Well, it appears the Rays and Astros have new closers for 2010. The Rays have traded reliever Jesse Chavez to the Braves for closer Rafael Soriano.
In addition, the Astros have signed Tigers reliever Brandon Lyon, after closer Jose Valverde elected to decline arbitration and losing out on signing LaTroy Hawkins. They also traded some prospects to the Marlins for Matt Lindstrom. I presume that Lyon will be the Astros closer in 2010 as he signed a 3-year $15 million deal with the 'Stros. But, I would draft Lindstrom as well, as Lyon is not the most consistent closer. Then again, Lindstrom's 2009 season was downright terrible.
Lindstrom saved 15 games in 2009, with an ERA of 5.89 and a WHIP of 1.64. He has a K/BB ratio of 1.64, walking 4.5 batters per 9 innings, and an extremely low LOB% OF 62%. Lyon, on the other hand, had a very solid 2009 season going 6-5 with 3 saves, a 2.86 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP.
Lyon has never been a big strikeout pitcher as he had a 6.5 K/9 ratio, and a 3.5 BB/9 ratio. What worries me about Lyon is he had a extremely low BABIP of .229 and an extremely high LOB% of 80%. Should these ratios regress to his career averages of .305 BABIP and 71% LOB, his ERA and WHIP will suffer, and the blown saves will accumulate. Remember he lost his closer job in 2008 with the Diamondbacks by blowing several saves late in the season as the DBacks were battling for the NL West division title.
But the big question is, where is elsewhere for Valverde and Mike Gonzalez? In the National League, there are few choices-maybe the Phillies, or the Marlins if they want an upgrade at closer, or the Nationals, but they have prospect Drew Storen who is close to ready.