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Will Brandon Lyon Become The Tigers Closer?

Brandon Lyon fantasy baseballBrandon Lyon signed a 1-year deal with the Detroit Tigers on Monday, creating an absolute mess for fantasy baseball owners trying to figure out who the Tigers closer will be in 2009.

Last season, Lyon went 3-5 with 26 saves in 61 appearances for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He struck out 44 and had an ERA of 4.70 with a 1.48 WHIP in 59.3 innings.

Initial reports are saying that Lyon will be competing for the Tigers closer role with incumbent Fernando Rodney. In 2008, Rodney took over as closer for the Tigers when Todd Jones went down with an injury and kept the job after Jones returned. He went 0-6 and saved 13 games in 38 appearances, striking out 49 with a 4.91 ERA and 1.59 WHIP in 40.3 innings.

Lyon seems to be an insurance policy (a 4.25 million policy) in case Joel Zumaya can’t compete for the job with Rodney. Zumaya hasn’t thrown off a mound yet this offseason after missing the last month and a half of ’08 with a sore right shoulder.

Zumaya is the best option, talent wise, for closer in Detroit. He has averaged more than a strikeout per inning over the course of his career. However, his health over the past few seasons has to be concerning for the Tigers. Lyon likely will earn the job in spring training and take over until Zumaya is healthy enough to take his place.

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