Anxiety-inducing closer Jonathan Broxton departed the Royals on Tuesday afternoon in fitting form a deal that just beat the 3 p.m. non-waiver deadline.
The Royals sent Broxton, who generally pitched his way out of jams, to the Cincinnati Reds in a deal for two minor-league pitchers: right-handed starter J.C. Sulbaran and lefty reliever Donnie Joseph.
Sulbaran (pronounced SOOL-buh-ron) is a former high school teammate of Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer in Plantation, Fla.
The trade was first reported by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
Sulbaran, 22, is 7-7 with a 4.04 ERA in 19 starts at Class AA Pensacola in the Southern League. He was the Reds 30th round pick in 2008 after graduating from American Heritage High School.
The Royals selected Hosmer with the third overall pick in the 2008 draft.
Joseph, 24, was a third-round pick in 2009 and has split time this year at Pensacola and Class AAA Louisville. He is 8-3 overall with a 1.72 ERA in 44 games, including 4-1 and 2.86 ERA in 18 games at Louisville.
Several clubs inquired on Broxton, a pending free agent who compiled a 2.27 ERA in 35 appearances with 23 saves in 27 appearances. He is owed about $1.5 million on the one-year deal he signed last November as a free agent after seven years with the Dodgers.
Right-handers Greg Holland and/or Aaron Crow, initially, appear the likeliest candidates to replace Broxton as the Royals closer. Holland is 4-3 with a 3.63 ERA in 41 appearances, while Crow is 1-1 and 3.77 in 46 outings.
Broxton moves from the last-place team in the American League Central Division to the first-place team in the National League Central Division. He also provides a power right-hander to a bullpen that includes lefties Aroldis Chapman and Sean Marshall.
The Rangers, Giants, Orioles and Mets also expressed interest in Broxton prior to the deadline.
Broxton was an All-Star in 2009 and 2010 with Los Angeles before missing most of last season because of an elbow injury that eventually required surgery in September to remove a bone spur and other loose bodies.
The Royals originally signed Broxton, for $4 million, to serve as a set-up reliever for Joakim Soria, but that changed when Soria suffered a torn elbow ligament in spring training that subsequently resulted in Tommy John surgery.