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Is Jonathan Broxton a weighty matter for the Dodgers?

Real quick, to the obvious:

Jonathan Broxton is a big boy.

He is, indeed, the biggest boy in baseball. He’s listed at an even 300 pounds, which gives him 10 pounds on CC Sabathia (you know, that ace the Dodgers didn’t make an offer on).

He has always been a big boy, although he has grown. Five years ago, the Dodgers listed him at 240.

Now, pitchers come in all shapes and sizes. They can be toothpicks, giants, look like misplaced shooting forwards, and even sometimes, finely sculpted.

But with the 6-4 Broxton’s inexplicable fade in the second half, doesn’t it at least have to be asked whether he’s just a little too big? Too heavy? Not exactly in top-notch shape?

Couldn’t his location troubles and problem trying to aim pitches be attributed to his simply being in poor physical condition?

The Dodgers -- surprise -- say, no. Since Broxton is not ’fessing up to any injuries, they suspect that the problem is between his ears. It’s mental, not physical. Not a matter of being too heavy.

"I don’t know if it’s a conditioning situation," said general manager Ned Colletti. "I haven’t heard it is. I have great communication with our medical staff. If that was a concern of anybody’s, I would have heard about it."

Why isn’t it a concern? You’d think it’d at least be in the discussion when going down the list of possible explanations.

"Physically, I don’t see anything different about him than we’ve seen in the past," said manager Joe Torre. "I think right now it’s psychological part of it right now.

"Your mind rules your body and basically need to get something good under your belt before you can know rather than hope, when you come into a ballgame."

Before going into that now memorable meltdown against the Yankees on June 27, he was the model of consistency. He saved 16 of 18 games, was 3-0 and had a miniscule 0.83 ERA.

Trouble is, he’s been consistent since then too, just of the other variety: saved 6 of 10, is 2-5 and has a 6.29 ERA.

He’s lost his role as the closer, though the Dodgers hope it’s temporary. Hong-Chih Kuo has been remarkable, but they can’t afford to go into next season counting on his fragile elbow to hold up again.

They need Broxton to return to form, or get a new closer.

"That position is unique on the team," Colletti said. "There are a lot of different dynamics that go into it, including confidence. Sometimes the confidence can come and go. With rare exception in the history of that position, you’ve seen it come and go. And show back up."

If the Dodgers are actually going to count on it coming back again next season, is it too much to ask that Broxton report to camp in better physical condition? If nothing else, it would eliminate the possibility that his suddenly flat fastball is not the result of fatigue.

Trim down, get stronger, have more endurance. There’s a downside? And then maybe the mental aspect will follow.

-- Steve Dilbeck
 
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TO THE SAN DIEGO PADRES FANS WHO WERE CHANTING BEAT LA:

Beating LA shouldnt be your concern but the Giants and the Rockies. Also the possibility of not even making the playoffs.

CHOKERS!

I think the fact that Broxton is carrying so much weight is really hurting him. You can't say that a slimmer Broxton would not be a better Broxton. He is out of shape and looks like a mess. The Dodgers should definitely be concerned about him especially at more than $7 million next season.

I'd rather the problem was conditioning, because, I think, that would be easier to solve than a confidence issue. In particular, his conditioning could be improved during the upcoming offseason, but how do you improve confidence when there are no games to play?

Colletti has been running nose and nose with Pinocchio this year starting with his post McCourt separation declaration that ..."I have no inclination that anything will change from how the Los Angeles Dodgers do business."

Allow me to translate the Colletti quotes Steve posted today.

"I don’t know if it’s a conditioning situation".....really means.....It's absolutely a conditioning situation! The guy in the last row in the right field pavilion can see Broxton looks like a beached whale.

"I havent heard it is".....really means.....I'm tired of hearing about it!

"I have great communication with our medical staff"....really means.....The trainer called this morning to inform me we will soon need a crane to get Broxton from the bullpen to the pitchers mound.

