With the Cincinnati Reds moving their former closer Aroldis Chapman into the starting rotation–or at least we all assume this is the case–the question of having Jonathan Broxton as their closer remains to be seen.
Broxton was re-signed by the Reds this past winter to the tune of $21 million in his three-year contract. When he was re-signed, the assumption around Reds fans and inside the organization was that he would most likely take over the role of closer for Chapman if moving Chapman to the starting rotation turned out to be a success.
Broxton told MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon, “I don’t know where I’m at yet. Dusty [Baker] hasn’t really said…They don’t really know yet what’s going on. They’re going to try and start Chappy, but you never know.”
So what happens if moving Chapman to the starting rotation works out, but putting Broxton in the closer’s role doesn’t? Broxton’s strike out numbers have been declining since 2009 and it’s not like he’s getting any younger. Would the Reds stick it out with Broxton if he does not perform like he once did, considering the fact they gave him a pretty big chunk of money? Or would they take Chapman out of the starting rotation to move him back into the closer’s role?
If putting Broxton into the closer’s role does work out, then there is no need to worry. But for someone who hasn’t put up the numbers like he once did as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers and has been known to be injury-prone as he gets older, this could very well possibly blow up in the face of the Reds.
If you think I’m trying to be a negative Nancy about this situation, I’m really not. I’m not a huge fan of putting Chapman into the starting rotation, although I do hope it works out for the better for both Broxton and Chapman. Broxton has been a proven closer time after time, but with someone who is getting older, losing the zip on his fastball and has been known to be injured, this may cause some concern for the Reds.
Follow Brad Stiene on Twitter @bs_rant1