The Cincinnati Reds traded Pensacola Blue Wahoos pitcher J.C. Sulbaran and former Wahoos pitcher Donnie Joseph to the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday for reliever Jonathan Broxton.
"We get two pitchers that we like a great deal,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore told reporters. “They're at the upper levels. 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."
Joseph and Sulbaran initially will play in Kansas City’s minor league system for now, though. Moore said Joseph, 24, will report to the Omaha Storm Chasers of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League and Sulbaran, 22 – a teammate of Royals’ first baseman Eric Hosmer at American Heritage High School in Plantation, Fla., heads to the Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals of the Texas League.
Joseph, who pitches left-handed, is 8-3 in 44 games between Pensacola and Triple-A Louisville this season. He became a fan-favorite with the first-year Wahoos, earning 13 saves with a 0.89 earned-run average in 26 games with Pensacola. In 18 games for the Louisville Bats, the Buda, Texas, native has saved five games and posted a 2.86 ERA. Joseph was a third-round pick of the Reds in 2009 and was the organization's Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2010.
Sulbaran 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 the Reds' 30th-round pick in the 2008 first-year player draft. He's 25-24 with a 4.68 ERA in the minors, but has 449 strikeouts in 413 2/3 professional innings.
Joseph is 16-14 with a 3.50 and 54 saves in four minor league seasons.
Broxton, who became the Royals’ closer when Joakim Soria was lost for the season because of an arm injury, will join Major League Baseball’s best bullpen in Cincinnati. Reds relievers have the top earned-run average, 2.66, and the most wins, 20, in the majors. Broxton, who earned 23 saves in 27 opportunities with Kansas City, is expected to be the setup man for Reds’ star closer Aroldis Chapman (21 saves in 25 chances).
“Here's a guy that can set up,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “On days Chapman goes two or three days in a row, (Broxton) can close. It gives us some more strength and a power arm in the bullpen.”