One of the biggest reasons for the Diamondbacks turnaround in 2011 was the pitching of their bullpen. One of the worst units in all baseball during the 2010 season, Arizona’s bullpen in 2011 was one of baseball’s best with the additions of J.J. Putz and David Hernandez and the emergence of Bryan Shaw in the final couple months.
Despite a great season by the Arizona ‘pen in 2011, that doesn’t mean that Kevin Towers and company won’t be looking to improve the unit going into 2012. Towers has been on record to say that he is looking to add another left-hander to go along with Joe Paterson and possibly another veteran arm for the middle innings if he club doesn’t bring back Brad Ziegler.
Even though his name hasn’t been attached to the D’Backs yet, I believe this club should take a long, hard look at Jonathan Broxton. The former Dodgers closer is coming off the worst year of his career and battled a bad shoulder all season long. The two-time All-Star had surgery in September to shave a bone spur and remove loose bodies in his shoulder.
It came out on Monday that Broxton won’t be back in a Dodgers uniform in 2012. In a Los Angeles Times article, Broxton’s agent BB Abbott ruled out his client pitching his home games at Chavez Ravine this upcoming year.
With the Dodgers now out of the picture, the Diamondbacks should now throw their hat in the ring for his services. He may be a risk because of his recent history, but we all know how good he is when he is 100 percent healthy and throwing his best. His career 11.9 K/9 is one of the best in all of baseball.
Arizona wouldn’t be asking a lot from Broxton either. He wouldn’t have to deal with the pressure of being the closer or the eighth inning guy with Putz and Hernandez already locked into those positions. Broxton would more than likely have to compete with Shaw for seventh inning duties, a job that he can win if he is healthy.
Now, it remains to be seen if Broxton will be the front office’s price range. Broxton made $7 million last season and wouldn’t make a lot of sense for Arizona to give that much money to a guy who will more than likely be nothing more than a seventh inning guy. The former closer will get plenty of attention on the open market with plenty of teams looking for a guy with Broxton’s track record closing out ballgames.
If Broxton wants to take a pay cut and deal with taking a lesser role, he can come to Arizona and be a part of a team that can do some special things in 2012. Of course, money talks with several players. Whether or not that is the case with the former Dodger remains to be seen.