Friday, April 6, 2012

Broxton Named Royals' Closer

The decision has been made and Jonathan Broxton will open 2012 as the Royals closer. I've got just a few thoughts on the subject.

First, I'm glad that the Royals went ahead and anointed a closer. Last season the Cardinals obviously had huge success in not naming a closer after Ryan Franklin's implosion. However, in the modern bullpen more often than not players perform better in clearly defined rolls. I'm glad the Royals will enter the year with clearly defined Royals for each of their bullpen arms.

Second, I'm glad the Royals chose Broxton over Holland to close ball games, but do not confuse this into me saying that I believe Jonathan Broxton is the better option. In the modern bullpen the closer role is often reserved for the team's top reliever. However, the traditional fireman role is often far more important. Holland only allowed 2 of 33 runners to score in 2011. By leaving him in the fireman role for 2012, the Royals are allowing him to once again be the most valuable pitcher in the pen.

Finally, there could be financial implications to this move. Saves are a statistic that are still valued more than they should be on the open market and in salary arbitration. Broxton will leave after 2012, so if his stock/market value rises it is no problem for Kansas City. However, if Greg Holland were to dominate in the closer position the Royals could pay the price through arbitration several times.

Hopefully, Broxton can lock down the 9th just like he used to do in Los Angeles and Greg Holland can be the fireman he was in 2011. If both of these things can happen, thanks to the depth, the Royals bullpen should be stronger in 2012, than they were with Joakim Soria in 2011.

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