Is Brandon Lyon headed to San Francisco?
We have reached the twilight of the baseball offseason. By this point in the year, many of the marquee free agents have found a team and speculation is mostly centered around spring training battles. Who will make the roster? What competitions will there be for starting positions? The story lines out of San Francisco are mostly of this caliber, with a little bit of facial hair sprinkled in. Let's take a look at the latest San Francisco Giants rumors and declare them fact or fiction.
FICTION: Brian Wilson Will Return To San Francisco
In the latest update of the story of former Giants closer Brian Wilson, Brian Sabean pretty definitively put the kibosh on a reunion. Sabean told Anthony Sulla-Heffinger of the New York Post, "“I’m going to be brutally honest as I always am, I don’t [think Wilson will return].” Hard to be much clearer than that. Of course there is always a thimble of hope that Wilson won't get the bigger payday he's seeking from another team and rejoin the Giants on a low-base, incentive-laden contract, but the days of B. Weezy in black and orange appear to be behind us.
FACT: The Giants Will Sign Reliever Brandon Lyon
Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea reported that former Houston Astros closer Brandon Lyon was "deep in discussions" with San Francisco. Baggarly further indicated that should the Giants and Lyon reach an agreement, it would leave the team without the assets (or roster space) to ink Brian Wilson.
I think the Giants and Lyon will get a contract done, given Bruce Bochy's reluctance to officially name Sergio Romo the closer and the need for another end-of-the-game arm to compliment the Giants' impressive array of set-up men. Lyon is 33 and a certifiable journeyman, having pitched for five teams over the last 11 seasons. His value as a low-cost bullpen asset figures perfectly with where the Giants are both in terms of interest and payroll. Expect a deal to get done.
FICTION: Ryan Theriot Will Re-sign With San Francisco
Ryan Theriot and Alex Smith should grab lunch sometime. Both were players that began their team's seasons as starters, then were asked to move to the bench midway through the year. Both watched their replacements play central roles in leading their teams to a championship game/series.
Theriot is now a free agent, and while the Giants have nibbled at the prospect of bringing him back, there's not a lot of sense in having Scutaro and "The Riot" on the same roster. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Scutaro's primary backup will be probably a combination of Joaquin Arias and the newly-signed Kensuke Tanaka.
I'd take CBS Sports R. J. White's report that the Giants remain interested in Theriot as the polite inquiries of a former team that has no real intention of making a deal.