2013 Reds / 2014 Reds

So long, Bronson Arroyo?

It’s not official yet, but Bronson Arroyo thinks his days as a Red may be over:

“I haven’t had one conversation with them,” Arroyo said. “They could be taking care of other things or other issues. The sense I get is by not having any conversation with me, is they’re going in a different direction. [Assistant GM] Bob Miller usually likes to get a leg up on these things and have a conversation.

Arroyo doesn’t think the Reds will make him a qualifying offer, which would be in the neighborhood of $14 million. If the Reds do make that offer, and Arroyo turns them down, the Reds would get a draft pick as compensation when he signs elsewhere.

The risk from the Reds side is that Arroyo will accept the qualifying offer and return next season. Now, that’s not such a bad thing if you are a big Bronson Arroyo fan like me. But $14 million is a lot of dough for a team that will need money to improve in other areas, especially when the Reds can just hand Arroyo’s rotation spot to Tony Cingrani.

Of course, if the Reds make the offer and Arroyo doesn’t accept it, the Reds would be taking a different sort of risk. Without Arroyo, Cincinnati’s depth in the rotation would be non-existent. Unless a certain fire-balling lefthander returned from the bullpen to become a starter once again, that is. (Dare to dream.)

Arroyo hopes to get a two-year contract on the open market, and I bet he gets it. We’ve probably seen the last of Arroyo in a Reds uniform. If so, he’ll be remembered very fondly in the Nation.

41 thoughts on “So long, Bronson Arroyo?

  1. My opinion: The Reds should make the offer IF that money isn’t committed elsewhere to Latos, Bailey, and Choo. In fact, I’d offer him the two year deal (but not three). Option A he stays and the Reds get two years of 200+ innings at an ERA probably under 4.00. And with his walk rate continuing to drop he gives the Reds a chance to win almost every game he starts. Option B he goes and the Reds get a compensation pick. Both options are good. If Arroyo stays it also means that other pitchers may be available to trade for a big right handed bat in left or at third. If one of the big arms has to leave the rotation to complete a trade for Stanton (or whoever turns out to be Stanton-lite) then I’m much more comfortable with that knowing Arroyo will stabilize the rotation every 5th day.

    Either way, Arroyo will be in the Reds hall of fame someday and I for one am glad he was a Red for so many years.

      • @dmr11: I don’t think of Arroyo as an “average” player. I think he’s a very good pitcher. Also, two year for Arroyo is not too long. That’s just about right. If Arroyo was prone to injury I might agree with you. But he has never been injured during his entire career. That makes him a better risk than a 27 year old fastball pitcher.

        There is no way I regret bring back Arroyo unless he’s broke down the whole time. I think he is an low risk, high reward type pitcher which awesome. And he is by far my favorite pitcher to watch. He is a master craftsmen and it’s like having another pitching coach in the dugout.

        Fact is, he’s been with the Reds so long I can’t imagine him not with the team. I want him to retire in Cincinnati and in an appropriate time, working with young pitcher as a special assistant.

      • @dmr11: No way of knowing, but Arroyo does seem to be the sort of pitcher who loses little with age, up to a point. Pitchers get injured frequently, so multi-year contracts always carry some risk, but I bet Bronson continues to be effective for more than a year or two.

  2. Hate to see BA go. He became a good leader of the rotation. It’s always sad when a good leader steps aside. He probably has 1-2 more years as a viable starter in MLB. The question I have is would BA make a good closer? Could he make the transition? Would he even want to make that type of transition to extend his career? I wonder if the Reds could flip-flop BA and Chapman? I think BA has the grit and makeup to be a closer. Does he have the stuff? Somebody is going to have to be the closer if they move Chapman to the rotation. BA could be the closer-1 and Hoover maybe closer-1A.

    • @WVRedlegs:

      you typically want a closer who can break 85 with his fastball once you get beyond high school ball. (and dont get me wrong, i’m a fan of BA).

