Jayson Stark of ESPN.com has a fascinating look into what starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo has endured since the end of his 2013 season. Stark wonders why Arroyo still hasn’t had a deal, any deal, that Arroyo could even think about accepting or declining.
Arroyo’s name has been linked to a number of teams. His agent, Terry Bross, and Arroyo note that a dozen teams have contacted Bross, but nothing to this date has even taken shape. Nary an offer for he or his agent to even consider.
Within Stark’s article are some quotes from Arroyo and they are telling. In reading this, it appears that the incident that pushed him over the point beyond frustration was the money shelled out to Masahiro Tanaka.
“I get [Clayton] Kershaw,” Arroyo told ESPN.com. “I get why he got all that money. But then you’ve got guys like Dice-K [Matsuzaka], who came over here and was good for the first couple years but then didn’t pan out. And when he doesn’t pan out, they all just forget and go on to the next guy who’s not proven, and pay him.
“Meanwhile, they forget about guys like me, who have done the job for the last eight or 10 years, and treat them like they’ve never done anything in this game. That’s hard, man.”
And Bronson Arroyo has performed over those 8 to 10 years in which he speaks. And he rarely holds back when it comes to voicing his opinion. Ask him a question, you’ll get an answer.
Over his last eight years, Arroyo was a stalwart on the staff of the Cincinnati Reds. During that span, he posted a record of 105-94 (.528) with a 4.05 ERA and a 1.268 WHIP. Despite that ERA being over 4, it has been under 4 in four of the last five seasons. And don’t forget his home park when you consider that.
His SO/BB rate with the Reds was 2.57, but his BB/9 has declined every year since 2008, going from 3.1 in ’08 to 1.5 last season. Since 2005, the least number of innings Arroyo has pitched in a season is 199 (2011). Over the past three seasons, he has made 32 starts in each. This is as dependable and automatic as it comes.
Stark lists other notable stats in relation to Arroyo’s steadiness.
Of note is a quote Stark attributes to an AL exec.
“I’m not surprised that he doesn’t get it, because I don’t get it, either,” said one AL exec whose team isn’t a fit. “I guess people are concerned about his age [he turns 37 next month]. But he’s 37 going on 27. He’s got a loose, limber body. He’s never been on the DL. He never misses a start. He doesn’t cost you a draft pick. He’s a tremendous teammate. He’s helped a lot of [young] pitchers on his team. So I don’t understand it. I really don’t.”
Another thing that could be scaring away teams is Arroyo’s lifetime FIP and xFIP. With the number of teams that delve into sabermetrics these days, Arroyo doesn’t impress in these two categories (4.54 and 4.39, respectively). Last season was the first time Arroyo’s xFIP was below 4 (3.97). The last time his FIP was under 4 was in 2004 when he was with the Boston Red Sox. It was 3.82 that season.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. You know what you would be getting with Bronson Arroyo. You’ll get over 30 starts. You’ll get 200 innings. You’ll get that stinker of a game, but you will also get one of your club’s better efforts of the season, too.
Any club that has a prospect, or maybe even two, that need another year or so to season before joining its rotation would be well served to take a look at Arroyo. As the AL exec hinted, he’s more than just a pitcher. Those kids could learn for a veteran like Arroyo.
Ask Mike Leake.