But injuries and inconsistency have plagued the burly right-hander over the last two seasons, and on Tuesday Broxton cut ties with the team that selected him in the second round of the 2002 draft.
Only 27, Broxton was limited to 12 2/3 innings in 2011 and had arthroscopic surgery on his throwing elbow in September. The Royals will be hoping he can return to the form — or something close to it — he displayed in 2009 when he registered 36 saves and posted a 13.5 strikeout per nine ratio.
Broxton’s ERA ballooned from 2.61 in 2009 to 4.04 in 2010 and 5.68 last season when he managed only seven saves and was replaced by a slew of moderately-effective Dodgers relievers.
It became clear Los Angeles considered Broxton expendable, but Kansas City was hardly an expected landing spot as the Royals already boast a proven closer in Joakim Soria, who has 133 saves over the last four seasons. The two-time defending American League champion Texas Rangers were among the 10 or so other teams rumored to be interested in the two-time All-Star.
“We are delighted to add someone as talented as Jonathan to our bullpen,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. “He will be used in a setup role to closer Joakim Soria and will help solidify what we feel is a young and talented bullpen.”
That bullpen also features 2009 first-round pick Aaron Crow who had eight holds and a 2.76 ERA in 62 innings during his rookie campaign in 2001.
If Broxton can become a reliable set-up man for Soria, or move into a long reliever role, he would help the Royals build their pitching staff from back to front and bolster a roster looking to reach the .500 mark in a season for the first time since 2003.