Monday, December 07, 2009

Mets Should Acquire Brandon Lyon

According to Ken Rosenthal of

While the Phillies like free-agent reliever Brandon Lyon, they are unwilling to pay the necessary price for him, according to a major-league source.

The Phillies plan to spend between $4 million and $6 million on their bullpen. Lyon would command all or nearly all of that money, leaving the team with little payroll flexibility.

I would love to see the Mets acquire Lyon. He is willing to set up instead of close, and it looks like his salary demands are not out of control. Over the last four seasons, he has posted a 3.45 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. He'll be 30 this season.

He made only $4.25 million last year as a member of the Tigers, and if the above snippet is correct, should be in the market for a similar deal this year or a reasonable raise.

He's not an ace closer, but he's good enough to set up and be reliable - at least relative to relief pitchers in general. According to, he is a three pitch pitcher: He has a 92 mph fastball he throws 60% of the time, a very hard slider he throws 19% of the time, and a curve he throws about the same amount.

Even better, he is equally effective against both righties and lefties. Righties hit a pathetic .205/.256/.379 against Lyon last season, and lefties hit .205/.331/.286.

I think he'd be the perfect set-up man and fill in closer should anything happen to Francisco Rodriguez... who by the way, was very bad in the second half last year.


Jake said...

No! No! No!!!!

No more relievers!

We spend to much damn money on nonsense, average (or slightly below average) players in non essential positions who could be easily replaced with a AAA guy making the league minimum or some random spring training invite. It's the biggest reason why our team sucks!

During this young off season, we've already blown almost 4 mil on a backup catcher (Henry Blanco) and a worthless utility guy (Alex Cora). It's just like last year when we spent almost 10 mil on the likes of Cora, Redman, Tatis, ect, when that money could have been used on guys like Dunn or Abreu. What we should be doing is calling up random AAA guys to fill these spots (A-hern would be fine as a utility guy, Thole or even Santos can act as a backup catcher) and use our money for real assets. It's cost benefit; middle relievers and backup players can be replaced at much less cost and almost the same productivity (I feel like some random guy like Figueroa could be just almost as good as Brandon Lyon for a fraction of the cost) and that money should be used to address the much larger, glaring issues the mets have.

Look at the Sox: they only really get starters like Bay and Beckett, and and then fill their bench with idiots like Jed Lowery who they pay nothing and call up from AAA. Admittedly, the Sox farm system is much much better then the Mets (a whole nother thing to complain about, but that's another tangent for another day) but there is no reason why they can't use their meagar minor league assets to stock their bench.

Also, while typing this a commercial came on that said that 2 percent of weddings this year are between people who met on eHarmony. Isn't that weird? What the fuck, you know?

Brian said...

I hear you on this, Jake, but there is more to the acquisition that maybe I should have mentioned in greater depth the original post:

I think we need insurance for K-Rod.

He was, simply, NOT good last year. His ERA has risen from 1.73 to 3.71 over the last four years.

His WHIP has risen every season since 2006 -- from 1.09, to 1.24, to 1.28, to 1.30.

His walks per nine innings have risen over the same span - from 3.5 to a whopping 5.0(!!!) last year. A closer who walks five guys per nine innings?

Now, I don't typically want the Mets to spend money on relievers -- but in this case, I think we're getting a guy in Lyon who is generally underrated and who might end up being our closer.

Jake said...

I'll concede K-Rod is a problem, a big gaping, $25 mil problem but the solution isn't more relievers at a premium price (yes, 4.5 mil is a premium price for a reliever), in fact, K-Rod just illustrates the problem I have with spending a lot on relievers. To me, all relievers have one thing in common: they are not talented enough to be starting pitchers. This could be for two reasons, either 1) they simply aren't good pitchers or 2) they are good pitchers who don't have enough pitches to hack it as starters. Look at how many average pitchers moved to the pen to become dominant relievers: Joe Nathan, Isringhausen, Ryan Franklin, Matt Lindstrom, even the great Mariano Rivera. Half the reason most of these guys become relievers is because they can't cut it as starters. Of course, in a lot of these cases it's because the pitcher's lack of secondary pitches made them conducive to becoming relievers, but there is no denying that it is much much easier to be a reliever then a starter. It's been shown empirically too: Baseball America found that when starting pitchers become relievers their ERAs drop on average by about one run. The reasons are obvious: because they are pitching less innings, they don't need to conserve energy and therefore don't need to hold back on their pitches. This leads to better pitching overall.

Also, relievers, aside from your occasional Rivera or Papelboner, are notoriously unreliable from year to year. This probably has to do with the relatively small sample size they pitch every year (it's easier for a reliever to have luck affect their ERAs, due to pitching about 1/3 the innings of starters) Dropping any sort of money on them is an inherit risk, so why not spend as little possible?

Meanwhile, look at how many random AAA and garbage guys the mets have had in recent years that have had some success in the majors as relievers: Owens (remember him?), heath bell, matt lindstrom, ect. Why is this? Again, because being a reliever isn't as difficult, therefore almost any of these guys can end up having a good year. It is a total crapshoot.

Bottom line: any team that has a lot of holes to fill (::cough:: ::cough:: the Mets! ::cough:: ::cough::) should not be spending more then 2-3 mil on their pen in any given offseason. Relievers are exhibit A in my previous theory, which I will call the "don't spend premium money for non premium talent in non premium positions" theory. I know that it can backfire (the mets two years ago come to mind), but you can also spend a shitload of money on relievers, and due to how unreliable they are, still end up with a shitty pen(the mets last year come to mind). You're better off rolling the dice with converted starters and random guys from AAA and then using the money elsewhere.