Dodgers’ reliever Jonathan Broxton hasn’t pitched since early May due to a bum elbow, but until now there had always been some lingering hope that he’d be back this season. Hope to what end I have no idea because there hasn’t been a truly meaningful Dodgers game for months, but trainers don’t really concern themselves with that sort of thing.
Anyway, Broxton never got right enough to get into rehab appearances and get on a track back to the bigs, and the Dodgers have finally acknowledged the inevitable: that a little over two weeks from now the whole shebang is over until everyone meets up at Camelback Ranch next February and thus there is not enough time to get him back into fighting shape. Well, Jonathan Broxton fighting shape. Which is sort of like a distorted rhombus.
Where Broxton will be then is unclear, because he’s a free agent this winter and not even the Dodgers are in the business of signing faltering closers with bad elbows to contract extensions. Maybe the Yankees will do that, but not the Dodgers.
The Tampa Bay Rays have signed lefty swingman Ryan Merritt to a minor league contract. Nah, it’s not a big signing but we’ll take anything today.
Merritt, who has spent his entire career in the Indians organization, spent the entire 2018 season at Triple-A Columbus. It wasn’t a bad year for him — he posted a 3.79 ERA and a 52/2 K/BB ratio in 13 starts and two relief appearances covering 71.1 innings — but the Tribe just couldn’t find a role for him at the big league level. He has shown in the past, however, that he can hack it in the bigs, having posted a 1.71 ERA in 31.2 innings with the Indians between 2016-2017.
His thing is that he simply doesn’t strike guys out at anything approaching a typical clip for a big leaguer: 3.7 per nine innings in his small sample of major league outings and 6.3 Ks per nine innings in the minors. Which, while it may not prevent him from having success at the big league level, is likely a reason for the limited number of chances he’s been given.
The Rays are probably the best place he could go, frankly. They’ve shown themselves willing to utilize guys in unique ways and are more likely than most teams to find places to spot a lefty control specialist who has shown he can both start and come out of the pen.