2017 Reds

Reds in talks with Bronson Arroyo about returning to Cincinnati

bronson

Most predictable news ever, but here we are:

Long-time readers of Redleg Nation will remember that Bronson Arroyo was my favorite player pre-Billy Hamilton and post-Adam Dunn/Edwin Encarnacion. So I’m probably inclined to enjoy this news more than most.

But there’s very little downside, in my opinion. The Reds need innings-eaters in 2017. Arroyo used to be an innings-eater. Sure, he hasn’t pitched in a couple of years, but we’re just talking about a minor league contract. If Arroyo can make it back from injury, maybe he can give the Reds some decent innings — plus be a veteran presence around all the young pitchers we expect to see in Cincinnati this season.

If nothing else, it’s an interesting storyline for me to write about, and that’s enough for me.

82 thoughts on “Reds in talks with Bronson Arroyo about returning to Cincinnati

  1. If he’s healthy this could be a smart move. If he’s not, no harm no foul on a minor league deal. And if the worst outcome is that he ends up a de facto pitching coach for the Reds minor league system that’s fine with me too.

  2. I like Arroyo, but this is more for insurance in case Stephenson and/or Reed don’t take a rotation spot in spring training. Insurance in case of a rash of injuries like last year in spring training.
    Pitchers & Catchers report in 19 days. Time to get all the ducks lined up before heading out west to Arizona.

  3. This could be like the Jose Rijo comeback in 01-02! Would be fantastic, fans would love it, give us something to look forward to during another losing season.

    • I remember the comeback of Rijo it was something I would love to see with Arroyo. Like some have suggested in other posts, Maybe Bailey isn’t ready to go yet, or maybe never again will be the potential #2 or #1 that some thought he would be. I always have looked at Bailey as a nice #3 or so so #2.

  4. I think this is ridiculous. A case of the Reds trying to be too clever by half, in my opinion.

    With the signing of Feldman, you’ve got DeSclafani, Feldman, and Finnegan with all-but-guaranteed rotation slots. If you assume Bailey will be healthy (who knows?) and if Arroyo was signed and made the team, there is no longer a slot for any of the young pitchers. Either Reed or Stephenson, for better or worse, needs to be in the rotation this year. If the Reds want to be competitive in 2018, we can’t be rolling out 2-3 rookies. Those guys would benefit from a year in the rotation with no pressure to win.

    Sure, there’s minimal downside to Arroyo, as Chad says, but I see literally zero upside. I can’t think of any possible scenario where Arroyo on this team in 2017 helps the Reds win in 2018/2019.

    • Amen, brother Ben. If Arroyo has to start, that means that only one of Stephenson, Garrett, Reed, etc. will be deemed to be better than Arroyo.

      Arroyo is, and has been for a long time, essentially worse than a batting tee for left-handed hitters. In his last year as a Red in 2013, Arroyo yielded an OPS against LH of .856, or about what Carlos Gonzalez and Christian Yelich did last year. In 2011, he yielded a LH OPS of an impossible .976, which is Stan Musial’s career mark, and halfway between what Joey Votto and Freddie Freeman did last year.

      And Arroyo is years older and years worse now. Unless you want to turn the average left-handed hitter who faces him into Stan Musial, don’t sign him. New Zealand is closer to training camp than Bronson Arroyo needs to be.

      • We don’t really know that he’s years worse. His pitching style is not about strength and power. I see Patrick’s point, but suggest that all of our prospective starter candidates, with the possible exception of Disco, are complete question marks, and when you are inundated with questions, the more possible answers the better. I’m much more inclined, due to personal experience, to value mentoring than many here seem to be, and my memory of Arroyo was that he was generous in this regard.

      • If he is signed to a minor league deal nothing says he has to be at the big league level to start the season. Only way he gets a spot is if he is wonderful during the spring in my book. As much as I like Arroyo. I would rather see the kids given a shot 1st and if they flounder than call him up.

        • Has to be a Minor League deal. Can’t afford to lose a man off the 40 man roster for a “maybe.”

