Jonathan Broxton Signing Perfect Sort Of Low-Risk, High-Reward Move For Kansas City Royals

The Kansas City Royals have made one of the more surprising moves of the off-season by signing Jonathan Broxton to a one-year deal to fortify their bullpen.

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Aaron Crow Might Be Best In-House Option For Royals Starting Rotation

The Kansas City Royals are searching for solid starting pitching options like a lot of other teams this off-season. From landing major free agents like C.J. Wilson to wishing upon a Japanese star with Yu Darvish, teams will do just about anything (read: spend just about anything) to round out their rotations. Yet some teams cannot afford the same players as others, which leaves the Royals having to become creative in their habits. That also means that looking inward might make for the best move.

Aaron Crow is a young arm who was actually drafted to be a starter in the minors before breaking into the majors last season in the bullpen. R.J. Anderson of Baseball Prospectus believes that Crow might be the pitcher the Royals are looking for if he can turn around his fortunes from when he first started in the minors. Certainly his incredible year last year as a rookie is enough to give him another look. He writes:

The Royals were impressed by Crow’s 2011—in which he finished with the second-lowest earned run average in the pen—enough to consider moving him back to the rotation. Starting games would not be a new experience for Crow. He was drafted as a starter and made 29 starts in 2010 in the minors for the Royals before they chose to break him into the majors as a reliever.

Crow’s performance in those starts left something to be desired, namely good results. A 5.73 earned run average, 2.20 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and hit rate exceeding 10 per nine innings pitched do not suggest a smooth transition to the major leagues. Still, Crow did show good stuff. A low-to-mid-90s fastball with good sink and a knockout slider are enough to retire major-league batters. The problem is that Crow’s mechanics hurt his strike-throwing consistency, pigeonholing him as a fastball-only pitcher.

If anything, he should warrant a look alongside other young Royals pitchers. If he doesn't work, Joakim Soria is another option and prospects like Mike Montgomery will also get a chance in spring training.


Jonathan Broxton Signing Perfect Sort Of Low-Risk, High-Reward Move For Kansas City Royals

The Jonathan Broxton signing has largely went over well with sports analysts, especially in the sense that it gives the Kansas City Royals some flexibility with their rotation and bullpen depth for low cost. Baseball Prospectus’s R.J. Anderson is latest to weigh in on the free agent signing and he likes what he sees.

“Dayton Moore is rolling the dice with Broxton, hoping that the potbellied flame-thrower looks like his old self in his new setting,” writes Anderson. “It’s way too early to tell whether the gamble will pay off, but an interesting aspect of Broxton’s recent performances revolves around his platoon splits. In the past, he struggled against lefties and pitched superbly versus righties. Over the last two seasons, those results have shifted, with Broxton shutting down lefties but stumbling against righties. The catalyst for the shift is hard to finger. It does not appear that Broxton’s arsenal has changed, but for whatever reason, the results have.”

Yet given his experience and success in the past, he’s a low-risk, high-reward bet to come back and do something decent to reestablish his value. As Anderson writes, "If nothing else, credit the Royals’ imagination on both ends of the Broxton signing. Maybe Broxton fails to recapture his old magic, and maybe Crow winds up back in the bullpen, but these are the kind of low-risk moves a team on the rise can benefit from. "


Royals Designate Jeff Bianchi For Assignment To Make Way For Jonathan Broxton

In following up with the free agent signing that certainly caught the eye of many on Tuesday, on Wednesday the Royals removed shortstop/second base prospect Jeff Bianchi from the 40-man roster to create an open spot for Jonathan Broxton.

The Royals officially have given up on the former second round selection in the 2005 MLB Draft. Unfortunately, Bianchi battled with injuries which included having Tommy John surgery early in 2010. In 2011 he appeared in 119 games with AA Northwest Arkansas in which he hit .259/,320/.333 with two home runs and 48 RBI. 

Suddenly the Royals found Bianci expendable with as deep of depth as they've had in the middle infield in quite some time. Youngsters Alcides Escobar and Johnny Giavotella man those respective spots in Kansas City, while Christian Colon isn't far away. Throw in names such as Michael Antonio, Humberto Arteaga, Orlando Calixte, Jack Lopez, and Adalberto Mondesi, and you can start to see why Bianci was expendable. That is not even mentioning Yamaico Navarro who the Royals presume can eventually step into a Mike Aviles type utility role.

