Broxton Comes to Reds in Trade Deadline Deal
There was much speculation that the Reds would try to improve their lineup by going after a leadoff hitter before the trade deadline. Instead they added closer Jonathan Broxton to the bullpen with the lowest ERA in the majors. The Reds bullpen depth is quite remarkable considering the amount of injuries its suffered since before this season. Now they've added an experienced right-hander.
In the final day before the trading deadline the Cincinnati Reds obtained veteran closer Jonathan Broxton from the Royals in return for minor league pitchers Donnie Joseph and J.C. Sulbaran. There had been speculation that they were seeking to improve their lineup by going after a leadoff hitter. They lost out on Shane Victorino who departed Philadelphia for the Dodgers. There were also rumors on deals for Juan Pierre and Denard Span. Instead Broxton will join a bullpen that has the lowest ERA in the major leagues.
They had severe injury problems before the season with free agent signee Ryan Madson going down to Tommy John surgery and Nick Massett going on the DL. Soon after opening day Bill Bray missed a couple of months with a groin injury. In spite of that the group pulled together to give an outstanding contribution to the Reds’ success. Aroldis Chapman eventually moved into the closer spot where he’s been dominant. That moved Sean Marshall back into his familiar left-handed set-up role. They also picked up Alfredo Simon from waivers who has mid-two ERA, though much of his action has not been in close games.
The 28 year-old Broxton previously closed for the Dodgers before signing a one-year deal with the Royals for $4M. He had lost his job in LA when he struggled through difficulties from a bone spur in his elbow. This season he has a 2.27 ERA/1.402 WHIP with 23 saves. He’s blown four saves for a success rate of 85.2%. He had not allowed an earned run in 27 of his 35 appearances (77.1%).
The move leaves the Reds with excessive depth in their bullpen. J.J. Hoover kept a flat three ERA before Bray’s return and is now under two at Louisville. Meanwhile Massett has made a couple of rehab appearances in the Arizona League. That leads the Reds with potentially ten options in the pen after roster expansion at the end of this month.
Both players traded were on most analysts’ lists of top Reds prospects. Left-hander Joseph is 23 years old and looking for his first major league appearance. The Reds invested a third round draft selection on him in 09 which is early for a reliever. He did well in the lower levels until he was lit up in the Southern League last year. He returned there this season and was a dominant closer with a 0.89 ERA before his promotion to AAA. Since arriving at Louisville his ERA has been under three in 18 appearances.
Meanwhile Sulbaran has kept a flat four ERA at Pensacola and probably figured to be an odd man out next season as his teammates advance up the system. Many consider Daniel Corcino the top pitching prospect in the Reds system and after skipping high-A the 21 year-old has gotten stronger at Pensacola as the season has progressed. Meanwhile left-hander Tony Cingrani has been kept on stingy pitch counts since the Reds converted the former college closer into a starter. He dominated the hitter-friendly California League with a 1.11 ERA before his promotion and is now at 2.15 in ten starts with the Blue Wahoos. When they arrive at AAA they will join former Braves prospect Todd Redmond who would be challenging for a rotation spot on teams with less pitching depth.
Corcino and Cingrani project as potential top-rotation pitchers while Sulbaran was more a candidate to potentially latch onto a #5 spot. Anyone advancing from Louisville will have to crack a quintet that has not missed a start this season. On top of that there is speculation that Chapman will be moved to the rotation eventually. Finally, the two most recent first round selections of the Reds, Robert Stephenson and Nick Travieso, have started pitching at lower levels in the system. It’s crowded, but that’s a good problem to have. Joseph/Sulbaran’s contribution to the Reds at the major league level will come in final couple of months this season in the form of a 6’5”/300# right-handed reliever.
Other News from the Farm:
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Dayton lost a lead in the top of the seventh and regained it in the bottom of the inning in a 5-4 win over visiting Lansing. Joe Terry and Kyle Waldrop both had three hits for the Dragons including a homer by Terry. Juan Silva was 2-3 with a walk. James Allen got no decision from his quality start, allowing three runs on seven hits in six innings while fanning seven. Carlos Gonzalez blew a save and hung around for the win. Carlos Contreras entered in the eighth and finished the game for his thirteenth save.
Billings won at home by a score of 4-2 over Great Falls. Jesse Winker had two of the Mustangs’ five hits and is now batting .350. Jonothan Moscot got the start and allowed one run on two hits and four strike outs before he was removed after two innings. Joel Bender relieved him and allowed one run in four innings for the win. Sean Lucas struck out all three batters in the ninth for the save.
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