Reds’ NL-best bullpen adds Jonathan Broxton from Royals

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You wouldn’t think the Reds would need more bullpen help, what with Aroldis Chapman and Sean Marshall leading a relief corps that has the best ERA in baseball, but Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Cincinnati has acquired Jonathan Broxton from Kansas City for minor leaguers Donnie Joseph and J.C. Sulbaran.

Broxton signed a one-year, $4 million deal with the Royals this offseason and took over as closer following Joakim Soria’s elbow injury. He’s saved 23 games with a 2.27 ERA, although his 25/14 K/BB ratio in 36 innings is sub par and well below the dominant numbers he once posted for the Dodgers.

Broxton gives the Reds a hard-throwing, late-inning bullpen option from the right side to go along with Chapman and Marshall from the left side. And the Reds now have seven relievers on the roster who’ve thrown at least 35 innings with a sub-3.50 ERA.

Joseph was the Reds’ third-round pick in 2009 and the 24-year-old left-hander has racked up 279 strikeouts in 208 innings as a minor leaguer to go along with a 3.50 ERA, reaching Triple-A this season. Sulbaran was their 30th rounder in 2008 and the left-hander has posted good strikeout rates with sketchy control as a starter, spending this season at Double-A as a 22-year-old. Neither is a top-ranked prospect, but the Royals did well to get them for a two-month bullpen rental.

Sandy Koufax to be honored with statue at Dodger Stadium

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Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.

Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.

Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.

Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign  on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.