Remember how we panned the Brandon League and Jeremy Affeldt deals? Well, get ready for another heavy dose of disgust! The Reds have decided to keep Jonathan Broxton, he of generous proportions, around for at least three more seasons. The new contract will give Broxton $21 million over three seasons and includes a team option worth $9 million for a fourth year. The Reds, despite having Dusty Baker around to spit on good ideas, are allegedly going to try out Aroldis Chapman as a starter; that move would make Broxton the man in charge of the saves.
We don’t like three-year deals for relievers, and we especially don’t like them for the relievers we’ve seen sign in the past month or so. Many must feel like Broxton is “back” thanks to his 2.48 ERA in a split season between the Royals and Reds, but we’re not in that camp. The successful version of Jonathan Broxton was a complete monster, a giant flamethrower who effortlessly missed bats night in and night out. This Broxton doesn’t do that sort of thing, and without dominance he has become a merely solid reliever who in no way should command over $20 million of a team’s resources.
Broxton followed his all-out 2011 collapse with a good 2012. He posted a 3.03 FIP and 3.62 xFIP that were much higher than his ERA largely thanks to a strand rate near 80%, and he was only able to strike out 6.98/9. Those 58 innings were respectable, but they’re far from elite territory. Now 28, it’s always possible Broxton becomes a whirlwind death force once again, but it isn’t likely. Then again, relievers can do just about anything and we don’t have much of a right to be surprised. That’s kind of the point, though, and it’s a point we’ll belabor until the far reaches of the earth hear us: reliever performance is extremely volatile, so get caught up paying heavily for it for a long period of time.