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Jonathan Broxton Rumors
Here’s the latest out of Philadelphia, which houses one of the league’s most interesting rosters to watch this spring. Steve Adams and I discuss that, among other topics, on today’s forthcoming podcast. In the meantime, some notes:
- The Phillies asked the Brewers for a “top prospect” in return for closer Jonathan Papelbon if the club was to pick up a big piece of the remainder of his deal, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (in a piece we cited earlier this morning). In response, Milwaukee broached the idea of sending Jonathan Broxton back to Philadelphia to help balance the cash, a concept that did not gain traction (and which Rosenthal argues made little sense for either club).
- Those talks are now dormant, per Rosenthal. That would appear to take the Brewers out of the picture for Papelbon at this point. As Rosenthal explains, the entire episode also demonstrates the broader difficulty the club is facing in moving Papelbon. While a spring injury could always shake up the market, it increasingly appears (as others have suggested) that waiting until the summer to deal might represent the best option for the Phils.
- The Red Sox have plenty of leverage in their pursuit of Phillies lefty Cole Hamels, writes Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. That’s because “even the second-best deal [Amaro] can get for Hamels from the Red Sox is likely better than he can get elsewhere,” as Abraham puts it. Even taking on most of the Hamels deal is going to leave plenty of value left to be accounted for in any trade scenario — another topic that Steve and I discuss — but Abraham suggests that the gap might be bridged by a package fronted by lefty Henry Owens and including several other top prospects not named Betts, Swihart, or Rodriguez.
Rickie Weeks doesn’t think that he’ll be back with the Brewers next season, he tells Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Weeks, who has an $11.5MM club option that won’t be exercised, didn’t request a final appearance with the team in the season’s last game. “I told the manager if the time permitted itself during the game to put me out there, OK. If not, so be it,” he said. “Life still goes on. It’s not like this is the end of all (things). I’m the type of person that I move on. That’s the way it is. I don’t think I’m going to be here next year. It’s just for me to go out there and move forward with my life.”
Some more NL Central items as the playoffs loom…
- Francisco Rodriguez also spoke to Haudricourt about his future, and unlike Weeks, who seems resigned to being elsewhere, K-Rod hopes to return to the Brewers in 2015. “I definitely know where I want to be,” he said. “I want to be here. But it is not my decision.” As Haudricourt points out, Milwaukee’s trade for Jonathan Broxton and his $9MM salary next season could give Broxton the inside track for the closer’s gig and push K-Rod out of the picture. The team additionally saw a breakout performance from Jeremy Jeffress and expects to have Jim Henderson returning to health.
- MLB.com’s Tom Singer spoke with Pirates general manager Neal Huntington about the team’s lack of an impact trade this summer in a recent Q&A. Huntington wasn’t sure whether it was more satisfying to get to the postseason on the back of some well-executed trades (such as last year’s acquisition of Marlon Byrd and Justin Morneau) or to get there by trusting his internal options. “This July 31 (non-waiver Trade Deadline) we wanted to, we were willing to, give up prospects as we did last August. We worked hard to find the right deal, large and small, and we couldn’t find the right impact coming in the door to match the impact that would’ve been going out the door.”
- Huntington also touched on the timeline of Gregory Polanco‘s promotion to the Majors, noting that he wishes Neil Walker wouldn’t have gotten hurt. Had Walker remained healthy, Josh Harrison wouldn’t have had to shift to second base — a move that necessitated the promotion of Polanco, according to Huntington. “I hated [promoting Polanco]. I really did,” said Huntington. As the GM explained, the team thought Polanco was “borderline ready,” but he also stated: “There’s a reason why that Triple-A level exists, why most guys who have had success at the Major League level have experienced Triple-A beyond 250 at-bats.” Polanco got off to a blistering start in his first two weeks but has batted just .204/.275/.324 since and started just three games in September.
The Reds announced that they have acquired right-handers Kevin Shackelford and Barrett Astin from the Brewers to complete the Jonathan Broxton trade. Cincinnati originally sent Broxton to Milwaukee in exchange for a pair of players to be named later on Aug. 31 — the last significant deal before the deadline for newly acquired players to be eligible for postseason play.
