First of all, I would like to reintroduce myself as this is my semi-triumphant return to BRM. After a grueling year-plus of finishing up graduate school here I am back and ready to deliver my wordy goodness about the Redlegs on a weekly basis. I am glad to be back and I hope this is as fun for you readers as it is for this “writer”.
As has been per usual, a Reds trade deadline has come and I am taken off guard as to the activity that has transpired. No deals made in 2011 invoked rampant head scratching in the Queen City and in 2012 a trade was made, but the position that was upgraded is the point of contention. After reading rumor articles by the ream this week, I had all but concluded that a bat-swinger of some sort would be coming to Cincinnati. Then Shane Victorino came and went, the asking price for Denard Span was too high, and Juan Pierre went off the market because well…someone had to play outfield for the Phillies. So all those hypothetical deals that those in the mediasphere had meticulously crafted were gone.
Emerging from that was the acquisition of Jonathan Broxton from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for 2 minor league pitchers. The Royals’ closer in 2012 comes to Cincinnati as a way of strengthening an area of already solid performance in the bullpen. The Reds bullpen lead baseball in reliever K/9 (10.23) & ERA (2.66), and are 3rd in HR/9 (0.72). Walt Jocketty has been documented as saying that the asking price for top of the order help was too steep, so simply upgrading an area of strength for a relatively average price is a fairly respectable back up plan.
Broxton figures to slot in with Sean Marshall as the right handed counterpart for the 8th inning. This is a move that could pay dividends in October when multiple late game high leverage situations calls for an extra reliever who can come in and protect a lead. Broxton is not without fault however. Anyone expecting the overpowering closer from Dodger yesteryear will be disappointed. While Broxton had nearly played himself out of the majors at one point, he has rebounded to become a serviceable late-inning setup option. A style change has highlighted Broxton’s comeback. Formerly a power pitcher averaging Chapman-like strikeout numbers, the new Broxton has lost some fastball velocity (94.9 MPH in 2012 down from a high of 97.5 MPH in 2009) and became more of a groundball pitcher (56.6 GB% vs. 46.6 and 41.9 GB% in 2010 & 2011 respectively). Never a bad thing for GABP.
The addition of Broxton causes a role reshuffling behind him in the new Reds’ bullpen. Logan Ondrusek and his nice season now push back to the 7th inning with Jose Arredondo sharing. Alfredo Simon and Sam LeCure continue playing long men and Bill Bray continues to be hurt. Todd “One Day Tour” Redmond will be making another trip from Louisville to Cincinnati, probably for longer than a day this time as Bray indeed has been added to the DL. The main attraction for this Broxton deal is definitely the decrease in the number of big situations that Arredondo and Ondrusek will see.
Overall, an inconsequential price for a reliable addition to a strong bullpen is a satisfying haul for the 2012 trade deadline. It may not be a bat for the top of the lineup but it could prove to be a shrewd move in a season that has the Reds in a position of pennant contention.