Exit Interview: Jonathan Broxton

For the fourth straight year, we’re taking some time in that time between the end of the season and the winter meetings to discuss each player that made an appearance on the St. Louis roster this season.  Whether they played almost every day or never actually got into a game, they get covered in this series.  All stats are exclusively their time in St. Louis.  Just think of this as them stopping by Mike Matheny‘s office for a quick evaluation before heading home for the winter.

Player: Jonathan Broxton

Season stats: 3-3, 2.66 ERA, 26 games, 23.2 IP, 20 H, 2 HR, 12 BB, 26 K, 1.352 WHIP, 3.56 FIP, 0.4 bWAR

Hero/Goat: Goat 3

Overall grade: B-

Positives: Was not charged with a run in 19 of his 26 appearances as a Cardinal….limited hitters to a .233 average when he wore red….struck out a shade more than one batter per inning after the trade….was able to pick up three wins as a Redbird and none of them came after he blew a save opportunity.

Negatives: Had a strikeout-to-walk ratio of barely over two while in St. Louis….had an OPS against of .796 in September….for the season, the first batter he faced had an .804 OPS….batters had an OPS of .985 against him in medium-leverage situations, .802 in high-leverage ones (entire season)….struggled going on back-to-back days this year, with batters getting him for a .904 OPS.

Overview: When John Mozeliak swapped a minor league outfielder for Broxton right before the trading deadline, the overall reaction was “meh”.  After seeing Broxton in action for two months, that reaction….really hasn’t changed much.  Broxton quickly became one of Matheny’s go-to relievers, with him and Steve Cishek seeming to elbow out Sam Tuivailala and Miguel Socolovich.  There were nights where Broxton could come in and be a dominant force, but there were others where his command or other issues led to, if not runs, at least some tense moments.  The postseason was much the same way–Broxton appeared in three of the four games and allowed a run in his second appearance only.  It’s not expected that Malik Collymore, the outfielder that went to Milwaukee, will necessarily turn into a star, so it’s kinda hard to work up a lot of emotion on either side of the spectrum for this deal.

Outlook: When the trade was made, Milwaukee sent along $1 million, which not-so-coincidentally is how much it’ll cost to buy out Broxton this offseason.  Given that the alternative is exercising his $9 million option, the choice here is pretty clear.  I guess the Cardinals could try to resign him to a smaller deal, but I don’t think there’s any real demand for that to happen.  The bullpen is going to look a lot different come Opening Day than it did at the end of the season and Broxton will most likely be plying his trade elsewhere. (EDIT: Since writing this, the Cards have declined that option, as expected.)

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