Category Archives: Brandon Lyon

don’t start cryin over Lyon

photo by Samara Pearlstein

Because he is no more. Brandon Lyon has been signed by the Houston Astros, pending a physical. It’s a three year deal, which he, uh, pretty much was not going to get from the Tigers. So it’s a good move from his perspective, and another potential 2010 closer knocked out of the running for Detroit.

In other Winter Meetings/irresponsible rumor news:

–Apparently the Tigers are interested in Juan Pierre. The idea of another three-team trade is just exhausting for me right now. I guess it doesn’t matter what goes down, it can’t be worse than Granderson to the Yankees, so, whatever, bring it on, I don’t care anymore.

–The Robinzon Diaz signing was a minor league one. He’s a potential backup catcher. The threat to G-Money, if it comes, will have to come from elsewhere.

–Both Phil Coke and Daniel Schlereth are lefty relievers, which means that Bobby Seay is now available for the taking. Anyone want him?

–I can’t decide if Lynn Henning is a sadist or a masochist. He likes deliberately causing us pain, which would make him a sadist, or he gets some sick kind of thrill out of the abuse he will take for writing something like this, which would make him a masochist. Either way, sod off, Henning.

–Still can’t really process the Granderson move. It’s like my mind has glimpsed that horrible reality and firmly rejected it. With no games going on I can still cling to my fantasy world where Curtis Granderson has not been given over into the slavering jaws of pure evil. I mean… you guys, I’m from Massachusetts. This is NOT SOMETHING I CAN DO. I just… no. It isn’t real. It isn’t reeeeeaaaaaaal.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Originally the contest entries were supposed to be due today, but in light of the EXTREME TRAUMA we have all recently suffered, I’m kicking it up a day. Entries will now be accepted THROUGH FRIDAY, up ’til midnight. Do your part to raise our collectively wilting spirits.

Winter Meeting rumor mill continues unabated

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

You cats ready for Day Two of this ridiculousness? I’m not sure that I am, but the Winter Meetings don’t care about me. As before, I will update this post over the course of the day, if/as new stuff makes itself known.

–Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon both declined arbitration. Not exactly shocking, but it does throw the Tigers’ quest for closing material into sharper, slightly scarier relief (har har).

–The Mets like Edwin but ‘can’t get the pieces to fit’. So far everything out of Indy has pointed towards the Tigers asking for the sun and the moon to move Jackson/Granderson, which is in my opinion both appropriate and mildly comforting. You tell ’em, Dave! Don’t let nobody push you around, y’hear!

Team currently rumored to be linked to Jackson: Mets, Yankees, Diamondbacks (Dodgers, Brewers?).

–FOX sez the Yankees are interested in Granderson even if the 3-team deal falls through. So even without complicated, many-faceted deals, the danger of THE WORST THING remains potent.

–A Yankee executive sez there is ‘traction’ to the Grandy talks. What.

–Well, they’ve done it. Details and reaction(s) above.

–Apparently the Tigers have signed catcher Robinzon Diaz, although whether it’s a major league or minor league deal is not yet clear. Diaz only played in 41 games for the Pirates last season, soooooo…. I dunno. I would say that G-Money shouldn’t worry too much yet, but with the way this day has gone, who the hell knows.

the arbitration ship sails on Placido Polanco

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Goodbye, goodbye sweet Placido! We shall sorely miss your breathe-right strips and your cold-weather snoods and your little goatee and your giant skull and your grimacey batting faces on these Detroit shores. *sniffle*

Today was of course the deadline for teams to offer arbitration to their arb-eligible players. The Tigers elected to make that offer to Brandon Lyon and Fernando Rodney. They did not make the offer to Adam Everett, Aubrey Huff, Jarrod Washburn, and Polanco.

Polanco was a Type A free agent, which means that if the Tigers had offered him arbitration, other teams would have had to give up a first round draft pick and a supplemental first round pick to sign him. This would have made him less valuable on the open market, because he’s kinda old and teams don’t generally like giving up those early slots. So it was at least somewhat likely that if the Tigers had offered him arb, he would have accepted it, and gotten a snotload of cash on account of his Gold Glove and all that. Sure, it would have only been a one-year deal, and maybe in rosier economic times the Tigers would have done it, but all we’ve heard about this winter has been ZOMG THE MONEY IS GONE, GONE, ALL OF IT GONE– the amount of money Polanco was likely to make in arbitration was apparently a deterrent for the Tigers. He should still be able to get a good contract elsewhere, now that interested teams know they don’t have to give up The Future to snag him.

