Free Agent Stock Watch: Jonathan Broxton

Jonathan Broxton made a name for himself as someone who could overpower just about any hitter with his upper-90s fastball. He has been sidelined with right arm problems since May 3rd and when he returns there’s a good chance we’ll see a different kind of pitcher.

"The days of Jonathan Broxton throwing 99 and 100 [mph] might be over," agent B.B. Abbott told Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times last week. "But I think he can reinvent himself. He's still going to be 93-97.”

Broxton, who has struck out 11.5 batters per nine innings in his career, will have to get healthy before he transitions into a different style of pitching. The 27-year-old underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow yesterday to remove a bone spur and loose bodies

It’s been a while since Broxton seemed like himself. He started the 2010 season in fine form and had a 0.83 ERA until June 27th, when he made 48 pitches and allowed four runs against the Yankees. Regardless of the impact that outing had on Broxton's health (Abbott told Hernandez that he doesn't blame the Dodgers), there's no debating what happened next. Broxton posted a 7.58 ERA in 29 2/3 more innings that year with nearly as many walks (23) as strikeouts (25). Then, Broxton’s 2011 season ended after just 12 2/3 innings with a 5.68 ERA and, once again, nearly as many walks (9) as strikeouts (10).

Next up for Broxton: injury rehab (he’s expected to start a throwing program in six to eight weeks) and his first career appearance on the free agent market. Broxton’s stock has dropped significantly in the last year-plus, so teams won’t look at him as a sure-thing closer when he tests the free agent market this offseason. He’ll look for the opportunity to compete for a closing job, though there are no guarantees.

"I think Jonathan is prepared to sign a one-year deal and reestablish his value," Abbott told Hernandez.

Could it be with the Dodgers, the organization that drafted him in 2002 and has employed him ever since? Abbott says it’s possible and that his client would enjoy pitching under manager Don Mattingly again in 2012. However, Mattingly told Hernandez that he doesn’t know whether Broxton would be a fit since it’s been so long since he appeared in a game.

"I don't even know how to answer that, really" the manager said.

That’s probably how lots of front offices feel about Broxton, a formerly dominant reliever who’s still young and powerful enough to reinvent himself successfully. It’s hard to imagine a multiyear deal for the two-time All-Star, though that seemed all but inevitable 15 months ago. Instead, a one-year, incentive-based deal seems likely for Broxton, as long as he recovers from yesterday’s operation and assures teams that his health has improved.


61 Responses to Free Agent Stock Watch: Jonathan Broxton Leave a Reply

  1. Phillies_Aces35 4 years ago

    “Jonathan Broxton made a name for himself as someone who could overpower just about any hitter with his upper-90s fastball.”

    I think he made a name for himself as the guy Matt Stairs hit that moon shot off.

    The Phillies basically ruined this guy’s career.

    • GameCast_Freak 4 years ago

      False. He still put up fine numbers* until the yankees breakdown.

    • OK homer. The FACTS say otherwise. Broxton was fine after that or did you miss this sentence: “He started the 2010 season in fine form and had a 0.83 ERA until June
      27th.” If anything that 4 inning out against the Yankees “ruined his career.” Far more evidence for that than the Stairs homerun.

    • Dave Pomerantz 4 years ago

      No, Joe Torre ruined his career. Stairs hit that bomb in the 2008 playoffs (I was there… it sucked). In 2009, Broxton had the lowest ERA of his career at 2.61, the lowest WHIP of his career at .96, struck out over 13 batters per 9 innings, and was one of the very best closers in baseball. In 2010, through June 26th (the night before his 48 pitch outing against the Yankees) he had an ERA of .83, a whip of .95, and a K/9 of 13.2. That’s a year and a half of utter dominance, so can we PLEASE quit the “Matt Stairs ruined him” bullshit?

      • BlueSkyLA 4 years ago

        Not that Broxton’s agent agrees, but what the hell.

        • Dave Pomerantz 4 years ago

          1. He said he doesn’t blame the Dodgers. Maybe this is picking nits, but Torre doesn’t work for the Dodgers any more.
          2. Torre is now one of the most powerful men in baseball. No agent is going to accuse him of torching a player’s career.

          • BlueSkyLA 4 years ago

            Yup, that’s picking nits alright. The fact is one long outing is not going to destroy a pitcher’s arm unless it’s already damaged, and I think we know now that it was already damaged. He was throwing concrete at that point. Torre’s mistake was keeping him in the game, not because he was going to be hurt, but because he was losing the game.

