2013 Reds

Reds reach deal with Broxton: 3 years, $21 million

Ken Rosenthal from FOX Sports is reporting that the Reds have reached a three year agreement with right-handed relief pitcher Jonathan Broxton (28). Add confirmation stories from Mark Sheldon and John Fay, plus the Reds official announcement. There will be a conference call with Broxton and Reds assistant GM Bob Miller at 11 a.m. ET.

Here are the rumored (but not confirmed) terms:

Broxton deal with #Reds is three years, $21M. Also a club option for 2016. Salaries of $4M-$7M-$9M, with $1M buyout on $9M option.

While generally I’m not a fan of long-term closer deals, at least this one isn’t as expensive or long as the four-year, $45 million agreement with CoCo Cordero. The substantial salary front loading is noteworthy. For the first two years, Broxton will earn about half what Cordero did. That’s progress for those of us who hate to see clubs throw money at ninth-inning specialists.

After coming to Cincinnati on August 1, Broxton appeared in 25 regular season games with the Reds. He probably appeared in a few of those games after that, but searing pain prevents my memory from accessing that information. Broxton’s role mostly was pitching the eighth inning, but he also recorded four saves over a stretch where Aroldis Chapman was unavailable.

During his short time with the Reds, Broxton’s K/9 (8.1) was considerably lower than it had been during 2008 (11.5) and 2009 (13.5), his best years as closer for the Dodgers. On the other hand, his control was better (1.2 BB/9 compared to 3.6 over his career). Caveat: that sample size is one of the few times you’ll ever need to say the word ‘small’ when discussing Broxton.

The move clears the way for the Reds to move Aroldis Chapman to the starting rotation if they desire. In this interview with Mark Sheldon, Reds’ General Manager addressed the club’s plans a couple weeks ago:

The specific makeup of the Reds’ 2013 rotation and back end of the bullpen will have one rather large question mark next to it — at least for the time being. Much of the uncertainty will exist until the Reds figure out what to do with Aroldis Chapman.

“We haven’t made a decision on Chapman as a starter or as a reliever,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. “We’re talking about it.”

Part of what determines if Chapman starts involves how well the Reds navigate their way around the free-agent market for closers.

“It depends on if we re-sign [Jonathan] Broxton and [Ryan] Madson,” Jocketty said. “Or if we get another closer.”

Bracketing off the issue of whether Aroldis Chapman could/would/should move to the starting rotation, what do you think of the Broxton signing on its own? Broxton joins Sean Marshall, Nick Masset and Jose Arredondo as bullpen pitchers already under contract for 2013. J.J. Hoover returns under team control for league minimum. The Reds have pending arbitration decisions this week on Sam LeCure, Alfredo Simon and Logan Ondrusek. The club has already parted ways for now with Bill Bray.

70 thoughts on “Reds reach deal with Broxton: 3 years, $21 million

  1. I like this deal. It’s not as expensive as I thought it would be.

    I like the payment structure, but the $9 million will be hard to swallow when it comes.

    At the minimum, we have a solid 8-9 (Marshall, Broxton) end of the bullpen.

    • I like this deal. It’s not as expensive as I thought it would be.

      I like the payment structure, but the $9 million will be hard to swallow when it comes.

      At the minimum, we have a solid 8-9 (Marshall, Broxton) end of the bullpen.

      rfay00: Right on. Sometimes the very first comment really says it all.

  2. I agree. I think that Broxton will be solid and the deal works for us.
    I also like that the Reds have gone into the last two offseasons with a plan. We said we wanted to do something at closer and we did.
    It still worries me that we are have the Chapman debate. I am not sure one way or the other but it scares me that the Reds aren’t either still.
    But… Lets get a lead off hitter/center fielder and get to spring training!!!!

  3. Not a big fan of paying big money for a ‘closer.’ This bullpen has enough good arms to go to closer-by-committee and still move Chapman to the rotation. That was money that could have been spent elsewhere to upgrade the centerfield and leadoff positions through a combination of free agency and trades. Oh well, I guess it will take more time for baseball brass to be convinced that the notion of a set closer (and giving them big contracts) is nonsense.

    • Regarding the “anyone with a good arm can close” thesis, John Fay points out that last year Chapman was 38-for-43 in save opportunities. In 2011, CoCo Cordero was 37-for-43.

      Steve M.: Come on, Steve, that’s the same argument used by naive fans who say that Cordero was as good as Chapman. And I don’t buy this as evidence that anyone with a good arm can close. First a picky point: one of Chapman’s blown saves was as a set up man (an unearned run against the Mets), it’s not fair to count that because as a set up man he had no chance to get a save and none of his (fabulous) success in that role is taken into account.

      Saves per opportunities is often criticized as a measure of a closer’s effectiveness. Cordero and Chapman were not put in the same save situations. But more to the point, Cordero’s 2011 peripherals indicated that he would not have success as a closer (or anything else) in 2012, Chapman’s peripherals indicate that he would be dominating as a closer in 2013 (not that I want him to do that).

      The “anyone can close” theory does not pay sufficient attention to “difficult saves”, closing out against good hitters with a small lead in an important game. Maybe that only happens about 5-10 times in a season, but those 5-10 games can decide a division championship. Forget about the average pitcher, we’ve seen established closers like Armando Benitez who can’t close out games like that. Ask Met fans about Benitez, Braden Loooper, Frank Francisco, and even Billy Wagner, who would overthrow in big games. And every postseason game is a big game.

      It’s just common sense. The Reds lead the Cards by a run or 2 in the 9th. Who do you want closing, Chapman or Average Joe ? You can say what you like, but your pulse rate and mine would be a lot higher with Average Joe out there. (Once again, I don’t want Chapman to close anymore, that’s not the point.)

