Tigers Grab a (Brandon) Lyon; Ryan Howard and Phils Prepare to Fight

George GouvasContributor IJanuary 23, 2009

Tigers Close in on a Closer


The Tigers, continuing to piece together their bullpen, are on the verge of signing former Diamondbacks closer Brandon Lyon to a multi-year contract.


Lyon, 29, began the 2008 season as Arizona’s closer, but late season struggles cost him his job, which was turned over to Chad Qualls. Lyon finished with 26 saves but a very high 4.70 ERA in 61 games. He will, however, be an upgrade over Fernando Rodney or the never-healthy Joel Zumaya in the Detroit bullpen.




Alou to the Phils?


Still waiting to hear from Nomar Garciaparra, the world champion Phillies are not sitting on their hands in trying to acquire a right-handed bat for the bench, having turned their attention to veteran outfielder Moises Alou.


The 42-year-old, who played just 15 games for the New York Mets last season, is hoping to drum up better than a bench job offer by playing for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.




Schill a Shill for Radio Station


Although he may only pitch half a season, if at all, Curt Schilling’s mouth is certainly making up for his right arm’s downtime by signing on as a contributor to WEEI radio in Boston.


Well known for sticking his two cents in, even when it doesn’t belong, Schilling will offer his opinion on various topics once a week and also write for the station’s web site. His first rant covered the Jason Varitek-Red Sox saga.


"I think you're looking at about $45 million invested in this pitching staff next year, and if your catcher doesn't work with your pitching staff, it's not one player that has a down year, an off season, it's potentially the entire staff," Schilling said.

"That might be overstating how many guys would have good or bad seasons based on Jason being back there, but I'm very comfortable with saying that there is very little chance that every guy on that staff won't be better if he's back this year. He's the kind of guy that makes you as good as you can be each start.

"Jason knows us as good, if not better, than some of us know ourselves."

The 20-year veteran also covered his status in the game and whether or not he is a Hall of Fame candidate.

"I feel very good about what I was able to do; I'm very proud of my career," Schilling said when posed the question by a caller. "I did [20] years—far more than I ever expected. But I played with Randy Johnson, I played with Pedro Martinez, I played with Dale Murphy. I played with guys that have [Cy Young Award] plaques. I'd like to think I did well. I'd like to think that, if I had a must-win game, the guys I played with would want me to have the ball. But no, I don't think I deserve to be in the Hall of Fame."


Howard vs. Phillies Arbitration Main Event

Thanks to Prince Fielder agreeing on a two-year, $18 million deal with Milwaukee, fans of the arbitration process have lost their undercard.

But the main event remains intact as the Phillies and their $14 million will face off against the biggest slugger in the game, Ryan Howard, and his $18 million request.

Howard still fumes that the Phillies kept him in the minors until 2005 when he feels he was prepared long before that, but was then blocked by the free agent signing of Jim Thome.  Thome went down with an injury midway through the '05 season and Howard took full advantage, hitting 22 homers and driving in 67 runs in just 88 games, winning Rookie of the Year honors.

Philadelphia dealt Thome to the White Sox that offseason and Howard has been the man ever since, hitting 153 homers and knocking in 431 runs over the past three seasons.