BayAreaSportsGuy.com has learned that the San Francisco Giants are interested in signing 33-year-old free agent Brandon Lyon. According to a source close to the team, signing Lyon would “likely be the last move of the offseason.”
The duration and cost of a possible deal are unknowns at this point. Lyon signed a 3-year, $15 million deal with the Astros prior to the 2010 season, with Houston dealing him along with several other players to the Toronto Blue Jays shortly before the 2012 non-waiver trade deadline.
The right-handed reliever had perhaps his best season in 2012. Prior to undergoing season-ending biceps surgery in June of 2011, Grant Brisbee wrote, “There’s an argument that Brandon Lyon might be the most average reliever of all-time.” Dr. James Andrews (who else) must have performed a miracle during surgery, because Lyon finished 2012 with a 3.10 ERA and a career-high 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings. Lyon’s previous career-high in K/9 was 7.6 in 2003.
Lyon has 79 career saves, so if the Giants do sign him he’d be the latest addition to their committee of guys with closing experience. Currently that group is led by Sergio Romo, who’ll be flanked by Santiago Casilla, Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez.
Reading in between the lines, the quote in the first paragraph of this post could very well mean the Giants are prepared to let Brian Wilson find employment elsewhere. It would also signify that San Francisco feels comfortable going the bargain route when it comes to their fifth outfielder. In terms of infield depth, the most we can probably expect is another minor league signing (Ryan Theriot?) to possibly compete with the recently added Kensuke Tanaka, a 31-year-old second baseman who batted .294 and averaged 25 stolen bases per 140 games in Japan.
In each of the last four seasons Lyon made at least $4.25 million, which also happens to be Javier Lopez’s 2013 salary. If the Giants pay Lyon that much in 2013 they’ll carry five relievers making anywhere from $3.6 million (Romo) to $6 million (Affeldt). However, pitchers and catchers report in about a month, so Lyon’s price may have dropped considerably.