      Sorry if I misconstrued your meaning, but wanted to make this point anyway.

  4. I am underwhelmed. At best it’s a slightly better version of CoCo for slightly less money and Dusty proofs Chapman’s development once and for all. At worst he blows a bunch of games while Dusty stubbornly sticks with him, forcing Chapman back to the closer role since Sean Marshall is apparently kryptonite.

    I think we could have better spent that kind of money on any other priority over closer.

    • At best it’s a slightly better version of CoCo for slightly less money and Dusty proofs Chapman’s development once and for all.

      I’d bet Dusty has some “people” working on advanced nanobots to get into Broxton’s shoulder and cause what will look like organic muscle damage before March. Dusty will not go quietly into the night with Chapman out of the closer role. :D

      • I’d bet Dusty has some “people” working on advanced nanobots to get into Broxton’s shoulder and cause what will look like organic muscle damage before March. Dusty will not go quietly into the night with Chapman out of the closer role.

        LMAO!

  5. I don’t like it. Too much money for a role that Hoover or Cingrani or Soria (on a one year deal) could’ve done without committing to such a long deal. Way too much to pay for 70 innings of work from a guy who might just eat his way out of the game. If this was our lone big offseason splash with what little money we have, then I’m peeved even more. Let’s face it, thinking creatively is not a strong suit of this organization.

    • Let’s face it, thinking creatively is not a strong suit of this organization.

      @Sultan of Swaff: I strongly disagree with you (thinking Chapman signing, Simon grab, Valdez trade… errr, wait. Stratch that one.) Thinking creatively is not Dusty’s strong suit.

  6. 3/21 is too long and too much for a non-elite reliever, but in reality this is a 2/12 deal. which i wouldn’t have done, but if it forces chapman into the rotation it should be OK. broxton was essentially worth $7.5-8 last year and should be worth his contract, but the key to spending wisely in the bullpen is to get a lot more than dollar-for-dollar value.

  7. Ugh. That $1M buy-out is the key. Without it, this would be a horrible deal. With it, it’s stomach-able and perhaps even a decent one. Smart (non-rich) teams are realizing that closers are way overvalued on the open market. The Reds continue to show they are a step or two behind the smart teams.

  8. Interesting–some other reports don’t show this as potentially a 2/12 deal but rather a 3/21 deal with potential for being 4/22 or 4/30.

  9. Ok..I misread the first thing I read and thought it said the buyout was for 2015. It’s for 2016 and this is a 3/21 deal. Well…then, I think this is a bad deal. Too much money for a good, but not special, closer. I like that it portends Chapman to the rotation (and perhaps it’s worth it for that alone). But, generally, this is too much money.

  10. In my opinion, Walt has pulled another rabbit out of his hat. For 4M this year, this is a steal. Also, by the time the 9M kicks in, the Reds are on the new TV contract (remember, televised Reds games are among the highest rated in all of baseball). Though the new contract will not be in the same ballpark as the Dodgers’, it will provide much needed flexibility moving forward.

    So, what do the Reds get with Broxton? . . . His average velocity was nearly 95 mph, and this was only one year following elbow surgery. Given that he is only 28, his velocity could conceivably increase a bit this year. His control has improved considerably as well. I believe the Broxton signing could be looked back upon as a coup for the Reds.

    More importantly, however, it moves Chapman to the rotation. As Steve Mancuso and John Fay have pointed out, there may not actually be too much of a dropoff between Chapman and Broxton if one uses blown saves as a measure. After all, though Chapman is a force of nature when he is on, he is seemingly just as prone to blowing saves as many other closers. It is also entirely possible that Broxton’s durability (if he does prove as durable as last year) could mean fewer blown saves than we saw with Chapman. Do you remember how stretched the bullpen was when Chapman was on the shelf (but still on the active roster) several times last year?

    So, kudos to Walt. Also, I do not think for one minute that he is finished. Something may go down next week. Or, he may wait until after the end of the year. However, Uncle Walt is going to come through again.

  11. I think bringing a guy like Broxton on for a couple years gives you certainty. I can’t stand relying on relievers that are inconsistent…it just makes the game more frustrating to watch. I get ticked when I see a good start coughed up. This signing gives more flexibility to the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings. Does it guarantee Chapman goes to the rotation? No… but it makes it at least possible. It makes a lot of things possible.

  12. Drew Mac makes some good points. I’m not swayed yet but good points.

    rewquiop–if the Reds pay Broxton this money to be a 6,7,8th inning guy, then that is dumb. In other words, this can only turn out to be good thing if it does indeed mean Chapman is heading to the rotation.

    • @Drew Mac: Back laden contracts are great, aren’t they? They mean that if the GM gets fired for the team being a disaster his successor is left with the mess. No need to worry about Broxton for another year. At $4m in 2013 he’s a bargain, and that’s all people will care about. It means he’s harder to trade away if he struggles.

      I’m curious about Broxton’s weight – the Reds pitchers seem to do more running as a group and training than other teams and I wonder if that will have a positive effect on Broxton during the spring and over a full season. I don’t mean that he’s too out of shape or overweight to play well but I wonder if weight loss would make him more or less effective.

      I think bringing a guy like Broxton on for a couple years gives you certainty.I can’t stand relying on relievers that are inconsistent…it just makes the game more frustrating to watch.I get ticked when I see a good start coughed up.This signing gives more flexibility to the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings.Does it guarantee Chapman goes to the rotation? No… but it makes it at least possible.It makes a lot of things possible.

