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Signed: Brandon Lyon with the Astros

After trading for Matt Lindstrom earlier in the day, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com is reporting the Astros have signed reliever Brandon Lyon to a deal.

When I wrote about Lindstrom’s signing, I said this regarding the Astros’ late inning options:

In Houston, Lindstrom looks to be the closer, as of now. The Astros have expressed interest in bringing back Jose Valverde, but if they have another closer option that scenario looks less likely.

Well, it looks like you can count on Valverde signing elsewhere this offseason.

Lyon is now likely to be the closer in Houston, pushing Lindstrom to a setup role for the Astros. Lyon’s last stint as a closer was with Arizona in 2008, and it didn’t exactly go well. In 59.1 innings, Lyon saved 26 games in 31 chances. He ended the year with an ERA of 4.70 and a WHIP of 1.48, to go along with 44 strikeouts and a 3.84 FIP (4.10 xFIP).

After the 2008 season, Lyon signed with Detroit as a free agent, and spent the year setting up games for Fernando Rodney. Lyon made himself look better as a Tiger, pitching 78.2 innings in 2009 and ending the year with an ERA of 2.86. However, his walk rate rose (from 1.97 to 3.55 BB/9) and his strikeout rate stayed the same. His FIP on the year was 4.06, with an xFIP of 4.24.

With a sub-par strikeout rate and higher walk rate, Lyon is a tough own even if he is getting save chances. His ERA is likely to rise closer to his career line of 4.20, with a WHIP near 1.40. He should be able to get ~30 saves in Houston, but is still a lower tier closer. I was more excited about Lindstrom getting save opportunities, but Lyon is a bit of a safer draft pick next year.