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SAS CITY -- Royals closer Jonathan Broxton enjoyed his stay in Kansas City, but immediately saw a big benefit by being traded to the Cincinnati Reds. He joins a first-place club and picks up 20 games in the victory column.
Broxton was traded by the Royals just before Tuesday's 3 p.m. CT non-waiver Trade Deadline for two Minor League pitchers, left-handed reliever Donnie Joseph and right-handed starter J.C. Sulbaran.
Broxton, 28, can opt for free agency at the end of this season so it could be a short-term stay for him at Cincy. The Reds entered Tuesday with a 14-3 record since the All-Star break and 61-41 overall, leading Pittsburgh by three games in the National League Central. The Royals, with a 41-60 record, are last in the American League Central.
"I'm going somewhere where I'm picking up 20, 25 games right now," Broxton said. "I enjoyed my time here and I appreciate everything everybody did, but this is part of baseball. So I'm going over there and hopefully we can win a division."
Royals manager Ned Yost said that right-hander Greg Holland will take over Broxton's role as the Royals' closer.
"He was pretty obvious for me right now," Yost said. "He's been pretty consistent, and we feel that his stuff is all the way back to where it was last year when he was really successful."
No replacement for Broxton on the Royals' 25-man roster was immediately announced.
Broxton goes to a club that already has one of the best bullpens in the Major Leagues. Reds relievers have the top ERA, 2.66, and the most victories, 20, in the Majors along with 33 saves. Closer Aroldis Chapman has 21 saves in 25 opportunities.
"Here's a guy that can set up," said Reds manager Dusty Baker. "On days Chapman goes two or three days in a row, he can close. It gives us some more strength and a power arm in the bullpen."
The two pitchers obtained by the Royals will be assigned to the same level clubs they played for in the Cincinnati organization -- Joseph to Triple-A Omaha and Sulbaran to Double-A Northwest Arkansas, according to general manager Dayton Moore.
"We get two pitchers that we like a great deal. They're at the upper levels," Moore said. "We targeted as close to Major League-ready pitching as we possibly could. It was the deal that made the most sense and put us in the best position to move forward."
Sulbaran, 22, is 7-7 in 19 starts with Double-A Pensacola this season. He's posted a 4.04 ERA with 111 strikeouts in 104 2/3 innings. Born in Curacao, Sulbaran was a member of the Dutch National team at the 2008 Olympics and the 2009 World Baseball Classic. Sulbaran was a high school teammate of Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer at American Heritage High School in Plantation, Fla., a team that won the 2008 state championship.
Joseph, 24, is 8-3 in 44 games between Pensacola and Triple-A Louisville this season. In 26 games with Pensacola, he picked up 13 saves and boasted a razor-thin ERA of 0.89. In 18 games with Louisville, he's saved five games and has a 2.86 ERA. A native of Buda, Texas, Joseph was a third-round pick of the Reds in 2009 and was the organization's Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2010.
The 6-foot-4, 300-pound Broxton had 23 saves in 27 opportunities in his only year with the Royals. He has a 2.27 ERA in 35 games, 32 of which he finished. In 35 2/3 innings, he gave up 36 hits (one home run), 14 walks and nine earned runs.
Signed as a free agent, Broxton's role was supposed to be as a setup man for closer Joakim Soria. However, Soria had to undergo Tommy John surgery during Spring Training and Broxton took over as the closer.
His style was to work slowly and many of his saves were white-knuckle adventures, often ending with the potential tying or winning runs on base or at the plate. Of his 23 saves, only six were achieved with 1-2-3 innings.
The trade wasn't a surprise to Broxton, but his destination was, especially from what he'd heard in trade buzz.
"Everything that was going on was Texas, Texas, Texas and Cincinnati jumped right in at the last second and they got me," he said.
Broxton goes to the Reds with great credentials. He was a two-time All-Star with the Los Angeles Dodgers, notching 84 saves for them in six years. He had 36 saves in 2009 and 22 in '10, his All-Star seasons.
Last year, however, he pitched just 14 games for the Dodgers because of bone spurs in his right elbow. He underwent arthroscopic surgery last Sept. 19. His one-year contract with the Royals called for $4 million plus $1 million in incentives based on games pitched.
While Broxton is moving up in the standings, he feels that the Royals will be moving up soon as well.
"They've got a bunch of talent here, they're not far away from winning here either," he said. "I came here and just tried to be a leader to some of these young guys and I hate that I have to go, but I've got to go."
One player who was the subject of early trade rumors, right fielder Jeff Francoeur, was pleased that he wasn't dealt at the non-waiver deadline.
"I like it here," Francoeur said. "I probably haven't played well enough to get traded right now, but it can happen at any time. But we're going to miss Brox. He's a great guy and he wanted to stay, you could tell that. But this is a great opportunity for him to go out and be in first place and go to the playoffs. But he can always come back next year. That's the great thing -- he's a free agent."