Sandy Alderson has been very adamant that he will sign a free agent closer this off-season to fill the void left by Francisco Rodriguez. Who that closer will be is the big question. You can pretty much cross Heath Bell off the list. Francisco Rodriguez is an extreme long shot as well. And that’s not because the Mets wouldn’t be interested in bringing him back. It’s because he will command at least a 3 years deal (Think Soriano/Yankees deal).
The Mets will be looking for more of a stop gap closer. A guy who will take less money to come in and close games. A guy that maybe needs a season to showcase that he can still perform.
Could that guy be Jonathan Broxton?
Broxton fell out of favor for the closers job in LA during their abysmal 2011 season. They are almost certainly not bringing him back in 2012 due to the emergence of pitchers such as Kenley Jansen. Jansen set a MLB record of K/9 in 2011 with a whopping 16.1 average. He is a favorite to get saves in LA heading into the 2012 season.
Broxton saw his ERA jump 1.64 points from 2010 to 2011. This after his ERA jumped from 2.61 in 2009 to 4.04 in 2010. Why is his ERA jumping like this? Very likely its due to his diminishing velocity. If you remember how hard he through in the 2008 playoffs vs. Philadelphia it may paint a nice picture of why his arm in diminishing.
However, the Mets need a cheap option at closer. Money will be very thin this off-season if Reyes is re-signed. And if he isn’t re-signed that money won’t be spread out. There will be more money, yes. But that 20 million isn’t going out on the market necessarily. There’s a very good chance Alderson signs a few experimental guys for the bullpen and heads to Spring Training with a big try-out board on Terry Collins office wall.
I am worried about his ever increasing ERA, however if he comes cheap trying to re-establish himself it could work out for both sides. The fact that he may be willing to take a 1 year deal makes him an attractive option for Sandy Alderson.