Daily Dodger in Review: Jonathan Broxton's unfamiliar terrain
Final 2011 stats: 1-2, 5.68 ERA, seven saves, 1.89 WHIP, 10 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings.
Contract status: Free agent.
The good: He saved seven games in eight opportunities, six in the month of April. Ah, did not throw a wild pitch?
The bad: Alas, pretty much everything else. Despite his 7.58 ERA after his infamous 48-pitch meltdown against the Yankees on June 27, 2010, Don Mattingly entered his rookie managerial season declaring Broxton was again the closer.
He tried to make it work, but those seven saves were not exactly of the impressive variety and soon Broxton was finally ’fessing up to a sore elbow. Which led to a bone-bruise diagnosis in his elbow and a stint on the disabled list from which he never returned.
What’s next: The great unknown. He just completed a two-year, $11-million deal. He was no doubt hoping for a big season heading into free agency but instead has become a humongous question mark, pun intended.
He’s probably going to sign an incentive-laden, one-year contract with someone, trying to prove he has recovered from his injury. If he does, he figures to be a bargain. If he doesn’t, it may prove a small roll of the dice.
Even his agent, however, admitted that the days of Broxton throwing 100 mph are probably over, and he never did completely master an offspeed pitch to complement his fastball.
The take: It is possible Broxton could return to the Dodgers, if his price is cheap enough. No one is going to sign him as a closer, so he’ll have to be willing to return to his original position as a setup man. And many would argue that he’s better suited for that role.
What Broxton is thinking remains unknown, since he stopped talking to the media the last couple months of the season. Not that he ever said a whole lot when he was talking. Still, those so frustrated with Broxton over the past year and half that they’re fine with throwing him overboard should remember he's still only 27 years old. And a two-time All-Star.
And sure, you would be more easily convinced he was putting forth the proper effort if he’d lose a few pounds, but after watching the specimen that is CC Sabathia pitch for the Yankees, Broxton looks almost svelte.
He might benefit from a fresh start elsewhere, but it’s not like he’s ever been a problem in the clubhouse, and he likes it here. If the price drops into bankrupt territory, Broxton could yet return.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Jonathan Broxton. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times.