Jonathan Broxton. Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Reds to sign Jonathan Broxton


Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com has reported that the Reds and closer Jonathan Broxton have reached an agreement on a multi-year contract extension.

The move comes just a few hours after another sort of, kind of Reds closer, Ryan Madson, reached a one-year agreement with the Angels.

While the particulars of the deal have not yet been disclosed, Heyman writes that it is believed to be at least three years in length. This is a reasonable commitment to make to a player who is, I was surprised to find out, only 28 years old. For the sake of comparison, Madson is 32. The financial aspects of the deal are not yet known. An official announcement is expected later today.

Broxton, a two-time All-Star with the Dodgers, posted a 2.48 ERA last season in 58 innings with the Royals and Reds. While his K/9 rate of 6.98 was the lowest of his career and well below his career average of 10.31, he made up for it with a career low BB/9 rate of 2.64. He also succeeded at keeping the ball on the ground and in the ballpark, with a groundball percentage of 53.8 according to Fangraphs and only 0.31 home runs per nine innings.

Personally, I’m on the fence about this one, but I think I like it. Granted, the length and the dollars of the signing are still a mystery, but much like the trade that brought him here, I have a feeling it will grow on me over time.

Coincidentally, I heard about the deal as I was preparing to write a post where I would have argued in favor of signing Broxton. After the Madson deal, Broxton’s value was sure to rise with one more bullpen arm off the market.

By re-signing Broxton on top of the extension given to Sean Marshall earlier this year, the Reds have probably committed a lot of money to their bullpen over the next three years, especially for a small-market club. And much like our own Tyler Grote wrote, I am not personally in favor of a set closer. However, by all indications, Dusty Baker is, and signing Broxton should facilitate a move to the rotation for Aroldis Chapman. And between Marshall and Broxton, the Reds will have two strong candidates to close should one struggle or get hurt, not to mention the Cuban Missile himself possibly moving back into the role in case of an emergency.

The signing also gives the Reds more pitching depth, both in the bullpen and the rotation. While the Reds made it through the entire regular season except for one doubleheader with five starters, that was a rare feat. It is unlikely to happen again in 2013. With Chapman in the starting five, the Reds will have Mike Leake, Todd Redmond, and possibly Tony Cingrani to fill in if a starter is forced to miss time.

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