NEW YORK -- The Mets are close to a deal with former closer Brandon Lyon, an industry source confirmed Sunday, a move that could finalize their relief corps heading into camp.
A second source stressed that a deal is not done, and Lyon is still talking to other teams. But the right-hander is a strong bet to wind up in Flushing.
Lyon, 33, posted a 3.10 ERA in 67 appearances split between the Astros and Blue Jays last season, striking out 63 batters and walking 20 in 61 innings. He was the primary closer for the D-backs in 2008 and the Astros from 2010-11, before surgery to his right shoulder and biceps tendon derailed his career in 2011.
Bouncing back in 2012, Lyon started off strong in his return from surgery, boosting his value before the Astros sent him to Toronto in a 10-player deal last July.
Now Lyon is close to landing in Flushing, where he should join Frank Francisco and Bobby Parnell at the back of New York's bullpen. If he signs, it is likely to be the second big league free-agent contract the Mets hand out this winter. Starting pitcher Shaun Marcum received the first.
Though Francisco remains the team's presumed closer, general manager Sandy Alderson has recently expressed uncertainty regarding his ninth-inning situation. Francisco underwent surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow earlier this winter and is no lock to be ready for Opening Day.
"Looking with what Frankie has been dealing with in the offseason as far as his elbow is concerned, I don't know that we could have a lot of confidence in where we are," Alderson said on SNY's Hot Stove program last week. "I hope that Frankie is able to step up. We've taken a lot of the time to look at other possibilities and ways that we can shore this up."
Lyon, apparently, is one of those possibilities, potentially giving the Mets another option with significant closing experience. The right-hander has compiled 79 saves over an 11-year big league career with the Blue Jays, Red Sox, D-backs, Tigers and Astros.
If he signs, the Mets are suddenly looking at a surplus of veteran depth in their bullpen, adding Lyon, LaTroy Hawkins and Scott Atchison over the span of a week. Those three would likely make the Opening Day bullpen alongside Francisco and Parnell. The Mets also will have multiple left-handers competing for roles, including Pedro Feliciano, Josh Edgin, Robert Carson and Aaron Laffey.
Before zeroing in on Lyon, the Mets also showed interest in former closers Jose Valverde and Brian Wilson.