      I’m not convinced that Broxton provides certainty or consistency. He lost the closer job in 2010 and struggled with injuries in 2011. He’s not a lock down closer and he’ll face the same criticism as Francisco Cordero if he returns to that role. As long as Chapman is with the Reds Broxton better be studying Chapman’s performance for fear that Chapman will return to the closing role because Chapman is flat out better. Other fans look at JJ Hoover or Tony Cingrani as a future closer. I think Broxton provides a legitimate option to close and an opportunity to retain the best bullpen in MLB, but there’s a lot of uncertainty with a lot of things.

      rewquiop–if the Reds pay Broxton this money to be a 6,7,8th inning guy, then that is dumb. In other words, this can only turn out to be good thing if it does indeed mean Chapman is heading to the rotation.

      Same argument was made about Sean Marshall last year. If Marshall wasn’t the closer his contract was flat out dumb. It turned out that Marshall was a dominant setupman and was important to the Reds’ success, and I doubt they regret Marshall’s deal.

      • @Drew Mac: Back laden contracts are great, aren’t they?They mean that if the GM gets fired for the team being a disaster his successor is left with the mess.No need to worry about Broxton for another year.At $4m in 2013 he’s a bargain, and that’s all people will care about.It means he’s harder to trade away if he struggles.

        I’m curious about Broxton’s weight – the Reds pitchers seem to do more running as a group and training than other teams and I wonder if that will have a positive effect on Broxton during the spring and over a full season.I don’t mean that he’s too out of shape or overweight to play well but I wonder if weight loss would make him more or less effective.

        Back laden contract can be problematic. However, they can be very sensible if one anticipates revenues in the future that aren’t present today. Also, I believe that Reds have been very shrewd in general in this regard. They seem to have made a calculated gamble that we are about to witness another explosion in salaries due to huge television contract. This may well be why they locked up Cueto, Bruce, BP, and Votto. It may also be why they seek to lock up Latos and (perhaps) Bailey sometime in the near future as well In my mind, these are the kinds of gambles that small market teams will have to make to remain competitive.

        I do have to say that I agree wholeheartedly with you concerning Broxton’s weight. Perhaps the staff will get Broxton on a training regimine that ensures that he will not have any back or other health problems associated with weight.

        • I can’t get over that Walt said “Broxton AND Madson.” To me, that means more than one guy in the back end with a chance to close. Maybe they go after another guy, but how much freaking money can you commit to the pen? Unless Soria signs a one or two year deal for peanuts to get his value back up, or the Red Sox trade Bailey and swallow some serious dough, I’m not yet convinced this means Chapman to the rotation. But maybe I’m wrong.

          As I’ve said several times, Soria won’t be ready to pitch until May. I expect he’ll get a cheap incentive-laden one year deal as he attempts to rebuild his career following Tommy John surgery. I’m interested in finding how much Ryan Madson earns for 2013, he should be ready for opening day and is likely to earn slightly more as a result. I think Soria is still a possibility for the Reds for $1-2m plus incentives, but we’ll see.

          Wish it was pitching, on base percentage, and defense.

          Can’t have it all. I still remember Adam Dunn, he had a .370 career OBP but many fans didn’t care about OBP and ignored what he did well. Jeff Keppinger isn’t likely to return to the Reds because they can’t afford paying that much for a utility player.

          I haven’t read all the other posts yet, but I have a question…. Is Marshall now the only left handed relief pitcher?Horst… gone.Bray…. gone.Chapman…. moved to the rotation.

          My other comment is this………. WHOO-WHO!And you get Masset is back!Broxton as closer is great.He’ll get the job done.And it leaves your two best pitchers (Marshall and Masset) to mop up the high leverage innings.

          Yep, Marshall and Chapman are currently the only lefties assured of spots on the pitching staff. Jose Arredondo is a righty who is much better against left handed batters.

          Horst, I don’t think he ever played a role with the Reds. Bray, I believe he is a free agent but it’s premature to say that he’s gone. He could still sign a minor league contract with the Reds. Bray spent a long time in the Reds organization and has served as the team’s representative to the players union… and might want to return. Technically Tony Cingrani is a lefty – I think he’ll remain in the rotation but a switch to the bullpen isn’t impossible.

          @Sultan of Swaff: I strongly disagree with you (thinking Chapman signing, Simon grab, Valdez trade… errr, wait. Stratch that one.)Thinking creatively is not Dusty’s strong suit.

          I think it’s hard to be creative when not given any good options for key roles, like leadoff, and that’s been Dusty’s big weakness. I thought returning Chapman to the bullpen after Madson was injured rather than blindly holding the course of converting Chapman to the rotation demonstrated some sort of creative thinking.

          I will take every opportunity to bash Dusty that I can find now, by the way.He has it coming as far as I’m concerned.I supported him on this blog since day one.That all ended in October.No, my friends, I have not forgotten.Nor will I.Dusty is dead to me.

          Like, Dusty died to you when Cueto strained his back in the first playoff game?

          I do have to say that I agree wholeheartedly with you concerning Broxton’s weight.Perhaps the staff will get Broxton on a training regimine that ensures that he will not have any back or other health problems associated with weight.

          I mean I was under the impression that several Reds pitchers started trying to pick up Bronson Arroyo’s training routine which constantly keeps him healthy – I don’t believe 161 games pitched by 5 starting pitchers was entirely Bryan Price’s doing, but a sign of better conditioning and training. That said, I’m not sure if Broxton’s size and weight helps his velocity by generating momentum to the plate… or what. Would losing weight and rotting away make him more effective or less?

          I’m under the impression that Broxton has previously suffered elbow problems rather than issues related to his weight. He memorably showed in his first game with the Reds that he is very mobile and has very good reflexes. I’m not particularly worried about his weight causing injury issues.

          One other thing to consider – Chapman’s role in 2012 was decided by surprise injuries in spring training. I think we’ll have to wait until spring training to find his role again. If Cueto or Latos gets seriously injured Chapman will enter the rotation, no question about it. If Broxton or Marshall get injured it could send him back to the bullpen. Right now there is uncertainty but fate/chance can once again provide Dusty Baker with ONE obvious solution during the spring like it did last season.

