Giants are in deep discussions with reliever Brandon Lyon, according to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com. If the Giants sign the right-hander, it is expected to be the last move they make this winter.
If inking Lyon does close the books on significant moves for the 2012/13 offseason, that would spell the end of fellow reliever Brian Wilson in San Francisco. Giants vice president Bobby Evans says that it's an oversimplification to say that signing Lyon would leave Wilson on the outside, but he acknowledged that "there are only so many spots that can be filled."
In 67 outings for the Astros and Blue Jays last season, Lyon posted a 3.10 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9. It was an all-around strong showing for the 33-year-old who was limited to just 15 games in 2011 due to bicep surgery.
MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm provides a look at the Blue Jays upcoming offseason and tackles a host of free agent issues in the process:
- Of the team's four free agents -- Kelly Johnson, Brandon Lyon, Jason Frasor and Carlos Villanueva -- the most likely to return is Frasor or Lyon. The bullpen has become a position of depth, however, with the acquisitions of Steve Delabar and Brad Lincoln. Sergio Santos should return in 2013 as well. That could mean all four free agents will find new homes.
- The team has no interest in shopping Ricky Romero and selling on the left-hander when his value is at an all-time low.
- There doesn't appear to be much interest in retaining Johnson, according to Chisholm. The team once had eyes on bringing Marco Scutaro back to Toronto, but his torrid run with the Giants has likely made him too spendy. Instead, Adeiny Hechavarria or Mike Aviles could take the role.
- The Blue Jays aren't willing to give Villanueva a multi-year deal and an opportunity to pitch out of the rotation -- two things that the free agent is seeking. He'll likely pitch elsewhere in 2013.
- Anibal Sanchez will probably get an "extended look," according to Chisholm, but it's more likely that GM Alex Anthopoulos will upgrade the rotation via trade.
Ryan Dempster, Francisco Liriano and Shane Victorino are among the most likely players to be traded within the next 11 days, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post writes. Those players are a step behind the Astros and Blue Jays, who announced a major trade this morning. Here are today’s links...
- There are “no game-changers” in the ten-player trade completed this morning, a rival evaluator told ESPN.com’s Buster Olney (Twitter link).
- The Mets don't have interest in Brett Myers and didn't have interest in Brandon Lyon before the Blue Jays acquired him from Houston, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports (on Twitter).
- The Athletics agreed to sign 16-year-old Dominican Jhonny Rodriguez, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (on Twitter). It's a $300K deal, the Dominican Prospect League announced.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports suggests we shouldn't be surprised if the Athletics work to add right-hander Daniel Straily to their rotation at some point soon. The 23-year-old has a 2.64 ERA with 162 strikeouts in 126 1/3 innings in the upper minors this year.
- Brett Lawrie, Justin Verlander and Buster Posey barely missed the cut for inclusion on Dave Cameron's list of the ten MLB players with the most trade value. Ryan Braun and Matt Kemp rank sixth and seventh, respectively, on Cameron's list at FanGraphs.
The Astros and Blue Jays have completed a ten-player trade, the teams announced. The Astros obtain seven players from Toronto: right-hander Francisco Cordero, outfielder Ben Francisco, minor leaguers Joe Musgrove, Asher Wojciechowski, David Rollins and Carlos Perez, and a player to be named. The Astros send left-hander J.A. Happ (pictured) and right-handed relievers Brandon Lyon and David Carpenter to Toronto in the trade.
“Once again we are adding depth to our minor league system with quality young players," GM Jeff Luhnow said in a team press release. "We really feel this will help us moving forward and are extremely excited about the players we’ve added to our organization.”
Cordero and Francisco don't have assurances of staying with the Astros beyond 2012. Cordero, 37, has a 5.77 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 34 1/3 innings this year. He signed a one-year deal with a base salary of $4.5MM before the season. Francisco, 30, earns $1.54MM this year and will be arbitration eligible again this coming offseason. He posted a .240/.296/.380 batting line in Toronto and battled a hamstring injury, so he could be considered a non-tender candidate.
The Blue Jays selected Wojciechowski in the supplementary first round of the 2010 draft. The 23-year-old has a 4.05 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in parts of three minor league seasons. He ranked tenth on Baseball America's offseason list of Toronto's best prospects. Musgrove, 19, was a supplementary first round selection of Toronto's in the 2011 draft. The 6'5" right-hander has a 3.31 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 in 32 2/3 innings over the course of two pro seasons.
