The Cincinnati Reds have re-signed reliever Jonathan Broxton.
The club announced on its website that Broxton agreed to a 3-year, $21 million dollar contract, paving the way for the Reds to move the highly touted Aroldis Chapman into a starting role. Chapman served as closer last season.
Only 28-years-old, Broxton’s new contract includes a $9 million option for a fourth year and has a limited no-trade clause. Broxton gets to pick 10 teams each year that would be acceptable in a trade, and if he is traded, the $21 million deal becomes $22 million.
The Associated Press reports Broxton joined the Reds last July in a trade with Kansas City. He had been the Royals closer, picking up 23 saves in 27 chances before the trade. He filled that role for the Reds late in the season when Chapman needed rest, earning four saves with a 2.82 ERA.
Chapman, known for his devastating fastballs that consistently top 100 MPH on the radar gun, had 38 saves in 43 chances, including a franchise single-season record 27 consecutive saves for the Reds last season. Overall, he went 5-5 with a 1.51 ERA, 23 walks and 122 strikeouts as the Reds went on to win the National League Central Division.
Broxton agreed to the deal because he wanted to settle in one place and reportedly did not insist on being the team’s No. 1 option at closer.
“As long as we’re winning at the end of the day, I don’t care if I pitch the seventh, eighth, ninth or 10th,” Broxton said. “It doesn’t matter to me. As long as we’re winning, I’m happy.”
The Reds re-signing of Broxton opens the door to Chapman starting, but it doesn’t mandate it. Team officials so far have only said that nothing is set in stone and that it all depends on what happens in spring training.