Shackelford and Astin ranked 21st and 22nd, respectively, among Brewers prospects heading into the 2014 season, according to Baseball America. However, neither player cracked Milwaukee’s top 20 list on MLB.com’s midseason list.
The 25-year-old Shackelford is the more advanced of the two prospects, as he reached Double-A this season and posted a combined 3.69 ERA with 5.2 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 70 2/3 relief innings between that level and Class-A Advanced. BA felt that he should have reached Triple-A, if not the Majors, this season in their preseason scouting report, but Shackelford’s Double-A struggled (4.86 ERA in 50 innings) may have held him back. BA noted that he can touch 97 with his fastball and gets whiffs on his slider, making him a potential late-inning reliever. They did, however, note that the slider can be inconsistent — something he’ll likely look to improve upon in 2015. However, the fact that he’ll turn 26 next season and has yet to reach Triple-A suggests that Shackelford is far from a sure thing to end up as a consistent piece in the Cincinnati bullpen.
Astin, 23 next month, was the Brewers’ third-round pick in 2013. He served as Arkansas’ closer as the team pushed to the College World Series, and BA noted that while he may not be durable enough to remain a starter, he could move quickly as a reliever. Indeed, Astin posted a 5.55 ERA as a starter this season in 96 2/3 innings, but he turned in a terrific 2.27 ERA in 26 relief innings. Overall, he posted a 4.96 ERA with 6.0 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 121 1/3 innings at Class A.
While neither prospect is particularly highly regarded, GM Walt Jocketty picked up a pair of arms that could potentially help his bullpen within the next two years, and he shed more than $11MM in salary in the process. To this point, Broxton has done his job for the Brewers, firing four shutout innings with four strikeouts and no walks, helping to bridge the gap to closer Francisco Rodriguez.
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro says to expect “significant changes” to the team’s roster, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki writes. “I think we need it,” says Amaro. “I think we need it because what we have on our roster right now is not working.” The timing of Amaro’s comments is a bit odd, given that he spent both the July and August deadlines mostly declining to trade veterans (although he did ship John Mayberry Jr. to the Blue Jays yesterday). Perhaps, though, there are big moves coming in the offseason. Last week, former GM Pat Gillick took over as interim team president while David Montgomery went on medical leave. Amaro says that the Phillies will not replace him or manager Ryne Sandberg while Gillick is running the team. Here’s more from the National League.
- Mets manager Terry Collins is surprised that there wasn’t more interest in pitcher Bartolo Colon before the August deadline, Marc Carig of Newsday reports. “I was a little surprised that there wasn’t more activity,” says Collins. “But I’m happy he’s still here.” Colon cleared waivers despite his respectable performance this season, probably due primarily to his $11MM salary in 2015.
- The returns of Matt Harvey and Bobby Parnell and improvements by Lucas Duda would suggest that the Mets are trending upward, but the David Wright and Curtis Granderson contracts could become a problem, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York writes. Wright is signed through 2020, and his .264/.324/.364 line this season is way off his career norms. Granderson, meanwhile, hasn’t hit well in the first season of his four-year deal. If those players don’t improve, and if the Mets don’t significantly increase spending, they’ll be stuck paying a large percentage of their team payroll to two relatively unproductive players.
- Jonathan Broxton was surprised the Reds traded him to the Brewers, Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel reports. “I didn’t see it coming at all, especially with an extra year (remaining on his contract) in there,” Broxton says. Broxton will make $9MM in 2015, plus a $2MM buyout or a $9MM mutual option in 2016. He will pitch in the eighth inning for the Brewers, Haudricourt writes.
- The Brewers’ September call-ups will likely include players who aren’t already on their 40-man roster, Haudricourt tweets. That means they’ll have to make moves involving players already on the 40-man. The Brewers have already selected the contract of catcher Matt Pagnozzi, moving Jeff Bianchi to the 60-day DL.