Fernando and Lyon are both Type B free agents, which would net the Tigs someone else’s first round pick (no supplementals) some random supplemental picks if they’re signed away. Ugh. I guess it wouldn’t be terrible if Lyon accepted… he made $4.25 million last year, which is pretty high for what he did, but there are worse things in life than effective-but-overpaid middle relievers, right? Right.

Fernando made $2.7 million in ’09. I won’t comment on his performance. You all know my feelings there. He may decide to decline arb and feel out free agency anyways. This does raise the question of what in the hell the Tigers are planning to do for a closer if they don’t go with Fernando again. Paws knows I don’t recommend holding your breath and hoping Zumaya stays healthy or sane, and the FA market is not exactly brimming over with scintillatingly brilliant closers at the moment. I guess we’ll see. Mr. Dombrowski’s got a plan, that is what I will keep telling myself.

Everett, Huff, and Washburn are all Type Nothing free agents, so nobody cares about them.

OK, mild lie. Everett’s presumed (although, I guess, not totally guaranteed) departure raises the question, as with Fernando, of what the Tigers are planning there for 2010. Right now the idea for second base seems to involve bringing up Scott Sizemore, whom we can all only hope is as willing to pose nude as Grady Sizemore, but there isn’t any clear plan for shortstop that I’ve seen. WORRISOME.

I just keep thinking back to how badly I freaked out about the lack of catching options after the Tigers jettisoned Pudge, and how tidily the Tigers patched up that problem. That was an example of the Tigers having a serious need at a hard-to-fill position, and it all worked out just fine (if not as offensively glorious as we might have wished, SHUT UP OK GERALD LAIRD IS AWESOME AND GOOD). Just fine. Everything will be fine. Finety fine fine.


Don’t forget to work on your entries for the contest!! December 10 is the deadline!

enter the SeayLyon

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Finally, there he is.

Today’s SeayLyon outing was not exactly perfect– the lefthand half of the creature gave up a couple of hits and a run– but I didn’t have that much to say about the game, and it was high time for you all to get a look at our pinnipedal friend. Feast your eyes upon his fleshy form. I assure you he is much more graceful in the water.

–Alex Avila made his major league debut at catcher today. He went 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored. That ain’t half bad for your first game. His mom had to cover her eyes during his first at-bat, the stress was too great. No worries Mrs. Avila, your boy did a good thing, he did not freak out or fail spectacularly or in any way besmirch the Avila name.

–Even though FredFred didn’t go too deep (5.2 innings), it was heartening to see him pitch what ended up being a winning effort with Avila behind the plate. The combined age of the Tigers’ starting battery today was still younger than Andy Van Slyke. It could have turned into a blind-leading-the-blind situation, but instead everyone remained calm and everyone did their research and we all got through it ~*~together~*~.

–I love Ramon Santiago Comerica triples almost as much as I love decisive Brandon Inge home runs. ALMOST as much. In any event it is good to see the Tigers turning out extra base hits every now and then, you will recall what an issue that was during the series in Cleveland.

–Back in the division, we take on the Twinkies next. Arrrrmando goes up against a dude named Swarzak, which always makes me want to say Sleestak. Hopefully he won’t actually be one of those. We wouldn’t want to give Arrrrmando nightmares.

–(Speaking of nightmares, has anyone else noticed that Brandon Inge seems to be trying to grow a mustache? It’s kind of visible in HD, I don’t know how well you can see it on a regular TV or MLBtv. But I am pretty sure that is what I am seeing, and if my eyes do not deceive me I am not happy about it. Not happy at all.)

the Detroit bullpen induces hairballs even this early in the season

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Are you really surprised, though?

I should start by saying that I did not actually see any of this game, due to this’n’that. I was, however, hopeful. I had watched the game closely the previous night, and it had rewarded me with only sorrow. Perhaps if I stepped back and looked away from the pot, it would come to a healthy boil, you know? And yes, I realize that this is insane thinking, but you know what I mean.

You’re reading a baseball blog. You know what I mean.

