Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Brandon Lyon Contract Defies Logic

Just two days after Jose Valverde gave the Astros a $10 million dollar+ Christmas gift, GM Ed Wade finds a way to shock the baseball community and throw some money around:
Right-hander Brandon Lyon, who has saved 54 games in eight seasons in the Major Leagues with Toronto, Boston, Arizona and Detroit, has reached a three-year agreement with the Astros, according to a baseball source. The deal is pending a physical.

Lyon went 6-5 with three saves in 65 games last season for Detroit and saved 26 games and had a 4.70 ERA in 2008 with Arizona. In 374 career games, Lyon is 27-34 with a 4.20 ERA. He posted a 1.56 ERA after June last season in the role as setup man for Fernando Rodney.

The addition of Lyon, 30, helps the Astros further bolster a bullpen which had been decimated by the departures of closer Jose Valverde and setup man LaTroy Hawkins. Houston earlier Wednesday made a trade to acquire right-hander Matt Lindstrom from Florida to put at the back of the bullpen. Astros general manager Ed Wade declined comment late Wednesday.
There are so many different dynamics here that don't make sense that I feel as though I need to address every single one of them:

1. The Astros were supposed to be cutting payroll. Paying a mediocre relief pitcher $5 million dollars is not going to get that done.

2. $5 million dollars in this marketplace for a relief pitcher should be strictly reserved for closers and upper echelon set up men. Even though he had a good season in 2009, Brandon Lyon is neither of those. He is simple average.

3. If the Astros were unwilling to pay LaTroy Hawkins, then why in the world would they be willing to give Lyon 3 years/$15 million?

4. Again, I repeat, why would the Astros use their limited payroll flexibility on an average relief pitcher?

5. There are so many different bullpen options on the market right now so there's no reason why Wade should have given into Lyon and offered up a three year deal. The market for set up guys and closers is awfully deep this winter and if Wade really wanted one, he should have been patient and waited for prices to drop even further.

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Clearly Wade regards Lyon much more highly that I, or many others, do. Maybe he thinks of Lyon as a potential closer. Maybe he thinks of Lyon simply as a dominant set up man. Who knows. All I know is that the Astros could have found many other smarter ways to spend their $15 million dollars, all of which do not involve signing a mediocre relief pitcher when the team is preaching about economic hardships and cutting back payroll.


Ed Wade said...

I just signed a closer for only five million a year, that's only half of what Valverde was asking! (puffs on cigar) This baseball thing is so easy...

Paws said...

Hopefully, Ed Wade doesn't think he acquired Jeremy Bonderman, who seems to be accidentally pictured here.

zip said...


Jorge Says No! said...

Wouldn't surprise me if he did :)

thanks for the catch