  13. Interesting. Back laden deal paying $4m, $7m, and $9m, making it tough to trade, while coming out to an average of $7m/year. I guess he did sacrifice some of his ‘big closer money’ in exchange for a guaranteed contract, as I expected he would. I suppose I like it. The Reds have the choice to retain the best bullpen in baseball if they don’t do anything silly (like convert Chapman).

    Sultan mentioned Joakim Soria. Soria is expected to be out until May recovering from Tommy John surgery and isn’t a candidate to close in April. I think Cingrani has pitched too well out of the rotation to be removed from that role now, and the jury is still out on JJ Hoover. Sultan says that thinking creatively isn’t a strong suite of this organization – I think in recent years that pulling off surprising, albeit sometimes unpopular moves (trading all those hitters for that questionable tattooed guy Latos, acquiring Marshall, trading those prospects for 300lb Broxton, who the heck is JJ Hoover and why’d they give up a hitter for him?, Reds don’t need a washed up bum like Alfredo Simon) that have eventually improved the pitching staff. I think the Reds know what they’re doing, and even if the fans don’t like what they see they’re usually happy with the results.

    I think it’s important to recognize that this is a step towards moving Chapman to the rotation but it definitely doesn’t guarantee that Chapman is switching roles. We saw what happened last year to Ryan Madson. Nobody knows how Chapman would perform in the rotation (if he does stay healthy), and Broxton has lost closing jobs elsewhere in the past.

  14. Signing Marshall and signing Broxton are not the same thing for at least two reasons. One, Marshall is better than Broxton. Two, having one high-priced 6/7/8 guy on a team with the Reds’ budget can be justified. Not two.

    (Plus–I agree that paying Marshall what the Reds pay him to be a quasi-situational reliever is, indeed, dumb. But two wrongs don’t make a right.)

    • Signing Marshall and signing Broxton are not the same thing for at least two reasons. One, Marshall is better than Broxton. Two, having one high-priced 6/7/8 guy on a team with the Reds’ budget can be justified. Not two.

      (Plus–I agree that paying Marshall what the Reds pay him to be a quasi-situational reliever is, indeed, dumb. But two wrongs don’t make a right.)

      Two wrongs don’t make a right but any ‘wrong’ move that goes well should make you willing to reevaluate :D

      The Reds prioritize pitching, speed, and defense. If they want to spend their money on those things, fine. Attendance is likely to go up again next year as more fair weather fans buy tickets to see a winning team, and the pitching staff is a big part of that success.

      • The Reds prioritize pitching, speed, and defense. If they want to spend their money on those things, fine.

        Wish it was pitching, on base percentage, and defense.

  15. I’m game, as long as it means Chapman is in the rotation. For if not, 1/4 of our payroll will be reserved for 3 set-up/closers with Chapman, Broxton & Marshall. Please Reds, do not let it come to that.

  16. I can’t get over that Walt said “Broxton AND Madson.” To me, that means more than one guy in the back end with a chance to close. Maybe they go after another guy, but how much freaking money can you commit to the pen? Unless Soria signs a one or two year deal for peanuts to get his value back up, or the Red Sox trade Bailey and swallow some serious dough, I’m not yet convinced this means Chapman to the rotation. But maybe I’m wrong.

  17. I haven’t read all the other posts yet, but I have a question…. Is Marshall now the only left handed relief pitcher? Horst… gone. Bray…. gone. Chapman…. moved to the rotation.

    My other comment is this………. WHOO-WHO! And you get Masset is back! Broxton as closer is great. He’ll get the job done. And it leaves your two best pitchers (Marshall and Masset) to mop up the high leverage innings.

    • I haven’t read all the other posts yet, but I have a question…. Is Marshall now the only left handed relief pitcher? Horst… gone. Bray…. gone. Chapman…. moved to the rotation.

      Yes. I think the Reds will sign another LH relief pitcher.

  18. I will take every opportunity to bash Dusty that I can find now, by the way. He has it coming as far as I’m concerned. I supported him on this blog since day one. That all ended in October. No, my friends, I have not forgotten. Nor will I. Dusty is dead to me.

  19. Sorry but I still don’t buy that Chapman will be a starter. I still say come opening day he is in the bullpen closing. Nothing has changed in who is running this team to make him a starter happen.

  20. @Drew Mac: Possible. But probably too early to take him out of the starter role, even for a year. Especially if they look to trade Mike Leake for an OF, they will want Redmond and Cingrani as the starting pitcher depth. So Cingrani could eventually play a role in the pen if all the starters are healthy and they can’t find one out there to sign. But my guess is they will find someone relatively cheap to sign. Sean Burnett or J.P. Howell are both top-flight LH relievers who are unrestricted free agents, although they might be too expensive.

  21. @Steve Mancuso: I was thinking they may do something like what the Cardinals are doing with Rosenthal. However, I do agree that he will probably be better off, long term, starting in AAA.

    • I think this move was probably set in motion the day that Dusty signed the extension.The number one job for Jocketty from that moment forward has been to find ways to Dusty-proof the roster.Without an established closer, then there’s just no way that Dusty would move Chappy to the rotation.

      I would also make this same argument for why Rolen won’t be offered a contract even though he would be amazing in the Miguel Cairo role for the 2013 team.If Rolen is on the roster then Frazier will have to “wait his turn” in Dusty-world.

      I think adding a potential closer was a priority whether Dusty signed an extension or died of a stroke. I don’t believe they extended the manager with the expectation that he’d run the team into the ground unless they took special precautions. The front office is responsible for acquiring players but the manager is responsible for using them in the best way.