1:49pm: Broxton was a waiver claim, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes (Twitter links). Reds GM Walt Jocketty says that the two teams have agreed on one of the players to be named later and have a list of players for the other.
12:49pm: The Brewers have bolstered their bullpen by acquiring right-hander Jonathan Broxton from the division-rival Reds in exchange for a pair of players to be named later, the teams have announced.
Broxton, 30, is in the second year of a three-year, $21MM contract with the Reds. He’s owed about $1.19MM of his $7MM salary this season before earning $9MM in 2015. His contract also contained a $9MM club option for 2016, which comes with a $1MM buyout. However, Broxton’s contract has a clause that causes that club option to become a mutual option with a $2MM buyout if he is traded, meaning he is now guaranteed $12.19MM through the end of the 2015 campaign and can reach free agency sooner even with a strong performance next year.
The former Dodgers closer is enjoying a strong year with the Reds. Broxton opened the season as Cincinnati’s closer with Aroldis Chapman on the disabled list, and he’s pitched well in a setup role since that time. In 48 1/3 innings this season, Broxton has pitched to a 1.86 ERA with 6.9 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 and a 45 percent ground-ball rate. Broxton has been fortunate on balls in play (.221 BABIP) and home runs (5.0% homer-to-flyball ratio), causing sabermetric ERA estimators such as FIP (3.52), xFIP (4.26) and SIERA (3.79) to rate his work less favorably than his actual run prevention rate would indicate.
Milwaukee’s bullpen could certainly use an upgrade, as they’ve recently lost both Tyler Thornburg and Jim Henderson to season-ending injuries. Broxton will provide manager Ron Roenicke with an experienced relief arm, as he figures to aid Will Smith and Brandon Kintzler in bridging the gap from a solid rotation to closer Francisco Rodriguez.
It’s unclear if Broxton had cleared waivers or whether the Brewers claimed him, although given his relatively large salary and the trade provision that increases his option buyout, he seems like a candidate to have cleared waivers. The budget-conscious Reds will likely save some, if not all of Broxton’s remaining salary, which will provide general manager Walt Jocketty with additional flexibility in the coming offseason. The Reds are expected to shop at least one of their starters this offseason, according to multiple reports, as Mat Latos, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake and Alfredo Simon are all set to hit free agency following the 2015 season.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the trade (Twitter link).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Reds and Jonathan Broxton have reached agreement on a three-year deal, the team confirmed. The contract is worth $21MM, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (Twitter links). The deal will pay Broxton $4MM in 2013, $7MM in 2014 and $9MM in 2015. It also includes a $9MM club option for 2016 with a $1MM buyout. If the Reds trade Broxton, the guarantee increases to $22MM, with the 2016 option becoming a mutual option with a $2MM buyout. The Jet Sports Management client is ranked 45th on MLBTR's list of top 50 free agents.
Broxton is expected to serve as the Reds' closer, enabling them to shift Aroldis Chapman to the starting rotation. The 28-year-old posted a 2.48 ERA with 7.0 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and a 53.8% ground ball rate in 58 relief innings last season. Broxton was limited to just 14 games in 2011 but underwent successful arthroscopic elbow surgery in September of that year and had an average fastball velocity of 94.7 mph this past season.
The Reds were also said to be looking at a pair of free agent relievers coming back from injury in Joakim Soria and Ryan Madson. However, Madson was scooped up earlier today by the Angels when the two sides agreed to a one-year deal.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com first reported the agreement.
The Reds are in serious talks about a three-year deal for free agent reliever Jonathan Broxton, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The deal could cover more than three years, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com suggests (on Twitter).
Broxton, a client of Jet Sports Management, ranked 45th on MLBTR's list of top 50 free agents. The 28-year-old spent the 2012 season pitching for the Royals and Reds. In 58 innings of relief he posted a 2.48 ERA with 7.0 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and a 53.8% ground ball rate. Broxton appeared in just 14 games in 2011, but he underwent arthroscopic elbow surgery in September of 2011 and recovered to post an average fastball velocity of 94.7 mph this past season.
