We now have a much better picture of what the Reds bullpen will look like in 2013. Jonathan Broxton has signed with the Reds on a $21 million, 3 year contract. It’s incredibly backloaded: the Reds will pay him 4 million in 2013, but that jumps to 7 and 9 million in subsequent years. Like most of Walt’s moves, I find this acceptable, and in fact, I may be a little higher than average on this. It’s an expensive deal for the Reds, but good closers are pricy. Will Broxton be a great closer? Maybe not, but he’s got a better than average chance of being a good one. Broxton’s peripherals do worry me a little bit: walks are alright for a closer – especially the way Dusty uses ‘em, but Broxton’s career K/9 of 11.0 might be misleading -as he hasn’t posted outstanding strikeout rates like that since his injury-riddled 2011.
Let’s be realistic, though. Remember Francisco Cordero? Coco probably had a more solid track record when he signed his much-more-expensive contract with the Reds back in 2008, but he was also 5 years older – which we definitely saw in the second half of that $45mill/4 yr deal.
I guess I’d say it’s an overpay on the value of Broxton, but it’s not an overpay for an above average chance of having a solid closer.
Meanwhile, Ryan Madson has agreed to a one year, 3.5 million deal with the Angels, which could rise to as much as 7 million, if Madson is healthy enough to contribute to the team, coming off of Tommy John surgery. I’ll miss Madson (Oh, straight change, we hardly knew ye) , but I don’t know that the Broxton deal might not be better for us. Given the projections for TJ recovery, Madson’s at least as much of a gamble as Broxton for 2013. Think of it this way: if they both suck, Broxton gets 4 mill, and Madson gets 3.5 mill – almost the same. But if they’re both pretty good – Madson gets 7, and Broxton still gets 4, which means a little more cash to pay for that left fielder we’re hoping for. Sure, a GM with more experience than me probably a has a little better idea of how risky Broxton and Madson are respectively, but I figure there’s decent odds for all outcomes, here.
Do we have internal options that are better for the money? Probably. But the Reds going after an “established” “closer” is just a Tradition at this point – let’s not be surprised about it.
(Then again, if Ryan Madson pitches like RYAN MAAAAADSON in 2013, it’s totally possible that Bob would’ve been happy to find a little more cash in the banana stand.)
I am mildly concerned about the state of the payroll in, say, 2015, but that’s a long way away in baseball terms. n financial terms. that’s Walt’s problem (and Bob’s problem), not mine.
**In unrelated news: Zach Stewart returns to the NL Central after being acquired by the Pirates. Hi, Zach Stewart! Maybe we could Rolen to the Pirates for you.