Cries rang through Milwaukee earlier this week as the news broke that Doug Melvin could not work out a deal to bring Justin Morneau to the Milwaukee Brewers. But on the final day of the waiver deadline, his deal with the Cincinnati Reds to acquire Jonathan Broxton is the move that the Brewers not only needed to make, but the one that will put them over the top in the season’s final month.
Many will argue after a woeful roadtrip that a bat was a bigger need, but Broxton helps the team more than anyone else. Late in the season, experienced bullpen arms help teams win games. In 2011, the addition of Francisco Rodriguez helped to shorten games and secure Brewers victories after seven innings. This season, Broxton will have that same effect. He not only brings 10 years of major league experience to the bullpen, but also plenty of postseason experience.
This season, he has been as good as it gets a the setup man for the Reds. Although he has been hit his last few times out, he is 4-2 with an 1.86 ERA and is 10th in the league with 21 holds. He doesn’t just give the Brewers a reliable setup man who has been there before, but provides relief for current setup man Will Smith, who leads the league with 66 appearances and has seen his effectiveness wear down over the last two months.
The trade also helps the team answer questions about their future bullpen. With K-Rod only signed through this season, Broxton’s contract situation makes him a perfect choice as the team’s 2015 closer. Having 118 saves in his career, Broxton can step in and be an effective closer in 2015.
Standing pat and leaving the bullpen as is was a recipe for disaster. While many pitchers have exceeded expectations, it has become evident that some arms are wearing down. Milwaukee now has the best eighth and ninth-inning combination since they got to the NL Championship Series in 2011. Their bullpen is ready for October and beyond.