Just a short post today:
The Kansas City Royals made a strong signing today in agreeing to a deal worth $4 million guaranteed with Jonathan Broxton. Broxton spent much of last year injured, making just 14 appearances for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Before his injury, Broxton was a very good closer with a career ERA of 3.19. He’s just 27 years old still and agreed to become a setup man for the Royals.
As a Red Sox fan, this is the exact signing I was hoping they’d make. Broxton could compete with Bard for the closer’s role and if he had lost it, he would have become the setup man. Not just that, but he’s okay being a setup man – something many of the other elite closers on the market are not going to be.
But even beyond the Red Sox, Broxton has proven he can be a great pitcher. Whether he pitches that well after coming back from this injury is unknown, but his price tag isn’t outrageous and it is only for one year. How many teams around the league could use a strong setup man? Or even use a chance at having a strong setup man?
Broxton is anything, but a sure thing. But he has lots of potential and has already proven that he has the stuff. So congrats to the Royals on a strong pickup and to the Red Sox: why didn’t you try to sign him?
On to the AL Central, the most competitive division in baseball though not the most talented.
1. Cleveland Indians
2. Chicago White Sox
3. Detroit Tigers
4. Minnesota Twins
5. Kansas City Royals
Best Hitter: Miguel Cabrera
Best Pitcher: Cliff Lee
The Indians have some question marks in both their lineup and pitching staff, but a solid enough core of players to make them a slight favorite in this competitive division. Cliff Lee leads the rotation and is followed by Fausto Carmona, Carl Pavano, Anthony Reyes, and Aaron Laffey. Lee is a strong pitcher, but the end of that staff is very uncertain as no one really knows what to expect from the 2-5 pitchers. Grady Sizemore leads the lineup, but more questions exist in Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez, both of whom need to bounce back from tough 2008 seasons. Kerry Wood is the closer for Cleveland, but I doubt that he’ll spend the entire year on the active roster. A lot of questions remain for this team, but not more than the other teams in the division.
The White Sox have many questions as well, but also possess a solid rotation and lineup that make them a contender in the AL Central. Ace Mark Buehrle, John Danks, and Gavin Floyd lead the White Sox’s starting staff and though the second two are not stars, they are solid enough starters to keep Chicago in the game. A lineup with Jim Thome, Jermaine Dye, and Paul Konerko won’t be short of power, though their age is certainly a concern. Carlos Quentin and Alexi Ramirez are much younger and offer offensive skills as well. With Bobby Jenks closing out games, the White Sox will be capable of holding leads. Whether or not this team can overtake the Indians will depend upon the health of their lineup and the consistency of their rotation. Continue reading “2009 American League Central Preview”