According to audio inteview on Sirius XM, Dayton Moore even has expressed the desire to look for someone that Kansas City can bring in to backup Escobar at shortstop and play third base as well to allow Mike Moustakas the occasional day off.


With Jonathan Broxton In The Fold, Blue Jays Among Others Eye Greg Holland

Now that the Royals seem to have the eighth and ninth innings locked down with Jonathan Broxton and Joakim Soria, there seems to be the thought going around that Greg Holland may be available. The memo to other teams should be you will have to severely overpay to acquire him.

First of all, let's not count on Broxton as a sure thing. The man is coming back from injury and the numbers after the 2010 All-Star Game are nothing glamorous by any stretch of the imagination. While Broxton was at one time a shutdown closer, there is no certainty that he will be a shutdown set-up guy for Kansas City. Yes the contract works nicely for the Royals and they have a nice trade chip at the 2012 deadline should the Royals be out of contention, but Broxton will looked at closely under a microscope moving forward from spring training.

Broxton may not have the same pressure he faced in Los Angeles, but the Royals need to monitor his return from injury very closely. In addition Joakim Soria was very un Joakim Soria-like during parts of 2011, so it is in the best interest of Kansas City to keep Holland should either Broxton or Soria struggle during the first two months of the season (which we all hope is not the case).

According to Mike Axisa of MLB Trade Rumors, the Toronto Blue Jays and other teams have inquired about trying to obtain Holland, which is likely one of the many reasons this whole Colby Rasmus rumor starting circulating. With Holland under team control until 2016 there is no need to look at trading the 26-year old who put together a solid rookie season in which he was 5-1 with a 1.80 ERA. He had a brilliant 11.1-to-one strikeout-to-walk ratio, while getting 45% of his outs on groundballs. That is on par with Broxton's career average and higher than Soria's 43% career groundball ratio.

With the state of the current starting pitching market, Dayton Moore is still trying to upgrade the pitching staff but it appears Moore is looking at quality in numbers versus spending big on one larger free agent starting pitcher. We all know how that ended when Kansas City put all of their eggs in one basket with Gil Meche. This is a different approach.

Are they Royals done acquiring pitchers who will help the major league team in 2012? Likely not, they will probably try to add another pitcher or two through the trade market, but this shows the Royals aren't yet committed to signing a starting pitcher with a fancy price tag.

All in all, I like the Broxton move. It's a low risk, high reward situation. However I leave that line of thinking open to reevaluating should the Royals make a decision to move Holland.


Jonanthan Broxton Signing With Royals Will Not Affect Aaron Crow Plans

The big news for the Kansas City Royals today and likely this week was the announced signing of former Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton to a one-year contract worth $4 million plus incentives. Yet as the Royals add another arm, the obvious questions surround about how it affects other pitchers. Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star says that the signing of Broxton doesn’t affect nearly as much as people might believe it does — especially when it comes to the Royals plans for Aaron Crow.

Broxton will be another experienced power arm in the pen, but it’s also clear the Royals need someone to make the jump, if possible, to the starting rotation. Aaron Crow has been discussed for that role and Mellinger is reporting that the Royals were going to do that anyway — whether or not the team had signed Broxton. Still the addition of Broxton definitely helps.

If Crow doesn’t work out, then the Royals still have a loaded pen with yet another arm to make the 7 through 9 innings that much more formidable if the Royals loaded line-up can earn the lead. While the rotation still needs a lot of work, things are definitely looking up in Kansas City.


Jonathan Broxton Will Have Physical On Wednesday For Kansas City Royals

Jonathan Broxton has signed a one-year deal with the Kansas City Royals, and yet it’s the routine physical every athlete goes through upon a new contract that should be the most tenuous part of all of this. That’s because Broxton’s health concerns are what made him sign a one-year deal in the first place.

From 2006 to 2009, Broxton was among the game’s greatest young relievers. Then came a down year in 2010 where it was often wondered whether or not he was battling injuries. Those worries came true in 2011, when a bone bruise sidelined him in May and his elbow eventually needed arthroscopic surgery in September. Now, however, he’s healthy and hoping to re-establish his stock with the Royals.

