After the rumors have been swirling since the beginning of free agency, the Tigers appear to have finally signed Brandon Lyon.
I'm not quite sure what to make of this. Lee points out that Lyon had several clean outings, while Billfer points out that he was very unlucky on balls in play, specifically ground balls.
The fact that he is coming from the NL West scares me. Until the addition of Manny Ramirez, the offenses in that division were dreadful across the board. He was getting disproportionate playing time against offensive juggernauts Colorado, San Diego, San Francisco, and the pre-Manny Dodgers. How does this play out in his splits?
vs. NL West: 133 PA, .291/.316/.425
vs. Others: 132 PA, .311/.343/.492
vs. NL West minus Dodgers: 99 PA, .277/.303/.372
The splits weren't as drastic as I had figured (I looked them up after writing the preceding paragraph). Still, this is something to be weary about heading into this season. Moving from the National League to the American League is also likely to lead to some sort of statistical decline for Lyon.
I have seen some speculation that his late season slide may be the sign of an injury. While I don't have pitching data by appearance, it doesn't appear as if his velocity or control took much of a dive last year.
What this move gives the Tigers is a semi-reliable bullpen arm. This will prevent them from forcing Fernando Rodney or Joel Zumaya into late innings when they aren't healthy and effective, and will reduce the need to rush some of the relief prospects before they are ready. It's good to see the Tigers addressing the bullpen.
To make room on the roster, Eddie Bonine was designated for assignment. For those who wondered why James Skelton and others were left off the roster while Bonine remained in place, this is why. You need players who can slip through waivers when additions are made. Skelton is still less likely to stick with Arizona than he would if he could be claimed and sent to the minors. Bonine will likely clear waivers, and won't be a huge loss if he doesn't.