    • Scenario:

      Bailey isn’t healthy. Finnegan doesn’t progress. Other guys run into innings limits.

      Alternate Scenario:

      Everyone does what they’re supposed to, Bronson works as swing man, but mostly form the bullpen.

      Another Alternate Scenario:

      Arroyo doesn’t make the team.

      You’re making assumptions about what his role will be when we don’t know anything. We do know, however, that, at best, there are two pitchers who can reasonably be counted on to start all season (Disco and Finnegan). Everyone else is young with potential innings limits, trade bait (Feldman), or has injury issues.

      • I don’t think any of the 3 scenarios you present make the 2018/2019 Reds a better team.

        That was my point. I don’t see the upside of wasting time with Arroyo.

        And if we’re just signing him to possibly be a replacement-level innings-eater, I think there are probably younger guys (with possibly some upside) out there to be had for virtually no money.

        • If Arroyo were to latch onto one of the young guys and mentor him like he did with Leake, he’d likely be worth every cent; and, it would be a contribution towards the future.

          I think you are limiting view by imaging him only as a starter. As the last man in the pen, how could he possibly be worse than any number of guys were last year?

        • Signing him to a minor league deal and having him around as backup in the minors??? there is no upside for 2018 or 2019. I don’t think Arroyo will ever pitch again if he gets cut by the Reds. Even if he does not get cut, he probably will start the year at AAA to show he is healthy. I hate how everyone basically looks at this team this year and says nope no shot at being a winning club. Yes several things have to fall into place to make that happen but it would not be the first time a rag tag group wins more than they lose and

        • But Arroyo is fun. It’s okay to have fun. I’d rather have Arroyo than Tim Melville.. I LOVE this comment.

      • Bringing the Human Batting Tee back is essentially the same as Walt’s signing of Tired But Gritty Old Cardinals.

        I will concede that Bronson Arroyo is a fine man, mentor, etc. and in fact will stipulate that no other person who ever walked the planet is a better human being. But that doesn’t mean he can get major league hitters out, and there is absolutely no reason to believe that he can. My high school English teacher was and is a fine person, too, but she can’t pitch. Neither can Arroyo.

        Hey, if he’s developed a Phil Neikro-in-his-prime knuckle ball, I’d give him a chance, but otherwise, this is foolish.

        • He pitched a number of good games for the Reds and doing so required him to get major league hitters out. You’re making assumptions that may prove true, but are based on speculation at this point. It wouldn’t be a particularly risky move unless Price used Arroyo in some way damaging to the development of legitimate young prospects. And he might do that, but of course, in the absence of Arroyo, he’d likely find somebody else to use in that way, if that is his intent.

        • If Bronson can help Robert Stevenson or Cody Reed learn how to pitch the way that Dan Straily helped Finnigan, this would absolutely help 2018, and 2017 for that matter

    • I just hope he joins the organization as a pitching coach once his arm detaches this spring during tryouts.

      What if the Reds talent management and coaching staff simply do not think reed Garrett or bob Steve are ready for the show? What if their internal scouting tells them they need work on pitch development and polish?

  5. Maybe he can do an acoustic set of his best JTM commercials ala Jon Bon Jovi and Eric Clapton.

  6. I would consider it consumer fraud for the Reds to sell tickets to any game Bronson Arroyo plays in, while calling it “Major League Baseball.”

  7. Wasn’t Arroyo who helped Leake or Bailey (I know it was someone at least)with his off-speed stuff? For a minor league contract which is peanuts, the value of having this guy help teach the young guns (Stephens, Reed, Garret) off speed pitches would be huge with whoever goes to Louisville. Same if he ends up on the 40 man but I doubt it.

    Major league min is $500k which if he could help a couple of these young guys become more effective while eating some innings, that’s a lot of value. It’s very low risk, high reward

    • It seems like reports like this come out regarding every old, nearly broken down starter in baseball. They always “help” some young guy with pitches. It’s like saying someone is a “good fastball hitter.” That is usually a nice way of saying “He can’t hit breaking or off-speed pitches.”

