The Kansas City Royals sign Jonathon Broxton to a one-year deal worth $4 million, with $1 million in incentives
- This, to me, is a very interesting deal. And I like it very much. The Royals acquire in Broxton a guy who is still relatively young (27), and as recently as 2010, was one of the game's most dominant closers. It is a bit of a lottery ticket in that the Royals are banking on (1) Broxton will be recovered from the injuries he endured last year and (2) With the injuries no longer hampering him, Broxton will once again be a top-shelf closer. But considering the market which has developed for top-tier closers (see: Papelbon, Jonathon), this signing of Broxton seems to a wise risk/reward investment.
- But here's what I think makes this signing all the more interesting. The Royals already have a closer, and a very good one at that, in Joakim Soria. At this point, the party line is probably that Broxton is going to be the setup man for Soria. I don't think so, though. One reason is simply that as a free agent, I doubt Broxton would sign somewhere unless he thought he was going to get the chance to close.
- No, I think the Royals have something much more clever in mind. I'm guessing that this signing of Broxton indicates that the Royals are planning to leverage Soria's value in some way. And I see two possible avenues for this.
- Convert Joakim Soria into a starter. I would argue that starters are much more valuable to teams than closers, and with a bunch of young stud pitching prospects on their way up, Soria could function as the de-facto veteran ace to lead these young bucks. Making this transition from closer to starter is not without precedent of success in recent years (see: Wilson, C.J.)
- Use Joakim Soria as a valuable trade chip in a deal for something else that they really need. There is no team in baseball that wouldn't love to have Soria in the fold, so it just depends on where the Royals feel like they have holes. In fact, speculating whispers about potential trade matches are already starting to surface. One that I read this morning was Joakim Soria for Colby Rasmus. Having a young talented hitter like that would certainly beef up the Royals' lineup for years to come.