Brandon Lyon returning to form in 2012
Admit it, coming into the season we all knew Brandon Lyon would end up released or dealt for cash at some point during the season. It only got worse after a few rough outings to start the year, I even thought he’d be released by now. Something odd happened after that, Brandon Lyon got healthy. We all knew that he was hurt badly in 2011 but for some reason it was assumed that was more of an excuse than a reason. Lyon now has a 1.76 ERA and has looked fantastic this season. Is he worth 5 million per season, heck no, but that’s not the point anymore and his rise has given the Stros a number of different options they probably didn’t think they’d have.
Has Lyon ever been worth his contract or even come close? The answer is obviously no but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have value. In fact, Brandon may have more value than most believe. Lyon has proved, when healthy, he can close or setup and be very effective. Most fans remember the disaster that the 2011 season turned out to be but forget a very effective 2010 season where he established himself as the Astros closer. This season he has looked dominant at times and is missing bats with 14 strikeouts in 15 innings. Along with Wilton Lopez and closer Brett Myers, he has formed a very good back of the bullpen for the Astros. He emergence has helped turn a problem area into a strength and for a rebuilding club, and that’s huge.
The subplot or maybe the main plot, depending on how you view it, is that Lyon has turned himself into a trade asset. Much like Brett Myers and even Wilton Lopez, he will most likely be in high demand by contending clubs come the deadline. His salary will be an issue but by the time a deal comes together he should only be owed about 2 million dollars. If he continues at this pace and stays healthy, the Astros could be looking at someone a lot of clubs may want and could be willing to part with a good prospect to make a deal happen. While Lyon didn’t come into the season as someone we all imagined would be a hot commodity come July, Lyon has played his way into that category. The Astros should be open for business and be one of the busier teams at the trade deadline so it will simply depend on how they view the bullpen and who could fill roles. I’d say Lyon has a very good chance of being moved because the return on Brandon could just be too much for Jeff Luhnow to pass up.