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The Jonathan Broxton ride moves to Kansas City

Broxton-blog_640And so ends that, Jonathan Broxton the Dodgers’ next great closer.

It had looked so promising for a while. Big, imposing Broxton on the mound, firing serious heat. His mere presence intimidating, if not his 100-mph fastball.

But the promise waned in the postseason, and then after a strong start to 2010, came completely undone.

Now Broxton has officially moved on, signing a one-year contract Tuesday with the Kansas City Royals for a reported $4 million guaranteed.

That’s not a bad deal for a guy who missed most of last season with a sore elbow and ultimately had minor surgery. Broxton appeared in just 14 games, going 1-2 with a 5.68 earned-run average and seven saves.

In Kansas City, the pressure figures to be much less than under the bright lights and heavy expectations in Los Angeles. Plus, the Royals are not asking him to close but to set up Joakim Soria.

That, of course, is the role in which Broxton first gained acclaim with the Dodgers, and just possibly, is best suited.

For all the complaining of his twin postseason meltdowns against the Phillies, Broxton still left a body of work to be more admired than derided. He saved 84 games in his six seasons and was twice an All-Star.

There was, of course, his infamous meltdown against the Yankees on June 27 of the 2010 season, when Manager Joe Torre left him out there for a 48-pitch performance many felt he never recovered from.

When he finally admitted to elbow pain last season, rookie relievers Javy Guerra and Kenley Jansen blossomed at the end of the bullpen, so the Dodgers were ready to move on.

The mild-mannered Broxton too, it is clear. A fresh start seems best for all involved. Maybe in Kansas City he returns to form, or at least comes close. Maybe he adds an off-speed pitch, drops a few pounds, hits 95 mph.

He’s only 27, so there could still be a lot of baseball left for Broxton. Just not quite the way the Dodgers had once envisioned.

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-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Jonathan Broxton. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

 
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