Reds sign reliever Broxton

Cincinnati Reds sign reliever Jonathan Broxton to three-year deal

The Cincinnati Reds, paving the way for left-hander Aroldis Chapman to become a starter, have signed free-agent right-hander Jonathan Broxton to a three-year contract.

The deal is for three years and $21 million and carries a club option for 2016. The annual salaries would grow from $4 million in the first year, to $7 million and $9 million in the following seasons, with a $1 million buyout on the $9 million option in 2016.

The guaranteed money grows to $22 million if he's traded, with the option becoming mutual and the buyout increasing to $2 million.

Broxton, 28, could become the team’s closer if Chapman moves into the rotation. The Reds acquired Broxton on July 31 from the Kansas City Royals, and the veteran pitched well both in the final two months of the regular season and postseason for Cincinnati.

The Royals had signed Broxton to a one-year, $4 million contract, and he converted 23 of 27 save chances as their closer with a 2.27 ERA. Broxton was a setup man for the Reds, producing a 2.82 ERA in 22 1/3 innings and pitching three scoreless innings in the NL Division Series against the San Francisco Giants.

The Reds also had expressed interest in free-agent righties Ryan Madson and Joakim Soria, both of whom are coming off Tommy John surgery. Madson is in talks with the Los Angeles Angels, according to Soria remains on the open market.

By signing Broxton, the NL Central champions could move Chapman and his 100-mph fastball back into a starter's role. They had planned to give him a chance to win a spot in the rotation during spring training, but Madson tore a ligament in his pitching elbow and needed reconstructive surgery.

Manager Dusty Baker eased Chapman into the closer's role and got sensational results. Chapman, who had never closed games in his career, saved 27 consecutive chances and was 38 of 43 overall in save opportunities with a 1.55 ERA in 68 appearances.

Broxton moved into the closer's role in September when Chapman developed a tired shoulder, saving all of his four chances.

The 28-year-old Broxton missed most of the 2011 season with the Dodgers because of a bone spur in his elbow that required surgery. He agreed to a $4 million, one-year deal with Kansas City last season, starting as a set-up man for Soria. He assumed the closing role in March, when Soria had to have reconstructive elbow surgery.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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