      I don’t buy it. The Reds have a pitching coach and an assistant (I think?) pitching coach. If someone is developing better pitches, I’m sure some of the credit goes to the staff.

      Also, I’d have no problem if they wanted to bring Arroyo on as an assistant coach. What I don’t like is him taking up a roster spot. (I know, assumption… he might not make the team.)

      • Why does Straily get credit for Finnegans change up and not Bryan Price, or Max Jenkims or Ted Power?

        • Maybe because Finnegan credited Straily for teaching him the changeup that was effective for him during the 2nd half of the season?

  8. Are there any issues that may be creeping up on us with the 40 man roster (if arroyo makes the team)? I guess jumbo and adleman could be removed. This might be an interesting article for you all to explain/discuss??

    • They still have to make a 40-man roster move to add Feldman. The 40-man roster stands at 41 at this moment, not even considering Arroyo yet.

      • I just don’t see any players left on the 40 man roster that I want us to lose.

  9. So yea hes on a Minor league contract. Does anyone think that if he doesn’t make MLB roster out of Spring Training, he would actually want to play for AAA and be a minor league player again? That’s the real question I’m struggling with….

  10. I love what Arroyo did for the Reds and how he did it .But…he is 40 and hasn’t pitched in 3 years coming off major surgery. This is a professional courtesy by the Reds to give him that last shot and retire as a Red. No way he makes the opening day roster.

      • Think of it as an audition for a coaching spot somewhere In the organization. Put him on a minor league contract to see whether there is any gas at all left in the arm .. and for Bronson himself to come to terms with this. Then park him in Louisville to be an instructor-pitcher transitioning to a roving coach and mentor down the road.

        Of course, one should also imagine the possibilities if we also brink back Corky as the perfect battery mate…….

        • He likely has 50 million in the bank and a variety of non baseball interest. Unlikely that he’s looking to be a minor league pitching coach. He could probably just buy his own minor league team

        • Except Chuck that some guys are just junkies for the game; and, I think there are plenty of signs Arroyo might be predisposed in such a direction.

          No, he’s probably not looking to see the country from a minor league team bus; however, the money in the bank leaves him free to continue to pursue his lifelong passion on his own terms.

          I can certainly see him in some sort of roving coach/ mentor capacity. He could use the spring camp to build bridges and select his proteges then stay in touch via cell and texting and drop in for hands on work from time to time.

  11. This is my favorite thing in the history of my favorite things, please Bronson come back so I can make more terrible song puns off of your name

  12. At the age of 40 I doubt Bronson will give up the good life in The Keys for six months as a roving minor league coach.

  13. How is this any better than the rehash starters from last year? Because he is a fan favorite? He brings nothing except losses. Terrible move! We need to figure out who our starters and relievers are and we know he isn’t either. Let the young kids play

    • What’s wrong with being a fan favorite? Fans are who the game is played for, after all. Generally, we’re reacting frantically to a report that the Reds are talking to him. He hasn’t been signed, much less assigned a role as a starter. And, again, he did considerably more than lose when he was here. We don’t know at all how he would pitch. We must all be starved for actual baseball news.

  14. Hmmm, Marquis, Haynes, Jerry Reuss…we could go on and on. If you’ve been around long enough you have a story for which the names may change, but the outcome is eerily the same. Washed up starter cones to team, said starter does juuuust enough to convince someone he can still be of value. Even though there is likely one or two younger guys who could do the same or better, and probably cheaper. Oh, but wait, the clock will start…back you go to AAA. Washed up starter makes10 starts or so over the next 8 weeks or so, amassing an era somewhere north of 5.00, winning 1or 2 games in which he shows a glimmer of hope….meanwhile team record dips several games below .500. Season over!

    Disappointing, but maybe this won’t really happen? Let’s see whether things have changed any, or not.

    • Haynes’ first year with the Reds was very solid. Gave them almost 200 innings of above-average work and cost them half a million bucks. It’s when they resigned him for 2 years and $5-million that he was bad. It’s a bit of a shame too as he was only 30 when they signed him to that deal.

