Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Reds are “in serious talks” to re-sign free agent reliever Jonathan Broxton and adds that the contract is “expected to be a multi-year deal.”
Broxton was traded from Kansas City to Cincinnati on July 31 and the big right-hander threw 22 innings for the Reds with a 2.82 ERA and 20/3 K/BB ratio. He hadn’t been nearly that dominant for the Royals, posting a 25/14 K/BB ratio in 36 innings, but still managed a 2.27 ERA in his first taste of the American League.
Re-signing Broxton dramatically increases the odds of Aroldis Chapman being given an opportunity to move from the bullpen to the rotation in 2013, because a few weeks ago Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said the decision “depends on if we re-sign Broxton and [Ryan] Madson.”
Broxton has plenty of closing experience for the Dodgers and Royals, and could step into the ninth-inning role for the Reds while Chapman gives starting full time a try.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.
Veteran Omar Infante has spent the overwhelming majority of his career as an infielder, but the Tigers plan to give him some playing time in center field this spring. The Tigers’ center field situation is still murky and adding more versatility would increase Infante’s odds of making the roster.
Infante, 35, signed a minor league deal with the Tigers in December. He played 39 games for the Royals last season, batting .239/.279/.321 in 149 plate appearances while playing second base exclusively. Infante last played in the outfield in 2010 with the Braves, and last played center field specifically in ’09 with the Braves.
The Tigers currently have Mikie Mahtook, Tyler Collins, and JaCoby Jones at the top of their center field depth chart. It is not what one would call “optimal.”