      • @hoodlum:

        Thats the big reservation about such a move, I know. You’d like your closer to be able to break a pane of glass. But remember, you need just one good inning from your closer. BA is usually pretty good in his early innings, and then seems to lose it in the 6th inning or so. And when he goes south it is rather quickly. His HR rate is a bit scary too.
        But when he is pitching around the knees and painting the corners he is lethal. Again, you need just one inning from him. I think he could do it. Knowing he would be only going one inning instead of 6 or 7, maybe he could put a little extra mustard on his “fastball” and get it to 91 or 92.
        I can tell you from experience, that with guys that can tatoo a fastball, it is very frustrating to deal with the off speed junk pitchers. It takes a couple of turns through the order for a batter to acclimate himself to the “junk”. Thus, BA’s almost usual decline around the 6th inning.
        I’d like to see the Reds try it. If it doesn’t work out in spring training, the Reds can always seek a trade for him as the season starts. It’d be a gamble, but the Reds have to get Chapman into the rotation.

        • @Chris Wilson: Certainly, any mlb pitcher can close, but perhaps they can’t all close effectively. The position has probably been over-rated for some years, as you and many others say, but I suspect that the currently fashionable disdain for the importance of closers is a pendulum swing too far the other way. The closer isn’t important until you blow a few games in the 9th.

    • @WVRedlegs: I appreciate this outside the box thinking but I have to disagree with the move. While Bronson’s BB/9 (1.5) was the best on the pitching staff this season, his K/9 (5.5) was the worst. Since that’s a bit of a wash, I look at his HR/9 (1.4) which is again worst. HR’s become much more important in the closer role when the game is close and nearly over vs. a starter.

      But… both LeCure (0.6) and Hoover (0.8) have among the best HR/9 on the staff. Their walks and K’s are nearly identical, so I think either would be a great choice for closer. Then move Chapman to the rotation to take Bronson’s place. Voilà, problem solved

  3. He will be missed. However, he is simply not worth 14 million dollars. I do have a question. Is it within the rules to make Bronson a “low ball” two year offer (one that they know he will turn down), informally tell him to touch base if he receives a better offer (one that he is willing to take) from another team, then decide whether or not to extend to him a qualifying offer. Ii know this seems like dirty pool, but if there was some hint that he would turn down a qualifying offer, I bet Walt would be in a big hurry to extend one to him. I know I would be That draft pick would be nice.

    • @Drew Mac: Of course, the “touching base” would be under the guise that the Reds may match or exceed the offer from the other team.

  4. I guess I am a minority not seeing an issue in Bronson taking a qualifying offer and allowing Cingrani to develop his off speed pitches in AAA this year.

    If Bronson denies, no team in the league would offer a two year deal to someone who has a draft pick tied to them. I would then presume that Bronson comes back to the Reds on a two year deal for a lower AAV than 14M.

    • Moreover, I think it would be asking alot to expect Cingrani to pitch an entire season.

      He pitched 135 innings last year and 151 the year before. Remember also that he only pitched 7 or more innings in 4 of 18 starts this past season.

      I guess I am a minority not seeing an issue in Bronson taking a qualifying offer and allowing Cingrani to develop his off speed pitches in AAA this year.If Bronson denies, no team in the league would offer a two year deal to someone who has a draft pick tied to them. I would then presume that Bronson comes back to the Reds on a two year deal for a lower AAV than 14M.

  5. The Reds probably cannot assume that Bronson would not accept a qualifying offer. I could see a qualifying offer putting Bronson in a similar situation that Kyle Loshe faced last year, where a quality starter had difficulty finding a spot with a team. The inability to pick his team might just convince Bronswon to take the qualifying offer.

  6. What a tough one. I hate to see him leave, but I’d rather see the other 5 (possibly 6 if Chapman ever starts) prosper.

    This is a situation where the differences between the Reds and the Dodgers/Red Sox/Yankees of the world emerge. Those teams would re-sign him knowing they can find innings for him due to injuries, spot-starting, long relief, etc. But the Reds can’t do that. On a great team, he’s a luxury; on a good team, he’s needed; on a bad one, he’s the ace. I’m hoping the Reds can be a great team, so therefore, he’s a luxury they can’t afford.

  7. Timing is the issue that precludes trying to ‘rig’ the qualifying offer.

    All qualifying offers must be submitted by the 5th day after the WS ends.