          •  There was NO sign of any problems before that game. He was off to the best start of his career, and YES, one LONG relief outing, throwing more pitches in a game than ever before, over the longest outing of said career, CAN get somebody hurt.

          • Jessamynn 4 years ago

            I was going to bring up Harang also.

          • BlueSkyLA 4 years ago

            I disagree. Broxton had some rough outings before that, and some long appearances on the mound.

          • The FACTS are staring you in the face, and still you deny?  Did you look at the game logs for each season? Of course you didn’t. 48 pitches are his CAREER HIGH, and he did it in ONE fateful inning. Who leaves their closer in the game to throw 48 pitches in ONE INNING??? 39 pitches was his previous career high in 2006 and that was in TWO innings. His previous high for one inning was 38 in 2009. Just stupid to leave a guy out there for that.

          • BlueSkyLA 4 years ago

            Yes, because the facts are staring me right in the face. You are obsessing about the number of pitches he threw in just one inning of one game, instead of looking at the damage to his arm which required surgery. Sure the one outing might have hastened the day when he needed the surgery, but it didn’t create the need. The medical evidence we know about suggests that it would have happened eventually. That’s what his agent seems to be saying.

            The other major issue in my mind is that Broxton himself apparently did not report any pain until it was obvious that he could no longer pitch. People are always ready to blame a manager for using a player with some sort of incipient injury when in reality it’s up to the player to let his manager know he’s playing with pain, especially chronic pain. It appears that Broxton tried to play through the pain and likely exacerbated the problem. You won’t find that kind of thing in any pitch count stats, but it’s true just the same.

          •  LOL! So, now you make a post that more or less agrees with what I said, though it makes excuses for whatever reason. Heck, you even just made the point that that ONE outing “might have hastened the day when he needed the surgery.” Way to backtrack son! And how would you know it “didn’t create the need” for the surgery? Are you a doctor or team trainer? Did you look at Broxton’s MRI and determine when any injury occurred? Of course you didn’t. Just like you didn’t look up the game logs or see .83 somehow turn into 4.04 in HALF A SEASON. “The medical evidence we know about suggests that it would have happened
            eventually.” LOL! Such a red herring. So, because it MIGHT have happened “eventually”, a closer who is used to throwing MAYBE 30 pitches in an inning should be left on the mound to throw 48 on a night he CLEARLY doesn’t have it? That’s asinine, and it’s BAD MANAGING. But protect your Dodgers’ manager (who isn’t even with the team anymore) there homer!

            Pitchers are taught to pitch through some pain, and Broxton was sidelined with “discomfort” on several occasions. Maybe in hindsight the Dodgers would have looked closer at the “discomfort” and see if there was any damage. We aren’t even talking about what Broxton’s pain threshold is. Who knows how bad whatever pain he was feeling really was! You certainly don’t. “Exacerbating” a problem doesn’t negate when and how the problem was caused in the first place. Yes, the manager deserves flack for leaving a one-inning closer on the mound to throw 48 pitches in a single inning.

            I’ve killed you on every single point you’ve tried to make. Goodbye.

          • BlueSkyLA 4 years ago

            Must you be rude? No backtracking involved, and you haven’t even wounded me on any point. You were arguing that the one outing caused the injury, as if you really know. Are you a doctor? Have you examined the MRI reports? Of course not. Neither of us are or have. I’m saying, I doubt that could be the case as these types of injuries tend to take place over time. As you know his performance was terrible both during and after the infamous one inning, so unless he hurt himself on the first pitch that day, your case is questionable. Of course his “discomfort” should have been examined more closely. That’s what I’m saying. But if the player reports himself ready to pitch he’s probably going to treated as healthy by a manager. I’m not saying Torre was blameless on that particular day (already said that), but IMO mainly because he kept Broxton in the game long after it was obvious that he could not pitch. Still I have little doubt that Broxton would have broken down at some point in the season because something was obviously wrong in his arm from at least that day forward. We’ve all seen similar things a million times before, so I don’t get how this one is so different.

          • Why are you still talking??? I NEVER said that the one inning caused an injury. I said that he was OBVIOUSLY fine before that outing, off to the BEST start of his career and all, and then after that fell off the planet! What was the difference? A 48 pitch, one-inning outing that he didn’t belong staying in. Once again, get your facts straight.