      @Steve Mancuso: I was thinking they may do something like what the Cardinals are doing with Rosenthal.However, I do agree that he will probably be better off, long term, starting in AAA.

      I think Tony Cingrani will stay in the AAA rotation until there is an opening in the Reds’ rotation. When he was first drafted there were questions about his future, whether he’d be a starter or reliever, but he’s dominated everywhere he’s been and given no reason to question that decision to leave him in a rotation. They have been determined to keep former top prospect Homer Bailey in the rotation (he never gets bumped to the bullpen regardless what happens) and I think they’ll have the same sort of dedication to Cingrani’s development as a starter. I’d like to say that they wouldn’t rush Cingrani like they did Bailey… but Cingrani has rushed himself through the system by pitching so darn well.

      After the Reds over the past year picked up Alfredo Simon off waivers, surprised everybody by acquiring JJ Hoover (who?) in a trade, and surprised everybody with the initial acquisitions of Ryan Madson, Sean Marshall, and Broxton… I think the Reds can come up with a capable lefty specialist. If it means picking up a washed up guy off the scrap heap, fine. I think the Reds’ front office can pull off something, even if it’s not a big name.

      • I think adding a potential closer was a priority whether Dusty signed an extension or died of a stroke.I don’t believe they extended the manager with the expectation that he’d run the team into the ground unless they took special precautions.The front office is responsible for acquiring players but the manager is responsible for using them in the best way.

        I think they extended the manager knowing full-well his strengths and weaknesses. His core strength is in creating a positive clubhouse atmosphere that allows players to thrive. His weakness are known as well and include a certain bull headed approach on using players according to his notions. I think it is absolutely the job of the GM to help maximize the strengths and minimize the weaknesses of the the field manager.

  22. I think this move was probably set in motion the day that Dusty signed the extension. The number one job for Jocketty from that moment forward has been to find ways to Dusty-proof the roster. Without an established closer, then there’s just no way that Dusty would move Chappy to the rotation.

    I would also make this same argument for why Rolen won’t be offered a contract even though he would be amazing in the Miguel Cairo role for the 2013 team. If Rolen is on the roster then Frazier will have to “wait his turn” in Dusty-world.

  23. @RedManifesto: no offense….but when did $13 million equal a quarter of the Reds payroll?…4.7 to chappy (salary plus bonus payment), 4.5 to marshall, and 4 to broxton? assuming a $90 million dollar payroll, 12% of the roster is using about 15% of the payroll…..not too bad if you look at it that way, whether chappy starts or comes out of the ‘pen

    • @RedManifesto: no offense….but when did $13 million equal a quarter of the Reds payroll?…4.7 to chappy (salary plus bonus payment), 4.5 to marshall, and 4 to broxton?assuming a $90 million dollar payroll, 12% of the roster is using about 15% of the payroll…..not too bad if you look at it that way, whether chappy starts or comes out of the ‘pen

      The Reds could have signed Josh Hamilton or Michael Bourn but instead they have a bullpen. Gosh darnit! Some people like paying for hitters but disapprove of paying for pitchers.

  24. I think they offer Rolen a contract…I’m just worried he’ll be insulted by the offer. What I meant by certainty earlier in regards to Broxton is it strengthens the competition for other relievers in earlier innings…might even be enough extra to piece together a trade or having a solid starter in Triple A in Leake should Chapman start. Barring injury madson meltdown…it gives you choices this offseason.

    • I think they offer Rolen a contract…I’m just worried he’ll be insulted by the offer.What I meant by certainty earlier in regards to Broxton is it strengthens the competition for other relievers in earlier innings…might even be enough extra to piece together a trade or having a solid starter in Triple A in Leake should Chapman start.Barring injury madson meltdown…it gives you choices this offseason.

      There’s rarely (credible) news about who the Cincinnati Reds are talking to, let alone what they’re offering. MAYBE (just maybe) they’ll offer Rolen a cheap and incentive laden one year deal, take it or leave it, but I’m sure they won’t do anything to make him feel insulted (like go to reporters saying that they’ll pay him the MLB minimum to sit on the bench, because that’s all they think he’s good for).

      I agree that Broxton strengthens competition amongst other relievers and makes the whole bullpen stronger, I just think some people are overly optimistic about this settling all questions about the closer role.

      IF Chapman enters the rotation I fully expect Mike Leake to be traded away for a hitter. I think that would be a bad decision overall, but they don’t have room for both Chapman and Leake in the rotation and Leake has nothing to prove in AAA.

      Mark Sheldon just posted a pretty persuasive argument for not trading Leake. An interesting short read.

      Good article. I expect the Reds will wait until spring training before making a final decision to trade away Mike Leake. Chapman’s role was determined last spring by injuries to others rather than his own performance. If Cueto or Latos are seriously injured in March the Reds will need Chapman and Leake in the rotation. If Broxton and Marshall are injured (who expected that from Masset and Madson?) returning Chapman to the bullpen and keeping Leake may be obvious.

  25. In a vacuum it’s a silly contract (giving an relieve pitcher this much money, for this many years is usually a bad idea because relief pitchers can be so volatile from season to season). However, if this is the cost of at least attempting to make Chapman I starter, I can live with it. Also it’s not so much money that it will cripple us if it doesn’t work out. If he can stay healthy and Chapman is effective as a starter – even though I don’t think he could come close to meeting the value of the contract and we have several solid internal options – it probably won’t end up being that bad of a deal for the reds.

    Also the people pointing out that this move in essence Dusty-proofs the lineup are on to something I’d say. Although the notion that a team would have to protect it’s roster from it’s own manager is kind of insane, but a discussion for another day I suppose.

  26. @Steve Mancuso: Sheldon’s argument to me wasn’t that persuasive. I mean, of course you need pitching depth, but the calculation should be– which of the 3 odd men out (Cingrani, Corcino, Leake) do you want in the rotation if someone goes down? For me, Leake comes in second behind Cingrani.