    • Every fan base has these complaints, even perennial competitive clubs. If not, the league average starter ERA would be 2.5 and we’d be watching soccer game scoring struggles every night.

  15. I like this move not because he’s playing for the Red but because he’s with the young players in Louisville. That’s what helps us win 2018 and beyond – player development in the minors. I doubt he plays more than a handful of games in the major and only due to injury.

    • I seriously doubt he will ever see the skyline of Louisville. He will either make the team or not then catch on with someone else or retire. I just can’t imagine him having any motivation to go to AAA at this point in his life.

  16. As soon as I hit post I realized my error…Reuss was actually a late season pickup from Dodgers, who knew he was done. At least that’s how I remember it.
    A better example would be Steve Avery, and a few others over the years.

  17. Why is there a broad assumption that he wants to mentor, coach, counsel, befriend, pitch whisper? Most people just want to do their jobs, get paid and go home. Why would most baseball players be any different? We don’t assume the veteran widget workers want to mentor the new widget workers.

    He seemingly wants to get paid (no less than 550k) to pitch in the majors….stay in 5 Star hotels….fly on charters with an open bar and prime rib. Why would anyone assume that also means he wants to “help the kids?” He may….or he may not even kind of care.

    The Reds have coaches and roving instructors. Seemingly every player who isn’t banned from the game and played at least 100 games for the team is a Special Assistant to the Owner. Adding one more former player is going to somehow improve things?

    • Why is there a broad assumption that he (Arroyo) wants to mentor, coach, counsel, befriend, pitch whisper?

      Because he’s known to have gone out of his way to do all of those things in spades throughout his career. He is also pretty clearly a craftsman and artist when it comes to the way he got batters out. C.Trent Rosecrans tweeted today that 10 minutes of talking baseball with Arroyo is a one of a kind experience for the light it shines on how the game is played. Guys like tend not just clock out and disappear. And yeah who knows. maybe he’ll give it whirl and decide it isn’t the same as when he was actually playing then get on with life elsewhere.

      As for Arroyo’s possible positive impact? Arroyo was supposedly a major factor in Mike Leake’s development (I believe no less than Leake himself acknowledged this more than once). So, take a guy like Robert Stephenson who has first class stuff but is struggling to put his game together. If he and Arroyo could hook up successfully, that could pay huge dividends.

      • good post OHIOJIMW!!!! Even if he is just with the Reds’ organization for spring training he could potentially be a positive force for guys like Stephenson, Reed, Finnegan, etc.

      • You may very well be right, Jim ( as you usually are)…..but, we don’t know what actually drives Arroyo. My guess would be most players have helped others in their career, but that doesnt mean that’s an actual focus for them.

        Votto was reportedly instrumental in Hamilton’s evolution last year. Maybe Votto genuinely cares about Hamilton….maybe Votto just wants more guys on base.
        Arroyo helped Leake…maybe Arroyo cared about Leake…maybe Arroyo wanted to win the World Series so he could sell some albums and felt Leake would improve the chances.

        We don’t know.

        • Agree Chuck. In the end we don’t know his motivations and whether they’d be the same now. And perhaps he himself doesn’t even know at this point because I can tell you from personal experience over the last 2 years or so retirement can be a mixed bag even when 100% voluntarily chosen and finances are such as to allow life “outside work” to continue essentially unchanged..

          Arroyo had to stay “active” thru the end of 2015 to pick up his last big money from the contract he signed with DBack when he left Cincy ($4.5M buyout of 2016). However, having made at least $95M in salaries (per BBRef), it is hardly likely he went thru the gruel of rehab last year and has continued to train just for the relatively small long shot monetary return it might bear.

    • You might be right, Chuck, though you pointed out earlier that he probably has lots of money in the bank. There are guys who keep playing for years after their mlb careers are over: Bill Lee played semi-pro ball here in Vermont for years–he may still be at it (along with running for Governor). I’m pretty sure that George Foster played semi-pro, as well. It’s a lovable game. If I had any joints left I’d still try to play any way I could.