            “As you know his performance was terrible both during and after
            the infamous one inning, so unless he hurt himself on the first pitch
            that day, your case is questionable.” That is HILARIOUS! So, he could only have hurt himself on pitch 1, not pitch 39 or 48? If I have a “questionable case” then what is yours? The manager needs to take some heat when something like this happens. You were trying to absolve him. There are A LOT more FACTS and information supporting my assertion than yours.

            Thank you for backtracking some more…

          • BlueSkyLA 4 years ago

            Wow, I guess you really do need to be rude.

          •  “The fact is one long outing is not going to destroy a pitcher’s arm
            unless it’s already damaged, and I think we know now that it was already
            damaged.” BOOM! Killed you on that one!

            “I disagree. Broxton had some rough outings before that, and some long
            appearances on the mound.” BOOM! Killed you on that one too! Most pitches EVER thrown in a MLB game by Broxton and it was in ONE INNING!

            “You are obsessing about the number of pitches he threw in just one
            inning of one game, instead of looking at the damage to his arm which
            required surgery. Sure the one outing might have hastened the day when
            he needed the surgery, but it didn’t create the need. The medical
            evidence we know about suggests that it would have happened eventually.” BOOM! Killed you yet again! The damage was CAUSED BY….??? This is where you started backtracking talking about how the outing “might have hastened” the need for surgery.

            But please, keep on going!

      • Dave Pomerantz 4 years ago

        I forgot to mention I was also at that 48 pitch Yankee game. Therefore, there is more evidence that I ruined Broxton’s career than there is evidence Stairs did.

      • vtadave 4 years ago

        He actually had a slightly lower ERA (2.59) in 2006, but great points. 

        Did Albert Pujols ruin Brad Lidge’s career?

      • Brox career prior to 48 pitches vs. NYY: 2.92 ERA, 1.158 WHIP, 11.9 SO/9, 3.33 SO/BB.

        Post: 6.75 ERA, 1.850 WHIP, 7.43 SO/9, 1.00 SO/BB

    • GoDoyers 4 years ago

      Broxton cost the Doyers both NLCS titles.

      • thegrayrace 4 years ago

        False. In the 2008 NLCS Broxton had a scoreless appearance in Game 3, and in Game 4 he entered in the 8th inning after Cory Wade had already given up the tying run and the go-ahead run was on base. The homerun by Stairs broke the tie, but the Dodgers failed to score a run in the bottom of the 8th or 9th innings. That was the only game in the 2008 NLCS that Broxton gave up a run, the Dodgers lost the series in 5 games.

        Broxton was not the difference in 2008.

        In 2009, Broxton pitched scoreless innings in Game 1 (loss) and Game 2 (win, save), before coming in to Game 4. Game 4 was his only blown save in either NLCS. Again, the Dodgers lost in 5 games. You presume that, had they won Game 4, they would have also won Game 6 and Game 7. Unlikely. Not Broxton’s fault. Phillies were the better team.

  2. CAD_Monkey 4 years ago

    Maybe he’ll pitch better now knowing that Matt Stairs has retired?

    • Another Draftsperson wasting away their day on MLBTR?

      • CAD_Monkey 4 years ago

        Just graduated in June, and still haven’t found work yet…so I just browse the internet looking for articles to post snarky comments on.

  3. Alex 4 years ago

    Does anyone hear the rays knockin on the door for him? Need to revive your career? Go to tampa (balfour, wheeler, choate, farnsworth, cruz and much more

  4. johnsilver 4 years ago

    I hope this guy is not Epstein’s fall back guy in case he does not like Papelbon’s price. Not that wouldn’t mind seeing him as a 7-8th inning guy, but not as a closer.

  5. Gumby65 4 years ago

    In other developments, Jonathan Broxton is now shopping around for a new agent…

  6. Dave Pomerantz 4 years ago

    I forgot to mention I was also there for the 48 pitch outing. There’s more evidence that I ruined Jon Broxton’s career than there is evidence Stairs did.

  7. Mets should sign either Jonathan Broxton or Brad Lidge this offseason. Cheap but good potential signings

    • NYPOTENCE 4 years ago

      I would lean towards Broxton since he will probably cost less and since he is younger

      • icedrake523 4 years ago

        And Lidge has only had two good seasons (05 and 08) since Albert Pujols hit that ball into orbit off him.

