ST. LOUIS - For the second time in a week the Cardinals strengthened the back end of their bullpen with the addition of Jonathan Broxton from the Milwaukee Brewers.
While his 5.89 ERA in 40 appearances doesn’t evoke confidence, the 31-year-old has come on stronger in July holding opponents to a .185 average. His recent improvement and ability to eat up innings attracted the Cardinal GM.
“When you look at the last 6-8 weeks he's been through, we felt confident he was trending in a very strong direction,”John Mozeliak said. “Putting him into our a bullpen with Steve Cishek is definitely going to help the manager not overuse Seth Maness and Kevin Siegrist.”
The deal also makes clear that fellow reliever Jordan Walden is not healthy enough to rejoin the team. Walden has been completing his rehab assignment in Memphis (AAA), but has encountered problems with heat exhaustion and feeling strength. Mozeliak said they may send the right-hander to Florida to help him rebuild his strength, but wouldn’t commit to a specific plan.
“This gives us more flexibility in the 7th and 8th inning,” Mozeliak added, “We’ve been waiting [for Walden], but at some point you’re going to have to do something. This deal is something we talked about for a few days. We could have waited until the waiver period, but we got to a comfort level where the dollars were right to do it.”
Broxton has a plethora of late inning experience with 118 career saves while earning All-Star honors in 2009 and 2010 with the Dodgers. This year he has 11 holds in 36.2 innings. Broxton gives Mike Matheny the ability to chose an 11 year veteran in late innings over the young guns from Triple-A.
“We were really hoping Walden would shoulder this for the most part, but that hasn’t been there,” Matheny said. “It’s a big hole to fill.”
Broxton is not expected to be available for Friday’s game against the Rockies. He will wear jersey number 30. To make room on the 25-man roster, the Cardinals optioned Miguel Socolovich.
The Redbirds received cash considerations along with Broxton while sending the Brewers minor leaguer Malik Collymore.