"If that was a concern of anybody’s, I would have heard about it"......really means......I don't hear anything until Frank says I've heard it.

broxton has no breaking pitch and has to live or die by how he locates his fastball. earlier in the year, he was great, evidenced by his success and more importantly, his K:BB ratio. before the June 27 Yankee debacle, it was 48:5, almost 10:1 the right way. including June 27 and to date, it is 23:16, not even 2:1 the right way. His K rate has gone significantly down and his BB rate has skyrocketed. If they say it's nothing physical, then what is it? i can't believe it's mental, although it may be now, but i think he just can't paint the corners now and the cause of that could most definitely be fatigue. at this point, they ought to give jensen a shot and shut broxton down for the season. let him get in shape, both mentally and physically for 2011.

Jeezum, just DON'T TRADE HIM, Mr Ned!

HE WILL COME BACK TO HAUNT US FOR 10 YEARS.

Couldn't care less how much this worthless tub of goo weighs as long as he never wears a Dodgers uniform again.

Broxton is a problem that should be solve by another team. HE HAS KILLED US FOR TWO YEARS IN A ROW. Please send him away as I am tired of watching him lose big games and end winning streaks while prolonging losing streaks. We don't want another Todd Worrel. MOVE HIM!!!!!!!

TO THE SAN DIEGO PADRES FANS WHO WERE CHANTING BEAT LA: When the dodgers are laying down for you, (because they want you to win not the Giant Losers.)you do not chant beat LA. As for the collapse I just say, .....They are what we thought they were. They are what we thought they were. They are what we thought they were.

Don't mess with Ned. He's the best GM we have had in quite some time. He has done the best under the circumstances. I'd like to see what he can put together with a decent payroll.

Isn't it funny that the someone on the Atlanta Braves said the Padres would not be there at the end and now the Braves may not.

hey steve turner, no offense or disrespect, but ned had a payroll and money to burn. what did he do? he gave us jason schmidt, andruw jones and juan pierre. i think we all know what he would do with a decent payroll and it was not, or will not, be good. fire ned. hire logan white.

broxton needs to go! he's a headcase!

Careful what you say about fat people, Steve. There are more of us than of you.

I still say Kuo is the way to go as our elite closer. Everyone agrees Kuo is dominant, even when he was a starter. Now, if Broxton regains his confidence and stay in a better physical shape, he can be a setup man. Broxton is unreliable in big games as history has shown. We already paid the prices for the past two post-seasons as well as this season. Enough is enough. Kuo, because of what he has gone through personally, is mentally a lot tougher. Broxton, in contrast, is just a big crying baby.

By the way, since we are analyzing who should go, can we please get rid of Steve Lyons and Erik Collins? I don't need stupid jokes or lame stories. I know Kemp will look at 2 strikes and act like he is about to get beaned, and then swing at at a pitch down and away. Please stop pimping him like he is a star. We don't need mighty Duck like homers in the booth. Dodger fans are smart. We know that if we are one run down and leave the bases loaded, that the next inning Broxton or Belisario will give up 2 more runs. Torre, Mattingly and Honeycutt should go. This has been THE most painful season ever to watch. 2 or 3 heartbreak losses are normal every season... but15 to 20? OUCH!

Okay, here's the deal: Broxton has to increase his pase on the mound. He pontificates like a starter. Get ball, get sign, throw ball. This walking around the mound for an hour thinking about coon hunting and such has to end. Too much time to think for a country boy. Also, he needs a new pitch. Possibly a splitter.

Broxton is not a closer .............. never was, never will be

Something is wrong with Broxton.
Why is he having such a difficult time locating the ball?
Why is he having such a difficult time throwing the slider?
Why is his fastball so straight?
All of this became more pronounced after his appearance in the All Star Game this year.
Since the All Star Game he stinks.
Bold Prediction:
His injury will be disclosed in the off season.

Or maybe trimming down makes it worse - i.e. Andruw Jones . . . loose too much, lose strength.