Rollins, 22, has a 2.46 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in parts of two pro seasons. The Blue Jays selected the left-hander in the 24th round of the 2011 draft. Perez, 21, has a .275/.358/.447 batting line at Class A Lansing this year. The Venezuelan catcher has a career .777 OPS in parts of five minor league seasons.
Lyon, 32, is also on track to hit free agency this coming offseason. The former Blue Jays reliever has a 3.25 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 36 innings with Houston this year. Lyon, who pitched in Toronto from 2001-02, earns $5.5MM this year in the final season of a three-year, $15MM contract.
This marks the second time in three years that Happ has been involved in a midseason trade. The Astros acquired the left-hander from Philadelphia along with current Blue Jays outfielder Anthony Gose for Roy Oswalt in 2010. Happ, 29, has a 4.83 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 104 1/3 innings so far in 2012. He's earning a salary of $2.35MM this year and will remain under team control through 2014.
Carpenter, 27, has a 6.07 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 in 29 2/3 innings out of the bullpen this year. The right-hander has a strong minor league record: a 2.97 ERA with 9.6 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in five seasons.
The Blue Jays announced that they called up Travis Snider. The 24-year-old had a .335/.423/.598 batting line at Triple-A Las Vegas.
Photo courtesy of US Presswire.
The 13-15 Astros have scored more runs than they’ve allowed so far this season, but they’re still expected to be sellers at the summer trade deadline. GM Jeff Luhnow acknowledged to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that he'll consider trades that add talent to the organization.
“If we have pieces on our club that are in demand by other clubs and we get enough future value for them to make up for the short-term loss, we’ll consider every opportunity,” Luhnow told Rosenthal.
The GM expects rival teams to have interest in some of his players late this summer. Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, closer Brett Myers, first baseman Carlos Lee and reliever Brandon Lyon are playing well, but Luhnow said he’s not actively looking to make trades yet.
“We need those guys right now,” Luhnow said. “I’m not in any rush to have any conversations about our veteran players.”
Rodriguez, Myers and Lee have $10MM or more remaining on their contracts and relative to other middle relievers, Lyon’s $5.5MM salary is hardly a bargain. The Astros would presumably need to absorb a considerable percentage of their veteran players’ contracts to obtain highly-regarded prospects in trades.
Notes from the NL Central...
- Zack Greinke talked to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about his frustrations with the media and the reason he believes he can get to know his teammates without going out to dinner with them every night.
- MLB.com's Adam McCalvy has more from Greinke.
- Brewers owner Mark Attanasio told Haudricourt that this year's Brewers team could help him reach one of his biggest life goals. "One thing I want before I kick the bucket is a World Series ring for the Milwaukee Brewers," Attanasio said.
- Colin Dunlap of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette explains that Corey Wimberly, who arrived in Pittsburgh in an offseason trade with Oakland, intends to make it impossible for the Pirates not to place him on their 25-man roster. The speedy utility player stands just 5'8" and says he's well-suited for the National League.
- Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle wonders where the critics of the Brandon Lyon signing have gone. Many analysts panned the reliever's three-year, $15MM deal last winter, but Lyon went on to stay healthy and produce for the Astros in 2010. His performance may have helped other relievers, as I explain here.
- Jiovanni Mier, the Astros' 2009 first rounder, has added 20 pounds of muscle and impressed the team's front office, according to Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle.
- Clint Barmes is looking forward to playing shortstop again, reports MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. The new Astros infielder admitted that while he enjoyed playing in Colorado, he knew he'd have to go elsewhere if he wanted regular playing time.
- Miguel Cairo is happy to have finally earned a multiyear contract, writes MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. The veteran infielder signed a two-year deal with the Reds in December.
ESPN's Jerry Crasnick does a nice job profiling the underwhelming market for relievers. The Red Sox, Tigers, Angels, Dodgers, Yankees, Rays, Phillies, and Twins could be looking to make an acquisition. A few tidbits...
- The Astros "will gladly talk about Brandon Lyon, but aren't so interested in discussing Matt Lindstrom." Lyon is still owed $12.48MM through 2012.
- Crasnick points out that Octavio Dotel is not a pitcher you want facing lefties. How about D.J. Carrasco? He's quietly having another decent year, he's cheap, and he's under team control through 2012. Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tweeted yesterday that at least five teams have inquired.
- Crasnick finds "the consensus" to be that Mariners closer David Aardsma will be dealt before the deadline. The Tigers have been linked to the hard-throwing righty, whose ERA is up several runs this year despite his strikeout and walk rates remaining stable. Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times feels the Mariners would need their socks knocked off to move Aardsma.
- Chad Qualls, Clay Hensley, and most of the Brewers' and Royals' pens also merit consideration as trade bait.