The time has come for the Miami Marlins to swoop in and make a surprise move to bolster their bullpen for the June stretch run.
I know that’s a lot to unpack there. The entire Miami Marlins offseason was spent bolstering said bullpen, and it’s failure to live up to the hype consequently loomed largest on the list of many things that went wrong during that 5-23 skid. All the hot stove talk surrounding the Fish revolves around just who will be for sale come July, and a recent disturbing report indicates that no one on the MLB roster is being considered untouchable. Between that and the pending sale, any kind of significant addition would seem like a reach.
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Broxton is a former All-Star closer, and as recently as 2015 showed flashes of still having elite talent left in the tank. He’s loosely familiar with Dee Gordon and manager Don Mattingly, and extremely familiar with catcher A.J. Ellis. So there’s some common ground in the clubhouse. With plenty of MLB experience to build on, he could make the most of a fresh start with a new team.
The counter to this is that 2016 did see a fair amount of regression. He labored to a 4.30 ERA, and 1.253 WHIP. There is a reason the Cardinals released him, after all. Given their pedigree of success, the fact that the Cardinals front office seem to think he’s worthless is also worthy of real consideration.
However, the Cards are also right in the thick of the race for NL Central, and more than capable of making the playoffs. They have the financial luxury to cast off parts that aren’t fitting right, and have no time to suffer fools due to the high hopes they hold for the season.
They might be moving on because it’s the most expedient thing to do.
Where Broxton would fit
Whatever the case may be, the Miami Marlins are not in the same position as the St. Louis Cardinals. The past ten or twelve games have allowed fans to dare to hope for a rally, but the hope is still a faint one.
Broxton could be a bargain, as the Marlins would only need to a cut a check for the veteran’s minimum. As bad as he’s been in 2017, he has still been dramatically better than at least one Miami reliever. Particularly when it comes to the cardinal (pun intended) sin of walking batters.
I’m looking at you, Kyle Barraclough. In fact, I’m mentally packing your bags to New Orleans right now.
Barraclough is a great, must retain talent, and the heir apparent to A.J. Ramos at the closer position. But right now, he’s more anchor around the neck than anchor of the bullpen. Continually putting him in pressure situations is becoming criminal on Mattingly’s part. It’s not as if he doesn’t have minor league options remaining. He can join Adam Conley in AAA, work on his stuff, and return later on down the line.
In the meantime, give Broxton a chance to sort himself out. If he rebounds anywhere near his career average, he’s a steal. If he continues to struggle, the Marlins have lost only money, and about as little as it is possible to loose at that. Plus, you’ve reinforced the message you sent by sending Adam Conley down: perform or get out of the way. It also could give a bit of a jolt to the team, showing a trace of confidence in their continuing to turn things around, long shot that it may be.
The way I see it, there is no downside here. It’s a low-risk, potentially high reward move that costs next to nothing.
Exactly the kind of move the Miami Marlins typically tend to make.