Don't think he's hurt. He's fat but we've seen many overweight pitchers have long and successfull careers. He's just scared, probably dealing with adversity for the first time in his life. For pitchers more than hitters, this game is all about adjustments. He came up with 98-100mph and chalenged guys to hit it. They started to and he dropped down to locating at 95-98 and was even better. Sooner or later a fastball becomes to familiar to opposing batters and it happened sooner and with drastic results and his slider is not good enough to save him. Why he doesn't throw a change is beyond me but he'd better start. And Hollywood is right a splitter would be great. Neither pitch is hard to learn and with his fastball they don't have to have great movement he just needs to be able to locate. I hope he appreciates the 7mil he's about to get paid and spends some time in a winter league learning to throw them because he's not gonna last in the N.L. if he doesn't and they got video in the A.L. too.

Does Ned still have that trained skunk residing on his head?

@N.P.Krohn - Thanks for bringing up the lack of a change up. Gagne came up to the Dodgers with a similar repetoire (fastball, curveball), but it wasn't until he began throwing a change with regularity that he became a dominant closer. Broxton is totally dependent on location, but with a change, speed now becomes an additional factor for the batter to consider. How many times have we heard Vin Scully talk about a batter striking out at a change up in the dirt?

Blame the Dodger front office. Broxton came up too fast, he should have stayed in the minors and developed a better breaking pitch and a change. It is also my contention that Broxton should have been groomed as a starter.

What's really bugging me about this situation is the Dodgers are doing the exact same thing with Kenley Jensen. So he's been a pitcher for only 2 seasons and he already looks special, but how great can he be and can he be a starter with proper development?

Broxton became a reliever to plug a hole. I would not be surprised to see Jensen as the closer next year, again to fill a hole. So instead of becoming the next CC Sabathia, we'll see Kenley Jensen become the next Jonathan Broxton.

I think Broxton is thinner this year than last year. Russ Ortiz, who always had a soft body, got in really good shape one year and had his worst year ever. He felt he was less flexible when in better shape. He stopped working out and went back to his form. Broxton's problem is two-fold, he is not throwing strikes and is not throwing the slider in the dirt. When he does not get ahead, all he throws are fastballs. The big league players sit on the fast ball and hit it a mile (i.e. Matt Stairs). When he is ahead, they have the slider in the back of their mind. Also, when Broxton does not throw the slider in the dirt, the hitters and adjust and put their bat on the sliders that are in the strike zone. While these hits are not hard, these bloppers sometimes fall in. A slider in the dirt is unhittable, so when they swing it is a strike.

Now, why he is not throwing strikes or the slider in the dirt is the million dollar question: injury, confidence, and bad game plan.

So what did Steve say about fat people? Who cares? Besides, overweight people is one of the reasons that my health insurance rates go up every year!
Back to Broxton, give him one more year, but the Blue should bring in a new pitching coach. Honeycutt is not a good fit for the pitching staff.

I'm a big boy-5'8'',218 lb.,171/2'' biceps,about 20 lb.,overweight.(Though,without
attempting to come off braggadocious,regarded a boyishly handsome,57-year-old Canadian lad said to resemble a handsome black cowboy.(A steer wrestler or "bull-dogger,"the biggest and strongest rodeo cowboys).Jonathan Broxton is a TUB OF LARD!!!(dude makes 70's-era blobbo Terry Forster lok like Timmy Lincecum!!!!
Good thing Broxton's fastball approaches one-third his weight,i.e.,100 mph.,or he'd be in,err,BIG TROUBLE!!!Incidentally,Yankees new mini-hippo Bartolo Colon is listed at 5'11'',245 lb.Two-FORTY-FIVE???WITH ONE TOE ON THE SCALE,MAYBE!!!)
I believe I've found my boy Jamie Logdson's illegitimate son.After all,they're both 6'4'',300 lb.,and Jamie's 55 while Broxton's 26.(Another question:Does this mean the Baron of the Scale-Busters,Walter Young [remember him;2005
Baltimore Orioles,except what Oriole have any of us seen is 6'5'',323 lb.,Young's
MLB-record-breaking weight?],may yet return to the Show?)


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