After the 1973 season, Sparky Anderson urged Reds General Manager Bob Howsam to trade Ross Grimsley. Sparky was tired of Grimsley’s attempts to grow long hair and not shave and was spooked by the lefthanded pitcher’s belief in black magic. Howsam initially didn’t want to do it but he eventually traded Grimsley to the Baltimore Orioles for Merv Rettenmund and Junior Kennedy.
It was a bad trade for the Reds. Grimsley grew an Afro and a big mustache and won 93 games over the next eight years, including a 20-game win season for the Montreal Expos.
Sometimes, you don’t appreciate the players you have.
Thus, Bronson Arroyo. This is probably his last year with the Reds and it’s not because Walt Jocketty wants to trade him. It’s economics more than anything else. One thing the Reds are deep in is starting pitchers and Bronson Arroyo, at 36, is the oldest member of the starting staff. But he’s still 9-8 this year, is pitching well and recently shutout the Giants on the start of a crucial 11-game road trip in Cincinnati.
This article isn’t a debate on whether to keep Arroyo or not. I think most Reds fans want to keep him but understand the stark reality of the current market. Arroyo is still a productive pitcher and from all accounts a good guy in the clubhouse. He’s candid, frank, and is popular with Reds fans. He’s also won 100 games with Cincinnati and pitched one of the best post season games in Reds history (Game 2 of the NLDS in 2012) when he shutout the Giants on one hit for 7 innings.
The Reds acquired Arroyo from the Red Sox in 2006 for Wily Mo Pena, which will undoubtedly go down as one of the better trades in recent Reds history. Pena was beloved by Jim Bowden, who never tired of having five tool players. But Pena was more impressive in batting practice than on the field and the trade was a spectacular steal for the Reds.
Bronson Arroyo deserves a spot in the Reds Hall of Fame. His durability, statistics, post season play, and reliability demand it. True, there is always the Good Bronson and the Bad Bronson but this comes with the territory. Homer Bailey tosses a no-hitter and then doesn’t win for the next three or four starts. It happens.
Bronson’s shutout against the Giants last week underscores his importance. He gave the bullpen a rest, threw a complete game, and gave the Reds a breather as a team for a day.
He always takes the baseball. He isn’t on the DL. He gives you 200 innings a year. He’s a pro.