The Reds traded reliever Jonathan Broxton to the Brewers for two players to be named later. The Brewers claimed Broxton off waivers and the two teams were able to reach a deal in the 48-hour allowed window. Update: C. Trent Rosecrans has filed a full-length article on the trade here.
General manager Walt Jocketty says this deal does not involve cash (CTR) so this gets the Reds out from underneath Broxton’s $9 million contract for 2015 and $1 million buyout for 2016. Even if the Reds would have had to pay half of Broxton’s salary in 2015, it would still probably have been a good move.
The two PTBNL won’t amount to much but that’s OK. Jocketty says one of the players has already been agreed to and the other will be decided later by the Reds off an agreed-to list. I was worried one of these players might be a bad-contract return (like Rickie Weeks) but it doesn’t appear the Brewers have any of those to dump.
It’s hard to know how the timing — coming right at the deadline for when players have to be on a roster to be eligible for the post-season — affected the Reds leverage. On the one hand, Broxton has struggled lately, which might have hurt his value. A trade at the July deadline (which I advocated) might have returned more because Broxton was pitching better then and the receiving team would have gotten two months of the regular season. There have been rumors that Reds CEO Bob Castellini wouldn’t approve any trades that would be perceived as sales. Perhaps the Reds recent skid has changed the perspective on that.
On the other hand, Milwaukee is desperately looking for post-season bullpen help, so maybe Broxton’s value was inflated if the Brewers have been unable to find any other trade partners.
For those worried about trading within the division, Broxton has pitched well from the standpoint of runs allowed, but there’s little reason to expect him to be an above-average reliever for Milwaukee. His ERA-estimators (xFIP 4.26, SIERA 3.79) show him to be due for serious regression. His BABIP, LOB% and HR/FB are all below league and Broxton’s own career averages.
If you believe this sends up the white flag on the Reds season, you obviously haven’t been playing close attention to the Reds lately.
Broxton’s contract was terrible, there’s no getting around that. As Chris Garber said today: This is Walt Jocketty cleaning up his own mess. All the money tied up in Broxton helped produce the Reds bench you see this year.
But thankfully, the Reds were able to escape the worst year of it. It’s a good step forward for 2015.