Reds acquire relief pitcher Jonathan Broxton
JUL 31, 2012 3:53p ET
CINCINNATI — Clean this up right at the top: Yes, Aroldis Chapman is still the reigning closer for the Cincinnati Reds.
Then why did the Reds trade for Kansas City’s Jonathan Broxton, owner of 107 career saves, 23 this year for the Kansas City Royals, who have won only 41 games going into Tuesday?
Yes, Broxton is a closer by trade, but in this case Broxton is All-State, State Farm, Progressive. He is insurance and he is back-up for Chapman. Broxton is a guy who can pitch set-up and also close if Chapman has pitched three or four days in a row.
To get Broxon, the Reds gave up two minor-league pitching prospects — RHP Juan Carlos Sulbaran and LHP Donnie Joseph.
“Broxton fits in to give Chapman a rest or he can fit in for the seventh or eight, depending on what we need,” said manager Dusty Baker. “You know the guy knows pressure from his days as closer with the Dodgers. He was a closer for years and a closer for now. He’ll fit in well with this ballclub.”
General Manager Walt Jocketty and his advisers were seeking a leadoff hitter and/or a cleanup hitter, maybe a left-handed bat, but because the demands were so high they abandoned their search and switched to pitching.
“They were locked up in that room upstairs for days trying to make a deal,” said Baker. “A leadoff guy isn’t easy to find, the hardest guy in baseball to find. At some point you have wonder if the cost of that is too high for the present and the future.
“You can imagine what everybody wanted,” he said. When the name Billy Hamilton was hinted upon, Baker said, “I didn’t say that. A lot of people want your top pitching. Everybody wants those first. Period.”
And the Reds weren’t willing to do that.
“We had several position player deals that we looked at but in the end we felt we liked what we have and decided to focus on pitching,” said Jocketty.
“We said at the beginning we were looking for a leadoff hitter, a cleanup hitter or a bench player, but the position player deals just weren’t right for us and we felt good about adding an arm like Broxton. Asking prices? Very high. We want to win this year, but we are a small market club and we want to protect our future, too.”
Where does this leave set-up man Nick Masset, who has pitched once on minor-league rehab? Is he out of the picture?
“Absolutely not,” said Jocketty. “He is still a couple of weeks away. We wanted to do what we could do right now to strengthen the pitching staff and this is the move we could make right now to help the bullpen and carry us strong into September.”
Baker interjected with, “You never have enough pitching, we all know that. We hope Masset is only a couple of weeks away, but we don’t know that. So we don’t have to rush him and hopefully we’ll have him down the stretch.”
Said Jocketty, “We don’t have to rush Masset back here and now we have another arm for our bullpen to strengthen it and keep it strong because we’ve been winning with strong pitching. We’re trying to re-enforce that.”