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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen
Thursday, December 01, 2011
Royal - Sign Broxton
Kansas City Royals sign reliever Jonathan Broxton to a 1 year/$4 million contract (with $1 million in bonuses based on appearances—sorry no details)
It’s an interesting signing for a couple of reasons. Not that he had a great deal of choice as to the general nature of the contract, but it’s a sensible choice for Broxton. If he’s back to something approaching the form of 2006-2009 (always possible though I’d bet against it. The history of pure power pitchers in their early 30s coming off major arm problems is not all that promising.) he will be free to sign for some serious money next year. Probably not with the Royals though. Success will probably price him out of consideration by the Royals.
At the same time it makes a world of sense for a contending team to sign him. After all if he is back (or mostly back), the team will be glad to pay the $5 million (one assumes he’ll make the bonuses if he pitches well). And if he washes out, there’s no long term commitment and the cost for 2012 is anything but crippling. The tail end of most bullpens is something of a lottery and the payout if you’re right about Broxton is higher than usual.
As with the Chen signing this strongly suggests that the Royals see themselves as contenders. I guess I’d call that optimistic but not insane. As has been pointed out by a number of people around here, they’re much closer to the Tigers than last year’s record suggests (though still a fair distance away) with an impressive amount of young talent on the team and a number of open wounds (and thus positions that are relatively easy to upgrade) in the lineup. Who knows? Billy could be happy one day.
Exactly how Broxton will be used isn’t clear to me. Greg Holland has impressive stuff but no history of command of the strike zone. I’d be happy planning to give him an important role, but I guess there’s a lot to be said for allowing him to build on his excellent play of last year. Meaning that if Broxton is effective in spring training he’ll probably be the 8th inning guy. And if both Broxton and Holland appear ready it’s certainly possible that Joakim Soria could be dealt. I’d be more than a little surprised if that’s the current plan, but Soria could be more valuable to the Royals in a trade provided both Broxton and Holland work out.
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