Saturday, February 9, 2013
How Lyon could factor into Mets' 9th
By Doug Mittler
The New York Mets entered the offseason in need of some relief -- as in both pitchers who throw in the late innings and a release from anxiety and distress -- and the club has done a solid job of addressing the former to help the latter so far.
The club's latest move was to sign Brandon Lyon to a one-year deal. Lyon, 33, was a combined 4-2 with a 3.10 ERA in 67 relief appearances last season with the Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays. While nothing has been stated publicly, it's possible that Lyon, who has two 20-save seasons on his ledger (26 for Arizona in 2008 and 20 for Houston in 2010), could be a possible candidate to unseat Frank Francisco as closer. GM Sandy Alderson has expressed doubts as to whether Francisco, who had 23 saves but a 5.53 ERA in 2012, will remain in the ninth-inning role. Bobby Parnell, a hard-throwing 28-year-old who posted a 2.49 ERA and seven saves, is also a possibility.
This winter, the Mets have signed relievers LaTroy Hawkins, Scott Atchison and Pedro Feliciano off the scrap heap, handing them all minor league deals. Still, if one or two of them prove to be productive, along with Francisco, Lyon and Parnell, the club's bullpen should be much improved over the 2012 version that had a 4.65 ERA -- second-worst in baseball.