Monday, March 07, 2011

Broxton On The Bubble

I'm not a fantasy sports guy, but AJ Mass has an interesting article about whether Jonathan Broxton will survive the year as the Dodgers' closer. His answer is a pretty tepid yes with a very short leash:

Joe Torre is gone, and Don Mattingly has taken over as manager of the team. He immediately put the issue to rest, assuring all who would listen that Broxton is his closer. On the team's official website, Mattingly said, "I'm counting on him pitching good, and I told him that. I'm not concerned with anything that happened last year. I'm counting on Jonathan being the closer and pitching well and being what he's been his whole career."

And let's be honest -- what choice does Mattingly have but to say that? If he shows any hesitation or hems and haws in the slightest, all he accomplishes is to exacerbate whatever lingering lack of confidence Broxton may be feeling after his second-half collapse. Kuo can't close day in, day out thanks to four elbow operations over his career. Jansen, although ranked No. 17 on my colleague Jason Grey's list of Top 50 fantasy prospects for 2011, is incredibly raw.

Plus, even if Mattingly may eventually turn to someone else as the summer drags on, you can't overlook the financial aspect of things. Broxton will earn $7 million this season and free agency looms in the offseason. Showcasing Broxton early on might result in enticing some suitors calling on Los Angeles. He'll have far more value via trade as a guy who has once again proved his closer capabilities than being buried in a set-up role.

So would I draft Broxton? Absolutely. The top-10 upside is too good to simply cast aside. Every closer goes through a rough patch or two in his career. Heck, just last season, the great Mariano Rivera had an ERA of 7.36 and an opposing BAA of .310 after Sept. 10. He's still being drafted second among closers in ESPN standard drafts for 2011.

What about the guy being taken first? It's Brian Wilson, who in 2009 had a mid-May slump that saw him lose three games, blow two saves and record an ERA of 9.53 with a .375 BAA. He more than proved last season that he could put a horrific stretch of failure behind him.

So, like Don Mattingly, I definitely will give Jonathan Broxton the benefit of the doubt. But don't break the bank to get him. Mattingly isn't your typical new skipper, who is coming into the organization from the outside. No, he was there last season and saw the meltdown with his own eyes. It won't take much to start those butterflies a-churning in his stomach if Broxton stumbles out of the gate.

I'm rooting for you, Brox. Keep your head in the game!


Gagne's lucky glasses said...

Did anyone else see this pic of your dad that was posted on facebook today?

Steve Sax said...

@GLG, thanks! We'll post it tomorrow!

Mr. LA Sports Czar said...


@kengurnick: Dodgers asst. GM Kim Ng leaving to be Sr. VP of baseball operations at MLB. for more.

Fred's Brim said...

Good find, GLG! Pups of Steve Garvey!

Steve Sax said...

Thanks again GLG