No one is exactly sure how the Royals will use Broxton or even their other bullpen parts for that matter. But it gives the Royals plenty of options — whether that’s moving Aaron Crow or Joakim Soria to the rotation — or simply as a more loaded bullpen. Scott Miller of CBS Sports reports that Broxton will be in KC on Wednesday for his physical, so we will know more then.


Royals Rumors: Joakim Soria For Colby Rasmus Trade In Works?

Either way, the trade options now open for the Royals are certainly interesting. The Winter Meetings should be fun to follow for a Royals team that's been surprisingly active thus far in the MLB offseason.


Jonathan Broxton Signing: What Do The Royals Do With Joakim Soria Now?

When someone acquires something new, the inevitable question after the excitement is adjusted to is always the same: what do we do with the old one? If you buy a new couch, you throw out the old one. If you meet a new girl, you’ve likely broken up with another. You get the idea. So the natural question for Kansas City Royals fans to ask this morning is, “What happens to Joakim Soria?” After all, the Royals have reportedly signed another closer in Jonathan Broxton, so it seems like something might be in the works.

The idea of trading Soria is nothing new. We’ve discussed it here before, but for any team looking for a young, dynamic closer with a few more years of team control on a contract that’s under market value, Soria is a great option. While he had some issues last season, he’s largely been a very steady closer who has been the best player on the Royals for some time. Yet he’s also an expendable part on a team that’s starting to pay their closer way more than a team at their stage needs to.

Soria will begin making $8 million next season and the club option for 2014 is for $8.75 million. That’s still below anything Ryan Madson will make when he signs and it’s already three million less than Jonathan Papelbon’s average with the Phillies. However, it’s still a lot for a small market club like the Royals who have other options in house. Broxton cements the reality that with or without Soria, the Royals will have a decent bullpen. That’s what makes it interesting to see what they could get on the trade market for their young All-Star closer.

Soria should be able to fetch a decent haul of prospects — at least two solid prospects in return if not more. Perhaps the Royals could also use him to pry the starter they need away from another team. With the winter meetings coming up in December, it’s a perfect time to discuss assets and come away with a solid deal that will bolster the Royals in other areas while shedding some money off of the books for now.

If Broxon and Soria both stay with the Royals, then that definitely gives Ned Yost some dynamic options in the late innings. But it also stands to reason that now is the ideal time to trade Soria and receive the best return possible before his value begins to go down — which is really the only way it will go until his contract runs out.


Which Version Of Jonathan Broxton Will The Kansas City Royals See In 2011?

The latest signing for the Kansas City Royals expected to be announced soon is the member no one saw coming. Jonathan Broxton is expected to join the Royals bullpen in 2011, and it’s a move that’s exciting while also confounding fans and sportswriters as to what exactly the Royals are getting. After all, Broxton is a closer and yet he hasn’t been the same dominating force you might remember.

Broxton was once among the elite closers in the game of baseball, and it wasn’t as long ago as you might believe. From 2006-2009, Broxton pitched in 294 games (303.1 innings) and had a combined 2.79 ERA in that time span. He also had 398 strikeouts and 114 walks in that span. Simply put, Broxton looked like he was becoming unhittable.

Then came 2010 when his stuff was suddenly left over the plate. Broxton finished the year with 22 saves, but his ERA ballooned to 4.04, and he seemed to lack the nasty edge he had the year before. He still struck out 73 in 62 innings, but it was a far cry from the ratios of the previous year. Just last season, Broxton was out with injury after pitching in 14 games. His ERA in 2011 was 5.68.

The key is that Broxton signed a one-year deal with the Royals, meaning that this next season is all about reestablishing his value on the open market. Closers make good money. Elite closers make elite money. Broxton has that potential in him and it’s in his wallet’s best interest to get back to that form. Thus, the Royals should expect Broxton to be on his best playing behavior since the entire season is one giant audition for the 2012 offseason.

That’s good news for the Royals who could use another highly motivated yet experienced arm. Given Joakim Soria’s troubles last year and the young state of, well, everyone else, bringing in a veteran pitcher like Broxton on a one-year deal should be a win-win for everyone involved.

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