Mets Trade Rumors: Could Jonathan Broxton Help The Bullpen?

Jun 3, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Jonathan Broxton (51) delivers a pitch in the ninth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Kauffman Stadium. Kansas City won the game 2-0. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE

The Mets' bullpen has been dreadful this year, and its 5.00 ERA is the worst in Major League Baseball. Sandy Alderson has indicated that the team's primary focus as the trade deadline approches is relief pitching, and ESPN New York reports the team is considering trading for Royals closer Jonathan Broxton.

It's clear that the Mets have a need in the bullpen if they are to have a realistic shot at postseason play, and it makes sense that they would look to the Royals, owners of the third-worst record in the American League with a very strong bullpen. But Jonathan Broxton, despite his closer status, isn't even close to the best relief pitcher on the team. Greg Holland, Jose Mijares, Aaron Crow, Kelvin Herrera, and Tim Collins have all been better, judging by FIP, this year. Unfortunately, those five pitchers are all very young and very much under the Royals' control for the next few years. It's very unlikely that Dayton Moore will give up any of those pitchers in a trade.

Broxton made a name for himself with the Dodgers between 2005 and 2009. Over the course of those six seasons, he had a 2.92 ERA, 11.9 K/9, and 3.6 BB/9. In 2010, his walk and strikeout rates moved a notch in the wrong direction as he average fastball dipped from 97.8 mph to 95.3 mph, and he had a 4.04 ERA that was much higher than his 3.01 FIP. And last year, Broxton pitched just 12.1 innings with greatly diminished results as he struggled with an injury to his pitching elbow that ultimately required surgery in September.

Last winter, the Royals signed Broxton to a one-year, $4-million contract. Broxton has handled the duties as the team's closer with success so far, posting a 2.14 ERA, but his success does not look sustainable. Broxton's average fastball still comes in at a respectable 94.9 mph, but his 6.15 K/9 is the worst of his career. His 3.51 FIP and 4.12 xFIP both imply that he will regress over the rest of the season. Broxton's never been a pitcher to outperform his xFIP, either. If anything, his xFIP has always been lower than his ERA.

If the Mets can get Broxton for next-to-nothing, it would make sense to bring him on board, but he would not be the bullpen's savior. He'd actually fit in with the current bullpen quite well.

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