The renovation of the Mets’ bullpen took another step forward on Sunday as the team is close to a deal with Brandon Lyon, multiple sources were reporting Sunday afternoon. It’s not yet official, but all signs point toward Lyon ultimately inking with the Mets.
Lyon will join LaTroy Hawkins and Scott Atchison as recent additions to New York’s beleaguered bullpen.
Lyon, an 11-year MLB veteran righty reliever, began his career as a starter in Toronto’s system. He’s since had bullpen stops in Boston, Arizona, Detroit, Houston and wound up back in Toronto in 2012. In 67 games last year between Houston and Toronto, he was 4-2 with a 3.10 ERA in 61 innings. He finished 21 games and recorded one save. He struck out three for every man he walked. He saved at least 20 games in one season twice in his career.
Hawkins pitched in 48 games for the Angels last season, going 2-3 with a 3.64 ERA in 42 innings. Hawkins is an 18-yet vet, previously pitching for the Twins, Cubs, Astros, Rockies, Giants, Yankees and Orioles. He’s been a reliever since 2000.
Atchison has pitched in parts of six big league seasons dating back to 2004 in Seattle. In 42 games with the Red Sox in 2012, he was 2-1 with a 1.58 ERA in 51 1/3 innings. He didn’t strike out many – just 36 – but he only walked nine over that span.
These guys aren’t going to turn the Mets’ bullpen around overnight, but they’re low-risk options. Even if only one of them pans out, that’s probably a plus for the club, especially with such a fragile starting rotation.
The Mets also inked outfielder Marlon Byrd to a minor league deal this weekend. He’ll give them another option in what looks like a thin outfield, but there’s still no guarantee he makes the team out of spring training. Byrd hit .210 with one home run and nine RBI in 47 games between the Cubs and Red Sox in 2012. He’s had some sporadically strong years in his career, including 2003, when he finished fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting with Philadelphia and 2010, when he was an NL All-Star with the Chicago Cubs. Byrd won’t offer much power – he’s hit 20 home runs just once in his career – but he does give the Mets another option in center field.
On the other side of town, the Yankees finalized a one-year, $2 million incentive-laden deal with DH Travis Hafner. GM Brian Cashman says the team is still in the market for a right-handed hitting outfielder to round out the bench.
Spring training is just a few weeks away. How optimistic are you about your club’s chances in 2013? Let me know on Twitter: @THR_Montgomery.