  8. BlueSkyLA 4 years ago

    I doubt the Dodgers will have much if any interest in signing Broxton next year, even to a one-year deal. It’s not so much that he’s going to have a lot to prove, as the Dodgers already have two good closer candidates, and their bigger need out of the pen is probably going to be a lefty.

  9. Alexmullen4180 4 years ago

    This is the perfect guy for the Blue Jays to go after. Young, cheapish and has a previous track record of dominance.

  10. monkeyspanked 4 years ago

    Eric Gagne says hello…

    • crashcameron 4 years ago

      Eric Gagne says hello…   to Bobby Jenks!!

  11. gkantor18 4 years ago

    This should make for an interesting scenario for the mets. They need a closer, and a one year deal with incentives is exactly the kind of deal sandy alderson would make. I’m not saying broxton would come to the mets, but I definitely think they should show interest. If there’s one thing mets fans have learned, it’s that the mets do not have a in-house closer for next year.

  12. Bled Orange 4 years ago

    I’d like the same team to sign cc and broxton.

    Your team could gain 600 pounds in a single offseason!

  13. BigKev88 4 years ago

    Broxton would look good in a pirates uniform. He would come in the 7th and set the table for Meek and Hannerhan. give him a 1 year deal and an option for a 2nd we did ok with resop this year

    • sherrilltradedooverexperience 4 years ago

      if looking good in a pirates uniform means looking more like a Steelers defensive lineman that forgot to put his helmet and body armor on

  14. Dodgerbluez 4 years ago

    Shoulda traded him awhile ago back when he had value as well as Loney.. Didnt Seattle or Texas want those 2 for Cliff Lee a couple years ago?  Now look.. LOL

    • John DiRienzo 4 years ago

      that trade would never happen under ned colletti, unless of course broxton was already on the DL and colletti was the one trading lee.

    • thegrayrace 4 years ago

      I believe the rumor in 2009 was Adrian Gonzalez and Heath Bell for Martin, Loney and Broxton… if only that had gotten done…

      Doesn’t seem like Cliff Lee discussion ever got that far. Dodgers didn’t have such great prospects and weren’t willing to part with Kershaw or Kemp (understandably). Dodgers probably blew their chance of acquiring Cliff Lee when they traded Carlos Santana for Casey Blake.

      • Dodgerbluez 4 years ago

        Yeah I remember that one.. Now that woulda been nice..

    • BlueSkyLA 4 years ago

      As always, hindsight is 20-20. BTW, since the first of August the highest BA in all of baseball belongs to… take a wild guess.

      • Dodgerbluez 4 years ago

        oh I know.. but he has peeked.. He will hover around .275-290avg 10-15Hrs. 65-80 Rbis.. (If people get on base).. Dont dislike him just not excited to have him..

  15. Matt Stairs or no, the Phils should take a look at Broxton as a lower-cost alternative to re-upping Madson.

  16. Dodgerbluez 4 years ago

    Broxtons real problem is he has 1 pitch.. If you see a fast ball 10 times in a row eventualy your gonna catch up to it.. And a 98 mph fastball really jumps of the bat.. As we we have all witnessed..

    • Joey Caltabellotta 4 years ago

      I actually disagree. Broxton didn’t rely enough on his fastball in my opinion and to much on his slider (probably because his arm couldn’t handle throwing 100mph fastballs). I’m 100% that Broxton has a slider and changeup besides a fastball and about 80% that he also throws a 2-seam fastball. His changeup also had to much speed (ranged around the upper 80’s) and very little break to it which didn’t give him an extremely dominant pitch besides his fastball. I do agree that he let guys get to comfortable at the plate around the end there though. Idk about everyone else, but I’m hoping he hits free agency and re-signs back with the Dodgers at a cheaper salary but that’s just me.

  17. I figure “the Assassin” that would be the thief of the decade, Double AA, moves in with a one year deal, 2 years of club options, for much bigger bucks, tied to performance, realizing the worst that can happen is he proves himself, then leaves as a FA again at the age of 30. The Jays will give him the ball until he proves he can’t handle the job, or his arm falls off, all up to him. And if he threw underhand like a girlie, he would still be better than John Rauch.
    Toronto’s manager, pitching coach, and bullpen coach are all A plus when it comes to knowing pitchers. They are the team on the come, the next and best Beast of the East.

  18. Matt Moore 4 years ago

    I thought you were joking but he really is 300pds lol

  19. vtadave 4 years ago

    Love the optimism, but “pitches extremely well out of the pen”?

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