The Mets' season has been over for a little over a week now, and the hot stove talks are beginning to slowly heat up. The Mets are one of 26 baseball teams whose current focus is on the offseason. The other four are, obviously, the remaining playoff teams.
The Mets have no shortage of holes in their team. Sandy Alderson and his crew will try their best to successfully fill as many of those holes as possible this offseason. One of those gaping holes is the closer spot. The back end of the Mets bullpen is currently in a state of flux, and Sandy Alderson has made it clear that he's not afraid to look outside of the organization for bullpen help.
It currently seems as if the Mets will have a decent amount of money to spend this offseason. They won't be going on a spending spree, but they should have enough money to fill most of their gaps. Most of the money available this offseason will most likely go towards re-signing Jose Reyes, and if Reyes decides to go elsewhere, then that will completely change the tempo of the Mets' offseason.
One move that seems to make plenty of sense for the Mets is signing former Los Angeles Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton. He is a very interesting option at closer for the Mets. Broxton was regarded as one of the game's best young closers just a couple years ago, and now he is anything but that.
Broxton was chosen in the second round of the 2002 draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers with the 60th overall pick. He made his Major League debut in 2005, where he appeared in 14 games in relief for the Dodgers. He posted a 5.93 ERA in those 14 games, but he showed flashes of his talent. His career would really get going in 2006.
Broxton pitched in 68 games in 2006 for the Dodgers, posting a 2.59 ERA. Broxton continued to impress in 2007 and was given the closer's role in 2008. He flourished in the role and had a fantastic season in 2009 as the team's full time closer. He recorded 36 saves for the Dodgers in 2009, and it looked as if Los Angeles had found their future closer.
Not so fast. After a great first half of the season in 2010, things began to go downhill. Broxton struggled mightily in the second half of the 2010 season, and he would lose his role as the team's closer.
Despite his second half struggles in 2010, Broxton began this season as the team's closer, but his woes continued. He gave up eight runs on 15 hits and nine walks while striking out 10 in 12.2 innings. He would go on to spend the remainder of the season on the disabled list with an elbow injury. He was forced to go under the knife for elbow surgery, and it is said that he should be ready by spring training.
Broxton will be a free agent this offseason, and the Mets should take a good look at him. Broxton is the perfect definition of a low-risk, high-reward signing. Because of his recent injury and struggles, he will be fairly cheap.
The Mets don't have the money to get a premier closer on the market, and Broxton would perfectly fit in with the team financially. A one year incentive-laden deal worth around $1-2 million will be ideal for the Mets and Broxton. He will be given a chance to showcase his abilities, get his career back on track and hopefully net a big contract next offseason.
Broxton's velocity has been on a steady decline over the past few seasons, but that could have been as a result of his lame elbow, which is now in great shape after surgery. He also tends to walk a good amount of batters, but he counters that with his large strikeout numbers.
If Broxton is signed by the Mets, then he would most likely come into spring training and enter a battle to be the team's Opening Day closer. Bobby Parnell will be given a shot to land the closer job, and Broxton will have his work cut out for him.
This move makes so much sense for both sides. The Mets will get a closer with loads of talent and the potential to revert back to his 2006-2009 form. If Broxton recaptures his success, then that would put the Mets in a great position.
If the Mets are competing and Broxton is producing at a good rate, then the team could hold on to him for the rest of the season and try their luck at making the playoffs. On the other side, if the Mets are struggling but Broxton is pitching well, then the team could shop him at the trade deadline and possibly get a couple decent prospects out of it.
As for Broxton, he will get a chance to redeem himself on the big stage in New York. He would like to be a closer next season, and going to the Mets would give him a good shot at being a closer.
Mets fans are in store for an exciting offseason, and this situation will be closely monitored throughout the winter.