The Cincinnati Reds want all the relievers in the world. They have the best reliever, they signed a good reliever (who was actually hurt and won’t pitch for the Reds in 2012) and then they traded for another great reliever in the offseason. Now the Reds added even more bullpen depth by acquiring Jonathan Broxton from the Kansas City Royals.
While Broxton will never reclaim the form that made him a premier reliever from 2007-2009, Broxton pitched pretty well for the Royals in 2012. The strikeouts and velocity are way down from his heyday but Broxton still amassed 23 saves for KC while pitching to a 2.27/3.38/3.97 ERA/FIP/xFIP. He notched 19 shutdowns against just 5 meltdowns in 35 appearances.
The Reds relief corps in 2012 is comfortably upper middle class, ranking just behind the Rockies in terms of WAR among NL clubs. Any team featuring the absurd Aroldis Chapman and the very steady (away from the Closer’s Role) Sean Marshall is probably going to do a good job locking down leads.
Considering Chapman’s FIP in July is negative, I have a feeling Broxton will setup the slender Cuban with a 49.5% K rate, working alongside Sean Marshall and Logan Ondrusek to cover the 7th and 8th innings. The Reds group of eight relievers — they’ve only used eight different relief pitchers all season long. Thirteen total! Seriously! — own the highest K rate in the league (hi, Aroldis!) and a 3.31 FIP as a group.
While the Reds were apparently close to acquiring Denard Span from the Twins (how close depends on who you ask), this is not quite the legit upgrade Span represents. The innings Broxton gives the Reds might marginally improve on the innings the Reds get from Ondrusek, Jose Arredondo and Sam LeCure. He is more experienced than those other arms, having
turned Matt Stairs from man to legend previously pitched in the post season for the Dodgers.
The early reports suggest the Reds giving up J.C. Sulbaran and Donnie Joseph for the services of Broxton. Sulbaran is an interesting case, bouncing around the various top 10 prospect lists over the last few years. Some suggest Sulbaran could be a starter if he reaches the big leagues, meaning this isn’t a bad deal at all for the Royals. This is why teams sign players like Broxton to one year deals, I suppose. Another fringy prospect to carry the hopes and dreams of the lunatic fringe of the fanbase. The way of the modern world, it seems.
Amazing trade for Royals. I might rather have Donnie Joseph than Broxton in the big leagues right now.
— Kevin Goldstein (@Kevin_Goldstein) July 31, 2012