Tag: Brandon Lyon

MLB Free Agency: 9 Best Potential Bargains Still Available

The latest free-agent buzz in Major League Baseball has surrounded three clients of Scott Boras, all currently left out in the cold of winter with spring training fast approaching.

Rafael Soriano, Kyle Lohse and Michael Bourn have yet to find new homes this offseason, in large part because all three are attached to draft-pick compensation after their former employers extended them qualifying offers.

Ultimately, Boras may get his clients the paydays they are seeking. However, unless the signing teams finished in the bottom ten in the overall standings last season, it’ll cost them a first-round pick to sign any of the Boras guys.

Rather than pony up the big bucks and a first-round pick, most teams would be wise to do their remaining winter shopping in the bargain aisles.

Need another outfielder but don’t want to shell out for Bourn? Scott Hairston remains available.

Need another starting pitcher but aren’t quite sold on Lohse as a frontline guy? Jeff Karstens, Shaun Marcum or Joe Saunders can provide value in the middle of your rotation for a reasonable sum.

And, if you need another right-handed reliever, Kyle Farnsworth, Matt Lindstrom, Vicente Padilla or Brandon Lyon can pitch at the back-end of your bullpen.

Finally, in a tepid second-base market, Kelly Johnson remains available with virtually no reported interest to this point in the offseason.

(All statistics are from Baseball Reference and all contractual data is from Cot’s Baseball Contracts).

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Houston Astros Play An All-Star Game In September

Baseball, like all sports, is in the age of specialization.

In football, teams have a guy on the roster who is just a long-snapper and a guy who just handle kickoffs. In basketball, teams have guys on their roster who are defensive specialists or three-point specialists.

In baseball, as we all know, teams have left-handed pitchers on the roster just to pitch to one left-handed batter in the game. Well, the Houston Astros took specialization to another level on Wednesday afternoon.

In a 10-inning, 8-6 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday, manager Brad Mills used nine different pitchers. Really? Nine pitchers to record 30 outs?

Mills essentially turned Wednesday’s game into an All-Star Game.

Here is the inning breakdown of the nine starters used:

JA Happ: 4.1

Henry Villar: 0.2

Felipe Paulino: 1.0

Tim Byrdak: 0.1

Mark Melancon: 0.2

Fernando Abad: 1.0

Brandon Lyon: 1.0

Matt Lindstrom: 0.0

Gustavo Chacin: 1.0

Now granted, Lindstrom was used because Lyon naturally blew the save in the ninth and Chacin was used because Lindstrom was dreadful in the 10th. But even if you take Lindstrom and Chacin out of the equation, there is no way a team should use seven pitchers in one nine-inning game when the opposing team hasn’t scored 10 runs or more.

You want to know why games three-and-a-half or four hours these days? Just look at innings five, six, and seven for the Astros. They used four pitchers to get nine outs.

I don’t mind mixing and matching late in the game, but there is no reason why middle relievers can’t pitch two or three innings these days. There’s really no excuse for it.

It might be a while before Mills ever manages an All-Star Game for the National League, but he certainly managed one for the Astros on Wednesday.

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MLB Trade Preview: Possible Trade Options For The New York Yankees

The Yankees, Red Sox , and Rays have nearly come to a stand still in the fight for the AL East crown, and likely the best record in baseball.

So who is going to come out ahead?

Well, it is likely that the team that makes the best acquisitions is going to end up on top, making the month of July, more specifically the July 31st trade deadline, the deciding factor in this year’s race in the East.

The Yankees currently sit in first, up by a half a game over the Red Sox and two games over the Rays, but have seen their bullpen struggle mightily and have an extremely young bench, with three rookies presently keeping it warm.

If the Yankees really wanted to put themselves over the top of the other teams in the AL East, then they would go out and acquire a front line stater like Cliff Lee or Roy Oswalt , both of whom are both available and are Cy Young capable pitchers, which the Yankees know all too well with Lee.

But it is probably more likely that the Yankees will look to add a veteran bat to the bench and some much needed help in the bullpen, which blew another game Friday against the Blue Jays.

Regardless of who they go after, the Yankees are capable of going out in the trade market and acquiring almost any player they want, with both the talent in the minors and of course, the financial means to afford any contract they might have to pick up.

Some of the players that will draw interest from Brian Cashman this month will be:

Bench/DH: Ty Wigginton, Kelly Johnson, David DeJesus , Josh Willingham , Cristian Guzman, Corey Hart, Cody Ross, and Adam Dunn.

Bullpen: Joakim Soria (wishful thinking), Octavio Dotel , Scott Downs, Shawn Camp, Will Ohman , Alfredo Simon, Rafael Perez, Matt Lindstrom , and Brandon Lyon.

I think Ty Wigginton makes the most sense for the Yankees; he’s certainly available, and at a relatively low price. He’s a very versatile player, who can also supply a lot of power, which the Yankee’ bench desperately needs.

I would love to see Adam Dunn in pinstripes as the DH, he would do a lot of damage with the short porch in right, but he would require more prospects and more money than probably any other player on that list, and I don’t think Cashman will go down that route.

In the bullpen, I think Brandon Lyon would be a great fit.

He has proven that he can perform well in the AL, with a 2.86 ERA with the Tigers last year, and he has continued to pitch well this year for the Astros (currently with a 3.00 ERA and 15 holds).

He also makes sense for Houston to move, he’s due $4.25 million this year, and he’s 30 years old, so he’s not a young prospect.

Two of the key players that might be on the move for the Yankees are Eduardo Nunez and Brandon Laird

Nunez is a shortstop at AAA Scranton who is hitting .312, with 17 stolen bases and 39 runs driven in, but has trouble fielding the ball with nine errors this year. He seems to have the bat that’s ready for the majors, but unfortunately he is behind Derek Jeter , so he could be out of options with the Yankees unless he switches positions.

Laird is a slugging third baseman at AA Trenton who is hitting .291, with an impressive 19 home runs, and 80 RBI. But like Nunez, Laird will soon be out of options for a future in the big leagues with the Yankees as Alex Rodriguez is under contract to man the hot corner until 2017.

I seriously doubt that Cashman deals either of the top two catchers in the minors, Jesus Montero and Austin Romine , unless he goes after Cliff Lee or Roy Oswalt .

If they do go after a starter, I would expect them to go after Fausto Carmona, who is 7-6 with a 3.86 ERA and is available along with teammate Jake Westbrook.

CC Sabathia will certainly put in a good word for his former teammates Carmona and Westbrook, but I think the Yankees are happy with the starting five they have now.

The bullpen has been atrocious and needs help now, and the bench could use a veteran presence, so look for the Yankees to be out there seeking to improve those two areas, and hopefully that will be enough for them to capture their second strait AL East crown and eventually repeat as World Series champions.


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