  18. The only downside is if Bronson blocks a young guy from the rotation and keeps them from developing for 2018…but honestly, if these guys can’t beat 40 year old Bronson out for a spot, that will say a lot about what we have.

    • The problem is, Bronson could get lucky in a few ST starts and the young guys might get unlucky in a few ST starts, perhaps culminating in Arroyo actually making the rotation.

      In my mind, the point is that there’s no reasonable scenario in which Arroyo as a starter in 2017 helps the Reds win in 2018/19, unless you believe in his “pitch whisperer” alter-ego, which may very well be true.

      • Good points. He may help the Reds win 77 games instead of 74 while delaying the development of someone that will actually be pitching when it matters.

        Arroyo is a ” fan favorite” so he’d be a tough guy to DFA or relegate to mop up duty. The upside enables them to be less bad this year. The downside is bad PR and blocking someone who’s long term future matters.

        • Chuck: I would agree with the tough to DFA except for the fact the Bronson hasn’t pitched in two years due to injury and everyone, including him, knows this is probably a long shot to make a ML Team. If the Reds chose to DFA or relegate Brandon P to a utility role, I would see that as a tough call for them. If Arroyo did show “something” in SP and the Reds decided it was better to go with the young pitchers, at least he may have shown enough that some other team would take a look at him and let him continue his quest to pitch again. .

      • At that point, he will cost you a 40 man spot

        He would need to be one year good, not 1 start good

      • I’m torn on this Patrick. Normally, I’m all in favor of “the tie” (or even near tie) goes to the younger prospect. Yet, we have a fairly young pitching staff. Just like having the hitters being exposed to the true professionalism of Votto, the pitchers could learn a lot from how Arroyo conducts himself.

        Straily was a veteran leader among the pitchers last year; who will be taking his place this year? I don’t get the sense that Bailey is that kind of guy, though he may well be. Do we know that Feldman will be in the rotation, or the pen?

        Lorenzen, Iglesias, Finnegan, Reed, Stephenson, and perhaps even Disco could learn a lot from a veteran pitcher who seemingly is inclined to share his knowledge. Not to mention, doesn’t the FO need to ensure that they have 7 or 8 viable starters lined up, not 5 or 6? The Reds have certainly seen their share of injuries in the rotation in recent years.

  19. If anyone is interested in listening in on the Reds Caravan this evening, the East Tour leg this evening will be broadcast live on our local radio station and on their website here. They are at 580 on the AM dial if you can pick it up, and here is their web address.

    http://580wchs.com/

    Just click on the “listen live” button at the top of the page. It is supposed to start at 6:30 pm EST, but usually gets going about 6::45. There will be some introductions, a few Q & A’s, and then they get started with the autograph line. While the line is going through, out local sportscaster, Jeff Jenkins, gets to do a face-to-face interview with each Reds participant for about 10-15 minutes. Jeff usually does a good job with his interviews. Tonight the Reds participants are GM Dick Williams, broadcaster Jeff Brantley, former Reds star Eric Davis, new Reds pitcher Drew Storen, and 2016 Reds 2nd round draft pick C Chris Okey. A good lineup and the interview with DW might be good to listen in on. Williams will probably be the first interview.
    I know it is a Friday night, but it is going to be cold out. If you have free time this evening check it out. I am looking forward to what DW has to say this evening.

  20. I would have no problem bringing Bronson for ST. If he gets anywhere near where he was, I wouldn’t have a problem bringing him in as the 5th man. However, something I don’t believe Baker learned, starting around the 6th inning, give him a short leash.

  21. I hope all Arroyo to Cincinnati talk is hype to draw more attention to the team on the verge of starting S T. I loved his enthusiasm, pitching and all other aspects of Bronson when he was in his late twenties and early thirties. That is a long time ago in pitching terms. Now that he is forty, and coming off of arm miseries, I don’t think the rebuilding reds are a place for his last hurrah.

