The Cincinnati Reds and Jonathan Broxton have come to an agreement on a new contract. The big right handed reliever has reportedly signed a three-year, $21 million deal. Broxton is likely to begin the season as the Reds closer, thus allowing Aroldis Chapman to transition into a starting role. It’s not quite Brandon League money, but Walt Jocketty certainly pulls off a decent Ned Colletti impression.
Broxton saved 84 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers between 2006 and 2011. He missed 130 games in 2011 with shoulder troubles, but re-emerged as a closer with the Kansas City Royals last season before landing in Cincinnati via trade in August. Jocketty and the Reds clearly believe that Broxton can still be a shutdown late innings guy, essentially eschewing significant dips to his strikeout rates and velocity while perhaps putting far too much faith in an abnormally low 2012 HR/FB rate (4.9%). The 6’4″ 300-pounder struck out 38% of the batters he faced in 2009 when he saved 36 games for the Dodgers. He struck out 18.9% of batters in 60 games with the Royals and Reds last season. Strike out rate is a reasonable predictor for future performance in relievers, and the future doesn’t look overly promising here for Broxton and the Reds.
So, did Jocketty and the Reds know something about Broxton that would allow him to continue to get outs while striking out less batters? What about his ability to prevent that low HR/FB rate from regressing in a bandbox like the Great American Ballpark? Let’s take a look inside negotiations:
Jocketty: We’d love to have you in a Reds uniform saving games while we move Chapman to the rotation. What’s it gonna take?
Broxton: I’d like enough money to fill my pants.
Jocketty: How big are your pants?
Broxton: This big (pulls two wee-men out of his pockets and holds up pants).
Jocketty: Well, I suppose we could have spent this much on Brandon League. $21 million over three years ought to do. Done deal.
Overspending? Yeah, probably, but it’s something something what the market would bear. Also, this:
from 09-12, Broxton worth 3.0 rWAR & just got 3/21. Same time frame, Joel Peralta 2.3 rWAR, signed 3/8.5…with mostly better skills
— jasoncollette (@jasoncollette) November 28, 2012
Broxton 2012: 58.0 IP; 2.48 ERA; 3.03 FIP; 3.62 xFIP; 27 Saves; 45 K
Peralta 2012: 67 IP; 3.63 ERA; 3.14 FIP; 3.21 xFIP; 2 Saves; 84 K
Saves, man. Sigh.
Ken Rosenthal notes that Broxton’s deal also includes a 2016 club option ($9 million, $1 million buyout). Jonathan Broxton’s hindquarters are sight to behold, right up there with those of Chad Billingsley. Of course, Major League teams don’t pay for exceptional hindquarters. They pay for past performance, apparently.