    You also have to consider that we’re in win now mode, so I think you have to keep one of those 3 and offer up the other 2 to acquire the one thing we don’t have in the system at any level–a high upside/cost controlled corner OF….a high stakes quality-for-quality trade like the Latos deal last year. To that end, I’d seriously look at what it would take to acquire a guy like Wil Myers from KC (can’t believe they’re dumb enough to float him) or Eaton from Arizona. As a small market club, I don’t think trading for a pending free agent makes sense from a payroll standpoint or toward building a team that sustains success.

    • @Steve Mancuso: Sheldon’s argument to me wasn’t that persuasive.I mean, of course you need pitching depth, but the calculation should be– which of the 3 odd men out (Cingrani, Corcino, Leake) do you want in the rotation if someone goes down?For me, Leake comes in second behind Cingrani.

      You also have to consider that we’re in win now mode, so I think you have to keep one of those 3 and offer up the other 2 to acquire the one thing we don’t have in the system at any level–a high upside/cost controlled corner OF….a high stakes quality-for-quality trade like the Latos deal last year.To that end, I’d seriously look at what it would take to acquire a guy like Wil Myers from KC (can’t believe they’re dumb enough to float him) or Eaton from Arizona.As a small market club, I don’t think trading for a pending free agent makes sense from a payroll standpoint or toward building a team that sustains success.

      For me Leake comes in ahead of Tony Cingrani until Cingrani gets some more time in the minors – Cingrani has 15 starts in AA and none in AAA. Maybe Cingrani will take Leake’s spot on the depth chart pretty quickly but comeon, 89.1 innings in AA (and 3 relief appearances with the Reds) is all he’s done. Daniel Corcino at least spent a full season in AA. Cinigrani and Corcino should make an interesting 1-2 punch worth watching in Louisville in April.

      I definitely don’t want them to acquire Wil Myers. They need a leadoff hitter with good OBP, not a big strikeout power guy. Adam Eaton, the left handed OBP machine and base stealer is a much better fit for the Reds’ needs, even if his skills overlap with Billy Hamilton’s. I think Eaton would be a great pickup.

      To me trading for a pending free agent makes sense for a team trying to fill a void until Billy Hamilton is ready. I’ve been mentioning David DeJesus of the Cubs as an option all along, if the Cubs are willing to trade him. Dusty-proofing the roster by providing a veteran leadoff hitter, lefthanded bat, a guy who gets on base, and a good defensive player who can play LF or CF. I believe that the key to Dusty-proofing is to acquire somebody capable of filling one (and only one) role better than any of the other candidates, which DeJesus does as a leadoff hitter. Unlike Brandon Phillips David DeJesus is is not also a #2 or #4 hitter. Unlike Cozart and Stubbs he’s not also a 7 or 8 hitter. As a lefty he won’t hit just before, between, or after Votto and Bruce. He’s a leadoff hitter.

  27. @Sultan of Swaff: Redman was their insurance/injury guy and Sheldon should not ignore his re-signing to the big league roster. It is he who provides depth with the two prospects, Corcino and Cingrani.

    Leake then becomes a very important trade chip. Leake and a good prospect (not a great one) like Didi could go a long way toward landing a leadoff hitter like Span.

  28. Chone Figgins was just released by Seattle. How about Figgins for Cairo’s spot? . . . He would take league minimum (if he wants to play) because the Mariners are on the hook for next years salary.

    • @Sultan of Swaff: Redman was their insurance/injury guy and Sheldon should not ignore his re-signing to the big league roster.It is he who provides depth with the two prospects, Corcino and Cingrani.

      Leake then becomes a very important trade chip.Leake and a good prospect (not a great one) like Didi could go a long way toward landing a leadoff hitter like Span.

      Todd Redmond wasn’t mentioned in the article because he’s not a factor in the Reds rotation. Like when Sam LeCure was in a similar role as an insurance guy, he was around and available but not expected to have a spot. To me Redmond looks like trade bait, nothing more.

      Chone Figgins was just released by Seattle.How about Figgins for Cairo’s spot? . . . He would take league minimum (if he wants to play) because the Mariners are on the hook for next years salary.

      Chone Figgins has been absolutely horrible in his past two seasons with the Mariners but he had some great offensive seasons before that with the Angels (and a decent first season with the Mariners). You might be kidding about getting him for Cairo’s job but I think it would be a good low risk, high reward pickup. A switch hitter who (in his prime) hit better left handed. Maybe he can be next year’s version of Dioner Navarro – not a catcher but a veteran switch hitter who starts hitting again after hitting under .200 two years in a row. He’s a gamble that I think deserves a free agent contract.

  29. I like this, at least for 2013. Beyond that who knows, but if Broxton stays healthy he has value. In any case one could see this coming when the Reds traded 2 prospects for Broxton. Almost all of us want Chapman in the starting rotation. The reality is the Reds were not going to move Chapman without a proven closer or a young guy with a great arm (who would cost more in terms of a trade). (See above for my opinion of “anyone with a good arm can close”). Soria is coming back from TJ surgey, not clear when he can close again, if ever.

    As for the price tag and length, middle relievers are getting money and years close to this.

  30. @redsfanman: Sorry, I mis-read the 9 million as the 1st year salary for Broxton (instead of the 3rd year) which put my numbers around 20mil. I do agree with spending money on pitchers. My only point was that since they spent the money, I’m still leery that they actually move Chapman to the rotation this year. I hope I’m proven wrong.

  31. I can definitely see Cingrani in the bullpen next year, not as a 1-batter situational reliever, but kind of in a Sam LeCure role. I mean the occasional 1 hitter situation will happen from time to time, but I don’t think that will be his main role.

