Jonathan Broxton, Aroldis Chapman and Mike Leake's Tangled Web

David Banks

Broxy 4 Contract?

Jonathan Broxton hasn't signed a deal with the Reds yet, but they say it's "serious." Serious enough to get some chatter going -- from the depths of Twitter all the way to Fangraphs.

If the Reds are probably signing Jonathan Broxton, then they're probably making a mistake. Because he's probably getting 2-3 years and maybe $7-8M per year. I'm not nearly as down on Broxton as some, but that's not money well-spent. Not on a closer, anyway. Especially if the Reds' budget isn't increasing significantly in 2013.

But while a team like the Rays is a model for getting saves on the cheap - they paid Fernando Rodney $1.75M to post a microscopic ERA last season - they also paid Rafael Soriano $7.25M in 2010. A Broxton contract wouldn't be an albatross. And it wouldn't be unforgivable.

So if they're probably bringing back the Guns of Broxton, then they're probably going to try Aroldis Chapman as a starter. Apart from all the reasons we've debated over the past two years for why they need to try this Grand Experiment before it's too late, there's also an easy smell test. I can't imagine a bullpen that pays Broxton and Sean Marshall $10M+, but also contains Aroldis Chapman.

And so if Chapman is probably joining the rotation sometime next year, then Mike Leake is probably leaving it. Anyone who has followed the Reds in the Chapman and Francisco Cordero era has gotten an earful about the sin of multi-year closer contracts and the virtues of Aroldis Chapman as Randy Johnson.

But this Mike Leake part is something a little different. The obvious move is that Leake would head to Louisville if Chapman joined the rotation. Though Leake is a perfectly capable of being a fifth starter or better, if you're not trading anyone, he's first out.

Except the Reds might trade someone. Both Leake and Bailey will be getting raises, so it could be a way to upgrade the offense and offset whatever payroll you're taking on.

That's at least something to talk about here - other than the fact that the Reds may be about to give a closer too much money.

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