I come home to find out that Edwin Jackson pitched 7.1 innings, precisely what the Tigers needed after last night. He gave up two hits, one of which didn’t even come until the 8th inning. He did this on 89 pitches, right after Justin Verlander had required 80 pitches to stagger through 3.2 innings.

Inge homered! Miggy had a single and a double and two walks!

And all was wasted by the filthy stinking rat-urine excuse for a bullpen, by which I of course mean ‘The Wrong Brandon’ Lyon. He told them he was good to go, but he was just Lyon! You see what I did there? The badness of that pun is equivalent to the badness of this performance.

It isn’t just that he gave up a two-run homer to put the Jays in the lead, and it isn’t just that he gave up a walkoff flyball because he couldn’t keep the stupid bases clean. Annoying as it is, that stuff happens to most relievers sooner or later (pity it had to be ‘sooner’, but anyways). No, this richly-deserved blown save is particularly egregious because it took away from what was by all accounts a wonderful pitching performance on the part of Mr. Jackson.

You pitch 3.2 innings, you deserve to lose that game. You pitch 7.1 innings and only give up two runs and your offense has given you sufficient support? You ought to win that game. I mean, this was just cruel! Who knows when Jackson will have his pitching and the bats align again? If we learned one thing in 2008 it probably should have been that wins cannot be taken for granted. Poor Edwin may not get another shot at a W for, like, a month…. although if he wants to pitch like this every time out, you know, I would be OK with that.

I am trying to give the new cats the benefit of the doubt. It’s only been two games! So Adam Everett hasn’t had much of a bat yet: that’s not what we got him for anyways! So Gerald Laird sometimes looks like a bobblehead: we may come to consider this an endearing trait! But CATDAMMIT LYON, YOU HAVE MADE THIS DIFFICULT. I know it’s early, I know, I know, and it’s one outing, and blah blah. Despite it all I am now bothered by a nagging, persistent doubt.

I don’t think I really need to tell you that I am going to let those hairballs pile up unless the Tigers win some games. And we don’t really want to see that, do we? DO WE, TIGERS?

Brandon Lyon condemns himself to a year of feline confusion

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein


No but really:


Both Billfer and Lee are on the positive side of ‘meh’ when it comes to THE FLYIN’ LYON, which counts for a lot more with me than whatever it is this Freeper is trying to say. Saves are overrated, so let’s talk about how many saves he had! He relies on a number of diverse pitches and that is terrible! Tigers fans think a good closer has to throw 100mph because that has worked so well for Zumaya and Farnsworth in Detroit OBVIOUSLY.

Billfer brings up Lyon’s BABIP and his luck with ground balls (both of which say a bit more about D’back fielding and the luck’o’the draw than his pitching). Lee has charts. In Blogs We Trust.

I don’t really think that Lyon is going to be all that and a fresh bowl of kibble. He’s not, you know, Jonathan Papelbon or anything like that, I mean we wouldn’t want to get TOO CRAZY over here in Tigertown, we wouldn’t want to get the old folks all riled! But he is also NOT FERNANDO RODNEY, which I reckon is maybe even more important. He does not tend to strike out as many guys as Fernando does, but he also walks far fewer guys on average while maintaining a very similar average WHIP. I’ll take those balls in play, yes I will, most especially in the context of his kiiiiinda high BABIP last year as previously cited courtesy of Mr. Billfer.

To make this easy for you because it is a weekend and you do not want to think very hard about the vomitous 2009 Tiger bullpen at such a time, I have made you some lists.

Brandon Lyon pros

— fewer walks than a crooked batting cage pitching machine
— bad luck contributed to his mildly unpretty numbers in ’08
— able to persevere in the face of sheer horror in the workplace as demonstrated by his survival of a couple seasons with Randy Johnson
— pudgy white guy with a goatee, thus 100% qualified to pitch in middle relief if needed
— cat name

Brandon Lyon cons

— probably aggressively mediocre at best
— has been in the NL for a while, specifically the NL West, aka The Division of Many Lulz
— not striking that many dudes out is all well and good for your middle reliever but if you are going to be our new closer Mr. Lyon we shall expect greater things
— potentially turned into a dry-heat-loving weakling via Arizona overexposure
— wrong cat name
— possibly not sufficiently unlike Fernando Rodney

So now you know some facts and that is the main thing. IN CONCLUSION, CATS.