On-Base Perception

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Reports: Brandon Lyon targeted by Mets

Houston Astros reliever Brandon Lyon pitches during a

Houston Astros reliever Brandon Lyon pitches during a game against the Royals. (June 19, 2012) (Credit: AP)

Veteran righthander Brandon Lyon may soon be fitted for a Mets uniform as part of general manager Sandy Alderson's extreme bullpen makeover.

The Mets are close to taking a chance on the 33-year-old righthander, according to several published reports, though the exact terms of the contract remain unclear. CBSSports.com first reported that Lyon was close to an agreement.

The Mets have made it clear that they've lost some confidence in closer Frank Francisco, whose tender elbow prematurely ended what had already been a season filled with wild swings in performance. In Lyon, the Mets would acquire a pitcher who once saved 28 games with the Diamondbacks in 2008, even though he's enjoyed more success as a setup man. Even if Lyon isn't viewed as a candidate to take Francisco's job, his addition bolsters the team's bullpen depth, which can only improve a unit that struggled badly a year ago.

A shoulder injury that eventually required surgery ruined Lyon's 2011 season. But he roared back in 2012, going 4-2 with a 3.10 ERA in 67 appearances for the Astros and Blue Jays.

Lyon's fastball velocity barely topped an average of 90 mph last season. Yet, he made up for it with his cutter and curveball, pitches he used to establish a career-best 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings. Expecting him to equal those gaudy strikeout numbers might be a stretch. But, the Mets seem convinced that he's still capable enough to provide depth.

Lyon joins an experienced group of recent signings that include fellow relievers Pedro Feliciano, Scott Atchison and LaTroy Hawkins. Francisco and Bobby Parnell, the hard-throwing setup man that took over as closer late last season, will be among the holdovers from last year's bullpen. Lefty Josh Edgin could also push to be included in that group.

Tags: Mets , Brandon Lyon

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