The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired right-handed relief pitcher Jonathan Broxton from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for two players to be named later, the teams have announced. The news was first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports earlier today.
The Brewers move of Broxton comes just before the midnight eastern playoff-eligibility deadline today on August 31st. It is unclear whether the Brewers claimed Broxton off waivers, but considering his $9 million salary next season, plus his $9 million team option with a $1 million buyout for 2016, it seems very likely that he did clear revocable waivers.
Salary or not, Broxton will be an immediate upgrade to a Brewers bullpen that has the 13th-highest ERA and 10th-highest FIP on the season. Since the beginning of August, however, Milwaukee's bullpen has been among the worst in the major leagues, ranking 26th (or fifth-worst) in the major leagues for FIP.
The 30-year-old Broxton is in the midst of a three-year, $21 million deal that he signed with the Reds in November 2012. He will likely be an immediate upgrade to the Brewers' bullpen, as he is 4-2 with a 1.86 ERA and a 1.014 WHIP in 51 appearances. However, his 3.52 FIP suggests that his ERA has been better than it really should be, likely being helped by the Reds stellar defense. His 37 to 17 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his 48 1/3 innings is something to be concerned about.
Broxton first came up to the major leagues as a flame thrower with the Los Angeles Dodgers, with his fastest pitch ever recorded at 102.6 MPH (2009). He can still throw his fastball into the 96-97 MPH range, but it usually is around 93 MPH. One really good upside for the Brewers is Broxton's playoff experience. He has pitched in 16 playoff games, including five National League Championship games in 2008 and 2009 against the Philadelphia Phillies.
The addition of Broxton seems to make sense for the Brewers. Bullpen pieces are hard to come by, especially one with as much playoff experience as Broxton himself. His salary is a bit high, but depending on who the Brewers had to give up, the deal seems to be a very good trade for both sides.