Not sure that it makes a ton of sense for the Royals in particular, but $4M for Broxton is a great low-risk high-reward move for any team. Especially in this reliever market. Jonathan Papelbon got $50M. Joe Nathan is arguably just as much a risk as Broxton, and he got $14.5M. And Javier Lopez somehow got $8.5M.
Comment by Yirmiyahu — November 29, 2011 @ 2:35 pm
If by flexibility, you mean they add a guy to their rotation who shouldn’t be starting in the big leagues (and who should have been getting reps down on the farm last year instead), then yes, Aaron Crow is all kinds of flexible.
Broxton has looked like toast for the better part of the last 18 months. The Royals will be lucky to get a C-minus prospect for him come the deadline, in my opinion.
Comment by Bodhizefa — November 29, 2011 @ 2:44 pm
I don’t agree with using the 2010 Padres as a model. The Padres bullpen in 2010 was virtually identical to the pen in 2009. Bell, Adams (after coming back from shoulder surgery), Gregerson, Thatcher, and Mujica were all very effective in 2009 too. In fact, the Padres had a good bullpen in 2009 and 2011 when they won just 75 and 71 games respectively.
If the 2010 Padres can be a model for anything, it’s this: If you play 81 games in a stadium that depresses runs, you may get very lucky one year and prevent a lot more runs than your pitching and defense should prevent.
I don’t see the Royals competing next year unless their starting rotation is blessed with a ton of good luck.
$4M is a substantial risk considering Broxton had elbow troubles. You can get a solid middle reliever or maybe even two for that. I think the Royals are still in “we have to overpay” mode. Spend $4M twice, and you could have had a decent SP and solved the real problem.
Forgive me if I’m wrong, but isn’t a win usually worth about $5 million?
Broxton is 27, and has only had one season of below one war, it just happened that it was last year. If it doesn’t pan out, it’s not really that much money, and if it does, he’s a huge trade chip at the deadline.
As an o’s fan, I wish we did more like this. The closest I can think of is George Sherrill. He wasn’t as young, but was coming off a so-so year, outperformed his contract and netted some good prospects.
Look at Papelbon, too. Last year at this time, he was essentially a valueless player, and a year later, he’s worth $50 million.
Broxton was signed because they believe they can compete next year.
As mentioned, it give them the flexibility to move Crow to the rotation since Duffy’s command is just not adequate right now. On the other hand, I’d bet that Teaford or Luis Mendoza wins the fifth job and Crow is back in the pen.
Please do not have somebody embarrass themselves by writing the Joakim Soria-to-the-rotation article. He has a hard time staying healthy out of the bullpen. If ever there was a time to move him to the rotation, wasn’t it last year, when Luke Hochevar was the “ace” by default? Joakim Soria will not ever start a game as long as he is in a Royals uniform.
I love this move, and with the news that the White Sox are dangling Matt Thornton, I’d double down. Louis Coleman and Tim Collins are essentially trick pitchers who the league adjusted to. Crow back to the pen, a healthy Broxton, and Thornton, along with Soria and Holland, would be pretty solid.
Broxton and flexible are rarely said in the same breath. With that said he can be a very effective relief pitcher. But he seems to implode in high anxiety situations, which should be far and few between in KC. So I expect him to perform better than last season and become trade bait before the deadline.
Comment by Jeff Zimmerman — November 30, 2011 @ 8:33 am
Have the Royals learned nothing from the Rays success? I don’t see how it makes any sense for a small market team like the Royals to invest $4 million in a relief pitcher, especially when it already has a proven closer. The Royals should be either (1) investing this money in starting pitching, or (2) saving it to invest in prospects and starting pitching later. Having a lock down bullpen is great and important for a team contending for the pennant, but it doesn’t mean anything unless your team is wining after 7. With the Royals starting rotation, I don’t see that happening for them a whole lot this season. More likely the Royals now have an expensive bullpen that will be watching a lot of 7-4 losses.
If the Royals for some reason felt they needed to spend this money, why not try to send it and a hitting prospect to the Rays for one of the 7 starters in the Rays organization that is better than anyone the Royals have. The Royals are never going to have the money to buy big name starting pitchers on the free agent market, so if they want to compete they will need to try something else. But spending a lot of money on a bullpen when you don’t have solid starting pitching, IMO, is not going to work.
Other than an extra 1m, how is this different than the Farnsworth deal last year, or picking up his extension? Cheap backend reliever, i.e., the Rays model. This is not to mention that two years ago the Rays picked up Soriano from the Braves in what was essentially a salary dump because he accepted arb., and paid $7m for that season.
So you want them to save money for starting pitching while acknowledging that they will never be able to play in that sandbox. They are developing their own pitching, but trying to hold any org. to the standard of hitting on guys like Hellickson in the fourth round, or Moore in round 7 is really not realistic, is it?
They do invest in prospects. Last year alone they gave the second highest international signing bonus to a five tool CFer a month before they gave a five tool CFer their highest draft bonus ever. They also signed Raul Mondesi’s son to a huge international bonus, and went way overslot on two guys after the 20th round.
I would love to see the Royals trade Butler to the Rays for pitching, but outside of big upside guys the Rays have nothing for offensive prospects. We know that Moore isn’t going anywhere. So what, you want them to send a guy like Butler on a team-friendly 4 year deal, oh and cash, to the Rays for Davis or Niemann? Cobb and B- pitching prospects which the Royals already have a bunch of?
Their fifth starter candidates are essentially the same guys as what the Rays would be willing to deal. Plus, the Royals have the money. And unlikely the Rays, whose payroll is not increasing despite magical playoff runs, the Royals have a really good fanbase despite all the losing forever. This deal is just a no-brainer.
The Rays didn’t spend money on relief pitchers until they had a great starting rotation in place and were ready to compete for a championship. When they knew they weren’t quite ready to compete, in 2007, they spent no money on the pen (and had one of the all time worst bullpens in history as a result). They did this intentionally to save money for when they were actually close. It wasn’t until they had a front three of Kazmir, Shields and Garza (and EJax at 4 and Price pretty much ready to step in) that they started spending money on relief arms. They still spend very little on relief pitchers, and primarily limit relief pitchers to one year deals with team options.
The Royals are simply not going to compete for a championship next year with the rotation they currently have. If they want to compete, they absolutely must get better starting pitching and until they do it won’t matter if they have the best bullpen in the world. The Royals have enough hitting prospects to get Shields, or maybe even Price, if they really wanted to do so, and they would still have enough offensive talent coming up to compete if their pitching prospects pan out. You put either Shields or Price at the front of a rotation with Crow, Montgomery, and Ordorizzi and 2013 could be the Royals year.