If the Reds agree to a deal with Broxton, it would play a role in shaping the rest of their pitching staff. Moving Aroldis Chapman to the rotation would be easier if Broxton returns. If the Reds don't add a late inning reliever such as Broxton or Ryan Madson, it will be more difficult to replace Chapman's high leverage relief innings. The Reds also had expressed interest in free agent right-hander Joakim Soria, Rosenthal reports.
Reds GM Walt Jocketty spoke to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer about some of the free agent names connected to his club this winter…
- The Reds' first priority is trying to find a leadoff hitter, though Jocketty said that Michael Bourn is too expensive for his club and the same could be true about Angel Pagan. Jocketty said that the team hasn't contacted Pagan yet and "not that we wouldn’t but I wonder about the money.”
- Jocketty confirmed that the Reds have talked to Jonathan Broxton and Ryan Madson about returning to Cincinnati, while the team has also spoke to free agent Joakim Soria. Broxton is the only one of the trio who would be able to pitch on Opening Day, as Madson and Soria are both recovering from Tommy John surgery. The Reds are likely one of the eight contenders who Soria's agent, Oscar Suarez, says has shown interest in his client.
- The Reds talked to Torii Hunter's agent "but the money was too much," Jocketty said. The general manager doubted that Hunter's two-year, $26MM contract with the Tigers would impact Ryan Ludwick's price since "they're different kind(s) of players." The Reds have had "preliminary" talks with Ludwick about a new deal.
- Jocketty told FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi last week that the Reds could deal one of their shortstops (Zack Cozart and Didi Gregorius) if the right deal came along, but Jocketty said that neither player is being shopped. "We’re not taking offers,” Jocketty said. “That gets out and then we have to call Cozart and call Didi.”
- The Reds have no plans to extend Jay Bruce's contract. "We control him for five more years,” Jocketty said. “It’s so far off. It’s something we haven’t talked about.” Matt Sosnick, Bruce's agent, raised the possibility of an extension beyond 2016 for his client earlier today.
In today's Insider-only blog post, ESPN's Buster Olney lists some free agents who are trending upward as the market begins to take shape, including J.P. Howell, Jonathan Broxton, Cody Ross, Jeremy Guthrie, Joe Saunders, Ryan Ludwick, Jason Grilli, Sean Burnett, and Jeff Keppinger. Here are the rest of Olney's rumors…
- There has been substantial interest in Broxton so far, and it appears he could receive one of the largest contracts of the relief market.
- A team in desperate need of rotation help could move aggressively on Guthrie, and Olney wonders if his AL East track record with the Orioles makes him attractive to the Blue Jays.
- Torii Hunter's decision seems to be coming down to a choice between the Rangers and Tigers. Here are today's Hunter rumors.
- The Mariners are ready to pursue a big name free agent, but the stakes are high after the Chone Figgins fiasco. "They know they can't be wrong on the next one," said a source to Olney.
It’s no secret that Reds GM Walt Jocketty intends to upgrade the Cincinnati outfield this offseason. Jocketty addressed his search for outfield help and other Reds-related questions in a conversation with MLBTR at the GM Meetings in Indian Wells, California. Here are the details.
- Jocketty said the Reds hope to re-sign Ryan Ludwick this winter. “We’ve made some progress, but it’ll probably take another week or two before we know where we’re at,” the GM said. “
- Ideally the Reds would like to add a leadoff hitter. Whether the newcomer plays center or left field has yet to be determined.
- The Reds view Aroldis Chapman as a starting pitcher long-term and they could make him a starter in 2013 if they acquire a free agent reliever. “If we re-sign Ryan Madson or [Jonathan] Broxton or someone else it would allow us to move Chapman to the rotation,” Jocketty said. Pitching coach Bryan Price feels strongly that Chapman can become a top of the rotation starter.
- Signing Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips in the spring helped the Reds focus on other needs this offseason, the GM said. “That was important for us to do, for sure.”