[This post was written by John Ring, who is the Nation's correspondent from Afghanistan, where he is serving the entire nation.]
It was pretty much inevitable in the crazy economics of baseball that Bronson Arroyo wasn’t going to retire as a Cincinnati Red. When he recently signed a two-year contract with Arizona, that became a certainty. That’s too bad. But it rarely happens in any sport.
Michael Jordan played last for the Washington Wizards. Johnny Unitas for the Chargers. Joe Montana for the Chiefs.
I thought there may be a possibility that the Reds would trade Homer Bailey and re-sign Arroyo but that didn’t happen, either. I would hate to lose Double-No-Hit Homer, but it’s very doubtful the Reds will sign him long-term after he becomes a free agent after the 2014 season. With Johnny Cueto’s injury history and the uncertainty of Tony Cingrani (I was more sold on Travis Wood than Cingrani, for what it’s worth) I hope the Reds don’t regret the loss of the almost guaranteed 200-plus innings of work Arroyo could give them in 2014.
Regardless, Bronson Arroyo had a great career for the Reds. Wayne Krivsky literally stole him from the Red Sox in a lopsided trade in which the Reds gave up Wily Mo Pena in 2006, one of the many “five tool” players former Reds GM Jim Bowden was infatuated with. (Remember Roberto Kelly anyone?)
Bronson’s stats with the Reds were impeccable; 105 wins, 265 starts, 1609 innings pitched and not a single day on the disabled list. He took the ball every fifth day. Hell, he would have taken the ball every fourth day back in the day.
He had guts and guile, if not a blazing fastball. Arroyo didn’t have the devastating changeup of Mario Soto, a Jim Maloney fastball, or the electric stuff that young Don Gullett possessed, but he was consistent, durable and most of all, cunning. He only had two starts in the post-season for the Reds but they were both superb. He was a technician on the mound. To be sure, there were times when Arroyo just didn’t have it. He would get shelled at times. But so did other great Reds pitchers of the past.
More than his stats, I liked Bronson Arroyo as a person. I only met him twice. The best compliment I can give him is that of all the Reds, he’s the guy I would want to go out and have a beer with.
When — not if — Bronson is elected to the Reds Hall of Fame, I will be sure to attend the ceremony. He took the mound every start, was a leader on the pitching staff and his durability was beyond reproach.
Here’s hoping Arroyo jams on his guitar the night on the induction ceremony. And then shows up at a downtown bar for a late night session. Bronson Arroyo will always be a Red in my book.