Jonathan Broxton is no longer a Dodger. The former Dodgers closer has signed a one-year deal with the Kansas City Royals to be a setup man to closer Joakim Soria, the club announced today. The contract is worth $4 million guaranteed, plus a potential $1 million in performance bonuses, according to Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star.
Broxton had an injury-plagued end to his Dodgers career, limited to just 14 games in 2011. He missed the final five months of the season with an elbow injury that eventually required surgery.
It's a shame that Broxton will be most remembered as a Dodger for giving up game-winning hits to the Philadelphia Phillies in back-to-back Games 4 in the NLCS in 2008 and 2009, but those are the breaks for closers. Broxton is one of the best relief pitchers the Dodgers have ever had.
Broxton has the highest strikeout rate of any Dodger with at least 200 innings, at 11.55 strikeouts per nine innings, and got to 500 strikeouts faster than any pitcher in franchise history, at 388 innings. Sure Kenley Jansen is on pace to shatter these records, but we can only be so lucky that he will be healthy and effective enough to do so. Welcome to the volatile world of relief pitching, where bullpen plans can seem week-to-week at times rather than year-to-year.
Even after the back-to-back playoff failures, Broxton came back strong to 2010. He had an 0.83 ERA and 48 strikeouts against just five walks in 33 innings before the fateful June 27 outing against the . It was the fourth game in five days for Broxton, none of which were in a save situation, and he was left out on the mound to throw 48 pitches. He allowed four runs that day in a game the Dodgers would eventually lose, and it was all downhill for Broxton after that.
- Broxton's career, prior to June 27, 2010: 341 games, 2.73 ERA, 3.37 BB/9, 12.05 K/9, .209/.285/.300 opponents' line
- Broxton, from June 27, 2010 to present: 45 games, 7.02 ERA, 6.80 BB/9, 7.44 K/9, .312/.422/.471 opponents' line
Best of luck to Broxton in Kansas City. Hopefully he is healthy and can rebuild his value. He will be missed in Los Angeles.
In other news, happy birthday to the wonderful and incomparable Vin Scully.