The Cincinnati Reds inked a new closer on Wednesday.
The Reds and free agent right-hander Jonathan Broxton have reportedly agreed to a 3-year deal worth approximately $21 million, according to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. The signing likely means a move to the starting rotation for Aroldis Chapman (barring injury) as Broxton will be inserted into the closer role.
Broxton's contract also includes a $9 million club option for 2016 and a limited no-trade clause. If he is traded, it becomes a $22 million contract with a mutual option. He has already passed a physical.
The 28-year old Broxton was initially acquired by the Reds on July 31 from the Royals and finished out the season quite well in a setup role. He produced a 2.82 ERA, 3-3 record, and four saves in 25 appearances for the NL Central Champs last year. He owns a 3.10 ERA and 111 saves in his 8-year big league career.
Cincinnati had also been rumored to be interested in free agent closer Ryan Madson and Joakim Soria. Madson signed with the Reds prior to this past season, but never threw a single pitch after suffering an elbow injury in spring training, which required him to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. On Tuesday, ESPN reported that Madson had signed with the Los Angeles Angels to a one-year contract.
Wednesday's signing continues a trend by the team to spend big-time cash on relievers. They paid out $8.5 million in salary and buyout money to Madson during the 2012 campaign and over $12 million to Francisco Cordero in 2011. They're on the hook for nearly $17 million over the next three seasons for lefty Sean Marshall and $10 million through 2015 for Aroldis Chapman.
Some may argue that their limited payroll funds could be better spent elsewhere. Only time will tell. But for now, Cincy has the option of boasting one of the best pitching staffs for a handful of years to come.