Don Mattingly doesn’t want Jonathan Broxton back in 2012

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Jonathan Broxton is heading to free agency with his value at an all-time low and will be rehabbing minor elbow surgery for the next couple months.

His odds of re-signing with the Dodgers were probably slim already, but Don Mattingly made it very clear yesterday that he doesn’t want Broxton back for 2012, telling Tony Jackson of ESPN Los Angeles that he wouldn’t recommend re-signing the once dominant closer:

It’s hard to encourage anything at this point. We don’t know anything. Anybody who signs Brox at this point … they will look at his medical records and look at his past, and it’s a risk/reward thing. It’s not really the kind of season you want to be coming off of.

Mattingly is right, of course, but managers aren’t usually that candid about impending free agents who’re technically still on the team.

Broxton earned $4 million last season and $7 million this year, but he hasn’t been effective and healthy since early 2010 and his average fastball velocity has dipped from 97.8 miles per hour to 95.3 mph to 94.1 mph in the past three seasons.

Cleaning up the bone spurs in his elbow will hopefully help Broxton reclaim that lost velocity and get back on track as a dominant late-inning reliever, but he’ll likely have to settle for an incentive-laden one-year contract with a team other than the Dodgers.

Mike Rizzo and Shawn Kelley almost got into a physical confrontation

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A few weeks back the Washington Nationals designated reliever Shawn Kelley for assignment the morning after he threw his glove into the ground and glared at the Nats dugout in frustration after giving up a homer in a blowout win against the Mets. He was later traded to the Athletics. Nats GM Mike Rizzo said at that time that he thought Kelley was trying to show up his manager and that there was no room for that sort of thing on the team, offering an “either you’re with us or you’re working against us” sentiment in the process.

Today the Washington Post talks about all of the Nationals’ bullpen woes of late, and touches on the departure of Kelley as being part of the problem. In so doing, we learn that, on the night of Kelley’s mound tantrum, he and Rizzo almost got into a physical confrontation:

Rizzo headed down to the clubhouse and confronted Kelley, according to people familiar with the situation. The argument became heated, including raised voices, and eventually it almost became physical, according to people familiar with the exchange. Adam Eaton got between the two of them and separated them before things could advance further . . .

Might I point out that, the fact of this emerging now helps to vindicate Brandon Kintzler who, the day before, was traded away, some say, for being the source for negative reports from inside the Nats’ clubhouse?

That aside, the article does not make anyone look good, really. Rizzo had the backing of his team with the Kelley incident, but the overall story — how did the Nats’ bullpen, which was once a strength — get so bad? — does no favors for Rizzo. Mostly because he seems to have thought that they had so much extra bullpen depth that they could afford to deal away Kintzler, which he says was a financial move, not a punitive trade for being a media source.

Question: when was the last time you heard a baseball man say he had too much relief pitching? Especially today, in which the bullpen has assumed such a prominent role? Seems rather unreasonable to cut relievers when you’re trying mightily to come back from a sizable deficit in the standings, yes?