    FA may signing contracts with new clubs beginning the 6th day after the WS ends.

    FA must accept or reject any qualifying offer by the 12th day after the WS ends.

    The Reds must make a decision on Arroyo’s qualifying offer before he negotiates any other FA contract and before the Reds can negotiate any other FA contract.

    I think Arroyo will get a 2-3 year deal from some savy GM, but the annual salary will be much less than $14MM. If the Reds offer Arroyo a $14MM qualifying offer, he almost has to accept it and then go through the same process agains after next season. The only risk for Arroyo is a serious injury that will prevent a contract after next season, thereby making the one year, $14MM contract less valuable than a 2-3 year guaranteed contract for $16MM-$25MM. Of course the Reds can also negotiate a FA contract with Arroyo along with any other team.

    As far as the draft pick compensation, teams have ways around that negative impact if they want to sign a FA linked to compensation. The benefit is to the team losing the FA by gaining an additional draft pick at the end of the 1st round, not necessarily the loss of a draft pick by the team signing a FA.

  8. I have a question why is depth considered shallow? Reds have several “veteran” minor league pitchers in the system

    Dan Corcino, age 23, 545 IP in the minors.
    Chad Rogers, 24, 352 IP.
    Tim Crabbe, 25, 565 IP.
    Josh Smith, 26, 483 IP.

    All 4 have been starters entire minor career with a lot of innings experience, especially when compared to what Leak/Cingrani had. Sure none of them are considered top prospects outside of Corcino before his bad year in AAA this year. My assumption is that all the Reds are looking for is a fill-in #5 type until whoever they replaced is off the DL, correct? I would think that all 4 of these should be on AAA squad for 2014 and starting there.

    So am I missing something? Am I too confident one or more of these guys would be viable option as a short term #5?

    • @doctor: The Reds major-league starters for 2014 currently comprises:

      Cueto
      Latos
      Bailey
      Leake
      Cingrani

      The strength of this team is the pitching staff, particularly starting pitching. When Cueto went down in 2013, the reds were able to call up Cingrani, who produced results scaringly comparable to what a healthy Cueto would have produced. With Arroyo gone and no additional quality starter available, the drop-off in quality will be significant in 2014 and that is what scares me.

      If the Reds field the same team as last season (minus Choo) and one of the starters goes down, the 2014 team will really suffer a drop-off in competativeness.

      • @Shchi Cossack: I agree if one of those “options” I listed had to go 25 starts for a serious injury, or Reds had to have one of them make the major league rotation in spring training. they would be a big unknown since while they have been competent in minors, they did not dominate. However, thats not the case as the Reds, ..currently.., have 5 good MLB quality starters already lined up for 2014. A lot of teams would love to be in that spot.

        Of course, this conversation changes if Walt makes a big move and trades for example Homer to Texas. Then I can see a reason to open conversation with Bronson. My view is if Reds are truly “going for it” during this 2 year window, its hard for me to see a deal where I move a current pitching starter. It would have to something special to fix a lineup need(ie leadoff OF, more offensive minded SS/3B).

      • @Shchi Cossack: It’s for that reason I believe the Reds need to make a deal for David Price. I would – in a heartbeat – trade Hamilton, Travieso, and Corcino for two years of Price. That frees up the Reds to trade Leake/Bailey.

        • @TC: Yep. I see one of three possibilities: Bronson Arroyo, Tim Hudson or Scott Feldman along with a couple of reclamation projects. Of course WJ could surprise everyone with another major move this offseason. I think the manager situation will be resolved fairly quickly, but then a long lull until after the winter meetings before we see anything to indicate what direction WJ and the new manager plan on taking this team.

    • We’ve all been high on Bryan Price. What would make it difficult for Price to turn Greg Reynolds into a useful (shall I also say, cheap) starter?

      Yeah … I get it … we need a lefty. Reynolds is redundant. But truthfully, Arroyo hasn’t tripped my trigger lately. He has nice starts, generally gets a little sloppy and dishes up some taters … with our offense, that was hard to take.

      I don’t see him as integral to the team anyhow other than his charisma.