  22. Perhaps some of the reason for moves like Feldman and possibly Arroyo are the not so distant memory of last May when six starting pitchers were on the disabled list (Bailey, Iglesias, Lorenzen, DeSclafani, Adelman, John Lamb). Part of the rebuild plan articulated by the front office last year was not to rush anyone to the bigs who was not ready: http://www.cincinnati.com/story/sports/mlb/reds/redsblog/2016/05/04/bar-reds-wont-rush-prospects-fill-bullpen/83910556/

    As a result, some of the guys you had starting games for the Reds at that time were Tim Melville, Alfredo Simon, Dan Straily, Keyvius Sampson, and Brandon Finnegan. Of course, only the latter remains. I remember during that stretch I felt that games Finnegan pitched were the only games the Reds had a reasonable chance to win. Later, Straily was added to that mental list.

    If the possible signing of Arroyo is with that memory in mind, then I’m for it. Despite the fact we’re all plugging Stephenson, Reed and Garrett into the rotation, what evidence exists that they are ready? I’m certainly hopeful they will all exceed expectations in the spring, but that can’t be presumed.

    It does appear that the addition of the veteran starters is part of the articulated strategy to not rush players, and particularly pitchers, who are not ready. If Reed, Stephenson and Garrett are dominant in the spring, then Feldman could be moved to the bullpen and Arroyo could be released from a minor league contract.

    • This is a legit fear, although the confluence of all those injuries last year was rare. But OK, still something to guard against. But that’s an argument for the Arroyo signing, not the Feldman deal – especially if the Feldman deal comes with a wink that he’ll be a starter in April no matter how spring goes down. I’m all for several minor league contracts for pitchers like Arroyo, as long as they understand they’re probably just around for dire situations. The money committed to Feldman indicates to me he’s going to take the place of Garrett, Stephenson or Reed on the OD roster.

      • Here’s more on Feldman’s contract. It does appear he has more financial incentive to be a starter than a reliever. But perhaps the front office included the relief incentives so it was clear that he is not considered only a starter.

        • Good point about the contract. He was shopped as a reliever to Toronto at the last deadline.

    • I was a big proponent of bringing Reed up last year but he proved he was not ready. Because of that major hiccup, I can;t see the Reds bringing him to Cincinnati out of ST. He will pitch 10 -12 starts in Louisville to establish himself first. Garrett to me would be the best candidate, but I suppose service time considerations are the issue there. I have no idea about Bob Steve. Frankly, I did not see an organizational top prospect in his time with the Reds- command, stuff, velocity or mound presence….. but its a new year. The good news is Cincy Enquirer reporting today Homer is feeling good, on his off-season throwing regimen and already has his schedule from Brian Price for ST- with an extra week to get ready because of the World baseball nonsense. Full steam ahead for Homer.

      • FSO broadcasting interview with Amir Garrett…He said he wants that 5th spot..Mack Jenkins said he will have every opportunity to win it and he was the one pitcher who clearly pitched above his league assignment…Taped before Feldman signing but they mention reds likely someone since 2 spits open. I’m OK with reed and Stephenson proving themselves in AAA for 10 starts and Garrett earning 5 th spot.

    • Maybe the Reds want to hold back Garrett for service time reasons and start Feldman until then. Once service time is no longer an issue (month or two?) Feldman sent to pen as Garrett takes over rotation spot. Reds might do this no matter what AG does in Goodyear.

      The contract bonuses of Feldman also seem to reflect this. If he starts for month or two, he would be unlikely to meet many or any of his starting bonuses and then if he is in bullpen till deadline he likewise would fall short of most bonuses. Reds plan could very well be to start him until Garrett is ready/service time is appropriate and place Feldman in BP until trade deadline.

      This could work and be smart to do if this is what Reds have in mind for Feldman. At least we can hope so!

  23. Nothing quite says that nothing is being done that will get us out of last place in our division and a paucity of moves to address that stark reality – than the fact that we’re talking about Bronson Arroyo.

  24. The Reds are giving a guy that put in quite a few years with the club a shot and hope for the best. Arroyo can either make it work or he won’t. It might be the first steps towards offering him opportunities to work with the club after he retires.

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