Cincinnati Reds: What Happens If Jonathan Broxton Fails as the Closer in 2013

Tyler DumaFeatured ColumnistJanuary 27, 2013

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 18: Jonathan Broxton #50 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches against the Chicago Cubs in the ninth inning  on September 18,  2012 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cincinnati Reds defeated the Chicago Cubs 3-1.  (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
David Banks/Getty Images

Ask fans for their opinion on Cincinnati Reds closer Jonathan Broxton, and you'll likely receive different answers from every one of them.

Ranging from absolute distaste to complete trust, Broxton brings a fiery debate but not for traditional reasons.

Broxton is replacing Aroldis Chapman as the Reds' closer in 2013 to facilitate Chapman's move to the team's starting rotation.

Replacing arguably the best closer from the 2012 season is hardly an easy task, and fans' lofty expectations for the 28-year-old don't make his job any easier.

There are only two real scenarios for Broxton's upcoming season. He'll either fail, or succeed.

This article centers around the former scenario because, well, the latter is pretty boring and self explanatory.

Broxton failing at his new job would bring about a storm of decisions to be made, all of which center around Chapman's performance as a starting pitcher.

If Chapman is struggling as a starter, the Reds could (and should) elect to move him back into the bullpen as the team's closer.

Chapman made impressive strides toward becoming a more efficient pitcher last season and dramatically reduced his walk rate from 19.8 percent to 8.3 percent. Conversely, Chapman's strikeout rate skyrocketed from 34.3 percent to 44.2 percent (per baseball-reference.com).

While there's reason to believe that Chapman can be a successful starter, it's hard to argue that he can't be one of the best closers in the game.

If Chapman does in fact succeed as a starter and Broxton were to falter in his new role with the Reds, then the team could turn to one of three candidates.

J.J. Hoover, Jose Arredondo and Logan Ondrusek would be the in-house favorites to land the job.

Though none of them would be ideal at this time, each has their perks and drawbacks.

Hoover is young and has the ideal arsenal for a closer, including a near 93 mph fastball that he pairs with a big curve that he throws 19.5 percent of the time (per fangraphs.com).

Unfortunately, Hoover walked batters at a 10.5 percent clip last season, 2.5 percent above the MLB average of eight percent (per baseball-reference.com).

What is encouraging about Hoover, though, is that, as a minor leaguer, he had a walk rate of seven percent.

Arredondo is another possibility at closer.

Like Hoover, Arredondo has an impressive arsenal of pitches. According to Fangraphs.com, Arredondo pairs his 92 mph fastball with a slider and an 85 mph change-up. 

However, if Hoover's walk rate is alarming then Arredondo's is downright petrifying. Arredondo is the owner of an 11.8 percent walk rate over the course of his major league career.

That leaves Logan Ondrusek as the Reds' only other viable closing option in the event that Broxton is unsuccessful.

Ondrusek has a slightly higher than ideal walk rate at 10.5 percent (per baseball-reference.com). However, he does have a solid fastball and the ideal pitcher's build, 6'8" 230-pounds (per fangraphs.com).

Ondrusek looks like a major over achiever, though. With career FIP, xFIP and SIERA values of 4.71, 4.67 and 4.36, his 3.45 ERA seems like it's vastly lower than it should be.

As mentioned before, none of the Reds' in-house options are overly intriguing. If Broxton goes belly-up in 2013, and the Reds have their heart set on Aroldis Chapman as a starter, it could be a long season in Cincinnati.