      • @Johnu1: With Dusty gone, it might not be so difficult to turn Chapman into a starter. Price has been the biggest advocate of Chapman’s starting.

        • @pinson343: Dusty probably wasn’t the ONLY reason Chapman was in the bullpen but we only know what we were told. I guess my point is it’s smarter to work Cingrani in than to renovate Reynolds.

  9. I like BA. I would offer 1 year only.

    Pitchers like BA don’t become available often to teams that need pitching. Remember when the Reds were scrambling for Pitchers to be #2 after Aaron Harrang. You have to look at the club and the needs.

    Seattle is going to try to make a big push this year revamping that team. 2 years 20 mil with an option would be easy for them

  10. I’d think the Giants, Dodgers and maybe even Tigers playing in those big parks could use a guy like Arroyo. It’s kind of amazing that Bronson did as well as he did pitching in GABP.

  11. I know some folks aren’t fans of WAR, but this year Arroyo was worth 0.8 WAR and could reasonably be expected to have the same value next year. At 0.8 WAR, that would put Bronson at $17.5MM per WAR ([1/0.8]*$14MM).

    To put this in perspective, at that rate, Votto would be of equivalent $$$/WAR at $108.55 MILLION in 2013 (5.6 WAR * $17.5M).

    I wonder if anyone who complains about Votto’s contract is advocating we re-sign Bronson? Personally, I think he’s average at best and wouldn’t sign him for anything over $6MM a year, which obviosuly won’t happen.

    I WILL find myself tuning in on MLB.TV when he’s pitching next year, though, wherever that may be! :) Happy trails.

    One more thing: Of 43 qualified NL pitchers, Arroyo was 41st in WAR, ahead of only Ian Kennedy and, yep, Edinson Volquez.

  12. My regret is that while watching his last game, I wasn’t aware it was his last game. I thought there would be one or two more. I got quite sentimental during Aaron Harang’s last trip to the mound. I didn’t have the opportunity to do that with Arroyo.

    • @TC: I was aware, as the game went along and the Pirates clinched home field advantage, that it was probably Bronson’s last game as a Red. It was a painful game.

  13. Bronson’s been one of my favorite Reds since he joined them, but time to say good bye. The Reds can get a better deal for starting pitching depth.

    There’s an assumption that Bronson can pitch the way he has for a couple more years. That’s actually a little iffy. He’s not Jamie Moyer. When Bronson can’t get up to the high 80s with his fastball, he’s been hit hard, because hitters just sit on the breaking stuff and can still catch up with his fastball.

    Bronson himself has said he needs the high 80s (used to be 90) fastball. Brantley put it succintly: “Whether his fastball peaks at 86 or 88 makes all the difference for Bronson.” And there’s no reason to think his fastball won’t decline further.

    Bronson is smart enough to make enough of an adjustment to stick around as a major league pitcher, but he won’t be the same one we’ve known for too much longer.

    • @pinson343: Good points about his fastball, but he did seem to rebound this year. The year before, remember, when his fastball was ineffective, he was dealing with illness. Not certain he can’t maintain 88, given his work ethic and the lack of strain his repertoire puts on his arm/legs/etc.

  14. To repeat something I said above: With Dusty gone, it might not be so difficult to convince Chapman he wants to start and turn him into one. Price has been the biggest advocate of Chapman’s starting.

  15. I’ll miss Bronson. Among baseball players, a unique combination of intelligence, openness, and honesty. And of the field, he was a ball player, not just a pitcher, looking for whatever it took to win.

  16. @Pinson343: Absolutely. Imagine this club the last three years without Bronson in the rotation. Everything Chad worries might happen next year would have happened three years running.

    Whatever happens, the club and the fans need to stand up and say, “Thank You, Bronson.”

    I dunno what he wants to do when he stops pitching. But, I’d love to see his objectivity, honesty and insight stay in the game. MLB needs more like him.

  17. I wouldn’t be in too big a rush to bid Bronson adieu. Cingrani certainly has been impressive, but he has also already missed significant time due to injury, and while I have come to agree that Chapman should be given a serious look as a starter, he is a virtually unknown quantity there. Plenty of guys with great fastballs have failed as mlb starters.

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