As you might have heard, the Royals officially introduced former Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton on Wednesday. Broxton, 27, is 25-20 with a 3.19 ERA and 84 saves in his big league career that spans seven seasons. He was an All-Star in 2009 and 2010, but last season he caught the injury bug and made only 14 appearances for the Dodgers before undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow in September.
Make no mistake, Broxton can throw absolute gas (98-100 mph), when healthy, and will help the Royals bullpen, but the question was and still is: Did the bullpen need any help?
My initial reaction to the trade was exactly what I posted on Twitter:
“The Broxton acquisition ONLY makes sense if the #Royals are getting ready to deal Soria. Stay tuned.”
I don’t necessarily feel negatively about the move, but it just strikes me as odd that the Royals would go out and spend $4 million on a risky arm that only fits in the team’s already strong bullpen. So at the time, it only made sense the Royals would be making this move as a precursor to dealing one of their relievers, likely Joakim Soria or Greg Holland paired with another piece to acquire help elsewhere around the diamond.
Then Rustin Dodd from the Kansas City Star had to go ruin all the fun by going out and doing some actual reporting. In his article Dodd retrieves quotes from Dayton Moore that ultimately nixed mine and other Royals followers feelings that the Royals are prepared to deal any part of the existing bullpen.
Most notably this Moore response lends credence to the theory that the Royals are done adding to the starting rotation because of a weak free agency market and are beefing up the bullpen to help:
“We felt it was important for us to be in a position to shorten games as best we can,” he said, “and rely on guys like Holland, Coleman and Collins, and Broxton now, in that seventh, eighth inning.”
I’m not thrilled with spending $4 million on a risk like Broxton, considering he likely won’t reach 60 innings on the season. However, if he can return his strikeout rate to 11.8 K/9 that he achieved from 2006-09 in Los Angeles then he is worth the gamble I suppose.
The acquisition of Broxton is going to force me to use a sketchy analogy, but I must. To me, Broxton is the pitching version of the hot blonde in her late 20′s who is single. You wonder what is wrong with her and why she’s so interested in dating you, an everyday guy—or in the Royals case, a middling franchise and recent cellar dweller. But so what, she’s really hot and if you find out that she has a terrible personality or something less than satisfying about her—or in Broxton’s case, he’s not the pitcher he was 06-09—then who cares, you cut your losses. But if it works out, then you have an absolute gem in your bullpen and that’s where the hot blonde analogy stops, because it gets a little dirty.
In the Royals case, Broxton is only signed for one year and as many have alluded to, the Royals have plenty of extra money to spend thanks to the honorable Gil Meche.
So screw it, take the hot blonde out on a date and see what she’s all about. And in the Royals case, if it fails, you still have a strong bullpen.