Reports all weekend and into Monday said it appears the Mets are closing in on signing Brandon Lyon, and that he could compete with Frank Francisco, with whom Sandy Alderson admits he is “not comfortable” as the team’s closer, for that crucial job out of the bullpen.
The 33-year-old right hander had good numbers last year with the Astros and Blue Jays, bouncing back from biceps surgery which prematurely ended his 2011 season. He pitched to a 3.10 ERA in 67 games in middle relief. He hasn’t been a closer since 2010, when he notched 20 saves.
Here’s something interesting about Brandon Lyon — he had 63 strikeouts in 61 innings last season, for an average of 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings. Lyon has never really been a strikeout pitcher in his career; his next highest strikeout per nine innings ratio was 7.6, in 2003 when he was 23 years old. Incidentally, he missed the entire 2004 season with injury. It is unusual for a pitcher to suddenly start striking out guys late in his career. Just saying.
In any case, barring some unforeseen circumstance, this seems like it would be a good signing. Lyon made $5.5 million last season, although I would be stunned if the Mets paid him anywhere near that amount. I could see him getting around $2 million, perhaps with incentives for saves if he wins the closer job.
Speaking of relievers, according to ESPNNewYork.com, Sandy Alderson told reporters at Citi Field on Monday that Jeurys Familia would work out of the bullpen in Spring Training while Jenrry Mejia would be a starter. This makes sense. Mejia has shown time and again that he should not be a reliever, while Familia might have the stuff to come out of the pen.