    Many young starters – for example, look at all the young guys that STL has in their bullpen and they’re all being groomed as starters to replace Lohse(FA gone) and Carpenter(always hurt and fairly long in the tooth). ALso, Garcia is coming off injuries also.

    All this meaning that Cingrani can certainly be in the pen for a year and then probably replace Arroyo in the rotation when his contract is up after next year. If Bray comes in cheap and ultimately proves himself healthy, you can have Cingrani and Corcino in Louisville when we need an extra starter – like when Chapman need to miss a start to limit his innings.

    Lastly, I agree that Figgins could be a good low-price option.

    • Lastly, I agree that Figgins could be a good low-price option.

      On the other hand, although I think Chone Figgins is a good low-price option he could very well be the successor to Willie Harris, Willie Taveras, and Corey Patterson. Somebody whose whole presence on the roster is blamed upon the manager. Somehow there might have been some conspiracy to get that .180 hitter a roster spot. No team would be so foolish. That kind of nonsense, all season unless he hits reallllly well. Criticism of washed up Ryan Ludwick and waiver acquisition Alfredo Simon took a while to disappear in 2012… but I believe the Reds’ fan base would be even more critical of Chone Figgins and even more determined to see him fail. Something to consider, about what the PR department has to worry about if Chone Figgins makes the team.

  32. I’m surprised by the amount of negative reaction to this signing.

    I think people take this “don’t pay for a closer” thing a little too far. Salaries are up all over the league, and $7mil is hardly a kings ransom for a proven reliever.

    Broxton is 28, has great stuff and an excellent groudball rate. The Reds have a higher payroll and are paying significantly less for their closer than they were a few years back. This seems like great progress to me.

    And that’s without getting into the Chapman angle, which is definitely a good sign.

  33. The Reds definitely have the depth to make a trade for a hitter, the question is will there be a trade available to them.

    Leake, Redmond, Corcino, and Cingrani can all fill the 5th starter role is there is an injury. I think moving one or two of them won’t hurt the Reds too badly next year. But, what can you get for them?

    Other teams are going to see them the same way we do, which is that they are back of the rotation starters with some upside. I’m not sure the Reds have the trade chips to bring in a young impact bat.

    • The Reds definitely have the depth to make a trade for a hitter, the question is will there be a trade available to them.

      Leake, Redmond, Corcino, and Cingrani can all fill the 5th starter role is there is an injury. I think moving one or two of them won’t hurt the Reds too badly next year.But, what can you get for them?

      Other teams are going to see them the same way we do, which is that they are back of the rotation starters with some upside. I’m not sure the Reds have the trade chips to bring in a young impact bat.

      Redmond was acquired in exchange for a utility player in Paul Janish and I think he can now be traded for a better utility player. And you know what, the Reds are probably looking for a utility infielder.

      Mike Leake, he won’t bring somebody like (mentioned above) Wil Myers or Adam Eaton straight up in a deal but he should be appealing to a team looking for an affordable young inning eater. Unlike many young pitchers there are few concerns about his ability to adjust to the majors or stay healthy. Leake doesn’t face concerns like those we heard about for so long with Edinson Volquez and Homer Bailey about taking the ‘next step’ to become a major league pitcher. He doesn’t have the bad attitude we heard about originally with Mat Latos. He doesn’t have Volquez, Bailey, or Cueto’s history of injuries. In Mike Leake teams should know that they’re getting a legitimate major league starting pitcher with a long career ahead of him.

      I’m hoping that Didi Gregorius gets traded in a package, and the sooner the better. I think his value has peaked and (since he’s blocked) he has no future with the Reds.

  34. @pinson343: You can use “percent successful save opportunities” (like ERA) as an after the fact description to say that Chapman in 2012 and Cordero in 2011 were roughly equally successful in their seasons. However, it does not predict subsequent seasons. Peripherals, both simple and advanced, are much better indicators of that.

    But that proves my broader point. That pitchers with good peripherals can be closers, almost regardless of their former experience in that role. Show me a pitcher with a good K/9 and good K/BB and I’ll show you someone who could do a pretty good job of closing.

    It doesn’t have to be Aroldis Chapman.

  35. @redsfanman: I’m dead serious about Figgins. He is a switch hitter who can play the corners and OF. He can also steal a base. Sign him for minimum and cut him loose if he stinks. This would, of course, be Walt’s call. If he doesn’t work out, no big deal.

    • @redsfanman: I’m dead serious about Figgins.He is a switch hitter who can play the corners and OF.He can also steal a base.Sign him for minimum and cut him loose if he stinks.This would, of course, be Walt’s call.If he doesn’t work out, no big deal.

      It’d be Walt Jocketty’s call to sign him but Dusty Baker would be blamed by the fans if he stinks. It’s been true since they both came to the Reds. There’s already a lot above in this discussion about how when fans get what they want (particularly Chapman starting) it’s because Walt Jocketty did a good job but when they don’t like what happened (Chapman closing) it’s Dusty’s fault.

  36. @redsfanman: i agree that mike leake seems like a good guy and is reliable. but he’s still an average to below average pitcher, and that just isn’t worth that much.

    consider: reports are that the royals are considering trading myers for either jon lester or james shields. mike leake doesn’t belong in that conversation.

    the only real chip the reds have right now, a guy who could be the centerpiece of a deal for a young impact bat, is billy hamilton.

    the reds seem pretty committed to keeping hamilton, so i don’t see them pulling off anything major.

    i like the idea of a guy like dejesus, and he’s a guy that you could possibly get for leake and gregorious or a similar package.

