The View from Afghanistan

So long Bronson Arroyo. See you at the Reds Hall of Fame

[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.

7 thoughts on “So long Bronson Arroyo. See you at the Reds Hall of Fame

  1. Glad you mentioned his excellence in the post-season, which gets lost in everyone’s (rightful) emphasis on his durability. I have a sick feeling thinking about him pitching for Arizona. Other than Pittsburgh and St. Louis, they might be the Reds’ most direct competition this year.

    • @Steve Mancuso: Absolutely. Sadly it is unlikely the Reds will win the division outright. So they may be in competition for one of those wildcards with Arizona.

  2. Knowing something is inevitable doesn’t necessarily make it easier to swallow when it actually happens.

    Losing Choo was a certainty, but I’m glad we didn’t play Boras Roulette, as he’s not getting any younger and he’s always one badly-taken HBP away from the DL. Bronson isn’t getting any younger either, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up playing beyond his 2-3 year contract with Arizona. Not saying he’ll be the next Jamie Moyer, but perhaps he’ll still be able to retire a Red. Nonetheless, I wish we’d have made an effort to sign him, as I’m still unsold on Cueto’s durability — Cingrani’s too, for that matter (although I’m still not sure how much of his back issues last year were convenient Dusty scapegoats) — and, as we’ve learned lately, Homer is looking like a goner.

    I apologize for being too lazy to research this further, but in losing Choo and Arroyo, it certainly seems like some money would have freed up. Are year-to-year contract increases dragging us down to the extent where we can’t compete? Is Joey’s contract a Griffey Jr. albatross all over again?

  3. I don’t think it’s Joey’s contract that is the problem. It’s BP’s. The club seemed ready to pull the trigger on a trade quickly.

  4. Sometimes you have to look at the big picture, and Bronson is one big picture. A real anchor for a young staff. Work ethic, preparation, ect. I always hate to see a favorite go but this was a tough one, especially since he languished on the F/A market so long. I can’t help thinking that we would have gotten our moneys worth (injury to Cueto or one of the others) had we brought him back. That being said…..I hope he serves up a few of those famous unfluttering fat pitches! Good Luck Bronson!

  5. This was not between trading homer and keeping Bronson

    We should have kept Bronson and traded Leake

    And as John can clearly see from Afghanistan, the trade that Walt made to get Bronson for Wily Mo was shrewd

    Oh wait that wasn’t Walt

  6. I’m just glad he’s staying the NL. We’ll get to see him pitch a few times a year. And the Diamondbacks have a great chance at the postseason. Regardless, he’s a Dodger killer now.

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