General managers are never going to learn. The Cincinnati Reds have signed reliever Jonathan Broxton to a three-year deal worth $21 million. The deal contains a $9 million option for 2016 (with a $1 million buyout) as well, and Broxton's salary will increase from $4 million in 2013 to $7 million in 2014 and $9 million in 2015.
The contract is nearly identical to the one Broxton's former team, the Dodgers, gave to Brandon League last month. I don't understand the fetish teams have with giving relievers multi-year contracts wtih his salaries. The Dodgers nontendered Broxton after he threw just 12 2/3 innings of struggleball in 2011, and his one year, $4 million signing was a solid deal for Kansas City. But man, did he ever cash in on a season where he actually wasn't that impressive.
While Broxton's velocity was up from 2011, it was still down from his prime with the Dodgers,when Broxton's fastball regularly sat at 96 mph. In fact, after his trade to the Reds in July, Broxton's fastball velocity was barely higher than it was in 2011 when he was injured. Broxton also benefited in a setup role for the Reds, walking a career-best 1.21 batters per nine innings during his two month tenure in Cincinnati, more than two batters lower than his career average. Broxton also continued to not strike many batters out, with his 8.06 rate with the Reds lower than every other season in his career aside from the injury-laden 2011 and the first half of 2012 with the Reds.
This contract has a real possibility of being a negative for the Reds. Cincinnati plans to move Aroldis Chapman to the starting rotation and use Broxton in Chapman's role in the ninth, which is essentially a "now or never" move for Chapman so they don't get too comfortable with him in the bullpen and waste his abilities. I'm getting flashbacks to a few years ago, when the Pirates nontendered Matt Capps, the Nationals signed him for peanuts, and the Twins traded a top-tier catching prospect in Wilson Ramos for Capps, who was mediocre for Minnesota before hitting the free agent market this year and not getting much interest.