    • @redsfanman: i agree that mike leake seems like a good guy and is reliable. but he’s still an average to below average pitcher, and that just isn’t worth that much.

      consider: reports are that the royals are considering trading myers for either jon lester or james shields. mike leake doesn’t belong in that conversation.

      the only real chip the reds have right now, a guy who could be the centerpiece of a deal for a young impact bat, is billy hamilton.

      the reds seem pretty committed to keeping hamilton, so i don’t see them pulling off anything major.

      i like the idea of a guy like dejesus, and he’s a guy that you could possibly get for leake and gregorious or a similar package.

      Yeah, I said Mike Leake wouldn’t bring somebody like Myers straight up in a deal (and I doubt the Reds can offer a package of prospects worth Wil Myers, at this point). Also Wil Myers isn’t the type of hitter the Reds need at this point.

      On the other hand look at the Minnesota Twins – they desperately need starting pitching and could use a shortstop. They have Ben Revere and Denard Span, either of whom would be a leadoff improvement for the Reds while (in my opinion) having lower trade values than Mike Leake. Both are good defensive players and lefthanded batters who can ‘Dusty-proof’ the lineup by providing a leadoff hitter. Also Josh Willingham could be a target if the Reds are determined to replace Ludwick. Maybe Leake, Didi Gregorius, and others (Stubbs, Redmond, other less important prospects) for Revere and Josh Willingham. Well, those are my thoughts on the matter – the Reds and Twins make logical trade partners.

      David DeJesus is entering the final year of his contract and I wouldn’t trade Mike Leake straight up to get him for one year. I think the Cubs would have to throw in other guys also to get Leake. Personally I would trade Didi Gregorius to get DeJesus, though.

  37. Ironically, now that Chapman’s definitely not getting traded, ESPN ranked him the 17th most valuable trade chip in baseball. Cueto, Votto, and Bruce ranked behind him.

    Frazier barely missed the list, while Trout and Harper were one and two, respectively.

  38. I can’t imagine why the Twins would make a deal like that. Revere was a 3.5 win player last year, Willingham was a 4 win player. I would say not a single player on that list has a chance of ever putting up a season that good, save for maybe Stubbs and he looks like he’s going the wrong direction.

    If the Reds wanted Revere or Willingham (that’s OR, not AND) I would try to get Hamilton. If I couldn’t I would try for Leake and Cingrani and someone else. I can’t see Leake being a ceterpiece of a deal for a 3+ win player, since he’s a 1-2 win player.

    • I can’t imagine why the Twins would make a deal like that.Revere was a 3.5 win player last year, Willingham was a 4 win player. I would say not a single player on that list has a chance of ever putting up a season that good, save for maybe Stubbs and he looks like he’s going the wrong direction.

      If the Reds wanted Revere or Willingham (that’s OR, not AND) I would try to get Hamilton.If I couldn’t I would try for Leake and Cingrani and someone else. I can’t see Leake being a ceterpiece of a deal for a 3+ win player, since he’s a 1-2 win player.

      A 3.5 win player and a 4 win player? Sometimes teams look for trades to fill their needs, not a Wins Above Replacement total. For example the Reds traded Alonso and Grandal because they needed a pitcher rather than an outfielder and catcher. It’s silly to break those trades into how many win players are exchanged. Currently the Twins have extra outfielders (particularly Revere and Span filling a similar role) and need pitching.

      If the Twins wouldn’t accept a reasonable trade (like Revere for Leake) I’d want to walk away rather than overpay.

  39. @redsfanman: I’m not going to say that WAR is the be-all, end-all of player evaluation, but when the gaps are that big, I think teams notice.

    You suggested a trade that would send a 1.5 win player for two players who put up 7.5 wins last year. That doesn’t make sense. Even straight up it doesn’t make sense for them, because they can probably get a some prospects that have way more potential than mike leake.

    You mentioned the Latos trade, that one made a lot more sense. It was a pretty classic deal actually, where one team gave up multiple pretty good guys, in order to consolidate talent into one player.

    Alonso and Grandal put up a combinded 4.5 wins last year, while Latos put up 3.1.

    But that trade doesn’t compare very well to what you proposed, since you had the Twins giving up multiple better players for Leake. A better comp for the trade would be Leake and Cingrani for Revere.

    Revere puts up 3+ wins next year, Leake and Cingrani each put up less, but total put up more. That’s about even I’d say.

    • @redsfanman: I’m not going to say that WAR is the be-all, end-all of player evaluation, but when the gaps are that big, I think teams notice.

      You suggested a trade that would send a 1.5 win player for two players who put up 7.5 wins last year.That doesn’t make sense. Even straight up it doesn’t make sense for them, because they can probably get a some prospects that have way more potential than mike leake.

      You mentioned the Latos trade, that one made a lot more sense.It was a pretty classic deal actually, where one team gave up multiple pretty good guys, in order to consolidate talent into one player.

      Alonso and Grandal put up a combinded 4.5 wins last year, while Latos put up 3.1.

      But that trade doesn’t compare very well to what you proposed, since you had the Twins giving up multiple better players for Leake.A better comp for the trade would be Leake and Cingrani for Revere.

      Revere puts up 3+ wins next year, Leake and Cingrani each put up less, but total put up more.That’s about even I’d say.

      When a team loses because they desperately need pitching help I don’t believe that a however many win outfielder solves the underlying problem with the team that keeps them from being competitive. Teams usually trade to fill needs.

      Alonso and Grandal combined for 4.5 wins last year while Latos resulted in 3.1 wins, but that definitely doesn’t mean that the Reds would have won as many games if they hadn’t made the trade. Similarly the Minnesota Twins need to improve their major league pitching staff if they want to be competitive. Leake would do that but the guy they acquired is years away.

      Maybe Leake and Cingrani combined put up fewer Wins Above Replacement than Ben Revere but both are inexpensive young arms and young pitching is much harder to find than outfielders.

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