Here’s my latest for Cincinnati Magazine, on the thorny questions surrounding Bronson Arroyo and Father Time:

The questions haven’t gone away. And Bronson Arroyo is running out of answers.

Okay, I concede: This hasn’t been fun. Through nine starts, Arroyo has a 3-4 record with a not-very-impressive 6.75 ERA. He’s given up at least four runs in more than half of his starts, and has not pitched into the seventh inning a single time. The advanced statistics aren’t any kinder: Arroyo’s FIP is 6.95 and he’s been worth -0.6 WAR thus far in 2017.

Are we at the end of the road?

Please go read the entire piece and let me know what you think.

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

You can email Chad at

Join the conversation! 29 Comments

  1. I think the reds have three guys who should be competing for the long relief role Bronson being one of them. I would like to see Stevenson sent to Louisville to get regular work

  2. DFA or long relief. Since they probably won’t DFA him, and he isn’t gonna retire like he said he would, if he stunk up the place. So mop up role is all that’s left.

  3. I’d give him through June then make a decision. It’s not like he’s the only starter giving up runs.

    • Yes, but there is no upside. There is no Future Bronson that could be better. This is it. If they were starting Reed or Stephenson, or Rookie Davis, there would at least be “he’s learning, he can get better”. I am not in favor of starting a young guy and seeing him get his head handed to him and destroying his confidence before he is ready to at least have a chance to succeed in the Majors, but this is Bronson. A great guy who has done his best; it’s just his best is pretty poor.

  4. There is nothing whatsoever to be gained from starting a 40-year-old who has had his arm rebuilt and throws consistently in the high 70s and low 80s. If he was keeping his team in the game consistently, that would be one thing. But he’s getting tattooed each time. I would love to hear Dick Williams’ explanation why this is being allowed to happen.

    • Williams’ answer, whether we buy it or not, might be that “We don’t have anyone else.” … But with Wojo and the guy they just brought in, Buchanan, maybe Williams is getting ready for the inevitable.

      I don’t know what’s going on with Stephenson, but I’ll trust that Price and the pitching coaches are working on something with him and don’t want him starting yet. And with Reed/Rookie/Romano ineffective/unavailable, who’s left?

      Even if Arroyo were to admit defeat, I wonder if the Reds are trying to get him to hang in there until more bodies are available. Otherwise, I just don’t get it.

    • The answer might be that nobody else is doing that much better. Bronson got excoriated for giving up 3 runs in 5 innings, and yesterday—excoriation-free–Feldman gave up 4 runs in 5 innings. It’s also not safe to assume that this is as good as he can be now. He hadn’t pitched in two years prior to his relative handful of starts this season. I agree that it would be better if the Reds were in a position to use him as a two inning guy (or not at all) but the staff is decimated.

  5. He will be DFA or placed on the 60 day DL when some variation of Bailey, Disco and Finigan returning.

    I believe the question “Does God exist?”has been asked less over the past million years than “Why is Arroyo stating” since April. He Is a pro and a good guy to have on a young team. He has enabled them to have a greater degree of flexibility with who pitches-when-where-how much in the second half. That’s it.

    Stop with the “Its to drive attendance” non sense. If that were true then half his starts wouldn’t have been on the road and we’d have Bronson bobble heads every start. The Reds have not marketed his return.

    This isn’t that complicated.

    • Good post.

      • Indeed. There have been “holes” in the Reds starting rotation since almost opening day (and some more later). When and if the holes get filled, Bronson goes away. Great guy, gave it his all. I’m sure his team mates like him a lot. But the point here is to win games, or at least prepare a future team to win a lot of games. Bronson is just a place holder.

    • -Somebody- finally gets it. Thank you, Chuck.

      For the record, I’m, at best, agnostic on Arroyo. Not a lover, not basher. Some sense of short-term history would, however, be very useful.

      Look: At the time Arroyo was signed – to a -contingent- contract, the Reds had one to one-and-a-half starting pitchers on DL (Bailey and then Disco at the latest moment.) No one could foresee that we would currently be in a position where (a) we have the equivalent of a full rotation on DL – Bailey, Disco, Finnegan, Garrett plus Davis and Romano at AAA and (b) that none of the AAA prospects would stick. The intention was probably more along the line of having him pitch long relief/mop-up and, in a rare circumstance, have someone that could do a very infrequent emergency start. More would be an upside bargain (especially as he’s getting major league minimum) but not planned upon.. The miraculous thing is that we -are- seeing some serious potential from the AA guys, ahead of schedule.

      The other thing to point out is that he -is- slowly improving, albeit at a glacial and inadequate pace. His numbers last start weren’t all bad: 1W, 4SO, 5H, 3ER – just short of a so-called “quality” start. Good enough to stay a starter in the bigs – no, probably not, but, three solo shots notwithstanding, we were still in the game. The question is: (1) can he get by -without- a significant fast ball and (b) can he convert some of the fly balls to ground balls? (Yes, I -am- skeptical, but those -are- the questions….)

      Things will undoubtedly be different when (or if) we get the DL arms back – but they will need time to work up and, although I want to see them fully evaluated, I’m not sure that either Reed or BobSteve are going to perform well enough to rate full-time starting roles …. so we’ll just have to grit our teeth and see how the situation evolves. I would expect him to be reduced to long relief/mop-up – but we kight have to wait until well after the break to know for certain.

      Please don’t shoot me (grin) – I’m just the messenger.

      • Eric Milton won 8 games in 2005 in 34 starts and had many more “quality” starts. He was a solid pitcher a minority of the time. He had a lower ERA than Bronson’s 6.62 and only gave up 40 home runs. Bronson is on pace to give up 55-60.
        When does Arroyo replace Milton in the forgettable games RLN recap?

        • Hey — he may have already done so.

          Context does matter, though. In the age of Milton, the rotation was weak but not the Inferno we are currently inhabiting. With the Milton-era rotation, the present-day Arroyo would not be starting.

        • Eric Milton was also expected to be a frontline starter. Bronson is a stopgap until guys get back. Big difference.

    • As a longtime “armchair theologian” … +5000!!

      I think you nailed it in your response. Once we get others back, he’ll be phased out or end up as the long mop-up guy for games where it really doesn’t matter anyway.

      • You don’t phase out Bronson in 2017 if you are Reds ! You can send him to bullpen and allow him to coach Amir Garrett who needs mental toughness among other things ! Cody Reed and especially Stephenson need help …

  6. Arroyo will be out of the rotation soon and still be a fan favorite and still be in the Reds HOF. I do think he could be an asset as a mentor to young starting pitchers, but he’s not be used in that capacity.

    The larger question is why are the Reds young pitching trio of Reed/Stephenson/ and Garrett regressing and not taking that next step toward realizing their potential and transitioning from top prospects to big league pitchers? All the other questions in the rebuild are being answered or at least looking optimistic. How much accountability should fall on the shoulders of Brian Price. He seems to work well with veterans and journeyman and mentally mature starters. That’s not the job description here though. Price seems to not have patience or confidence or the skills to develop high ceiling, unproven young pitchers. He also is on the record saying he went against the grain of most organizations, and believes the bullpen is a valuable place for their development as starters in their early years.

    While DW and the FO don’t allow Price to make unilateral decisions, I can see how and why DW would give Price some rope. It fits his strategy with limiting service time and he also has no reason to make any managerial changes this year. Give Price some rope, if/when he hangs himself, he gets to choose his new manager in the off-season. We may have seen DW trump Price with the decision to send Reed back to AAA. Hey, I gave you the benefit of the doubt….but enough.

    It still doesn’t answer completely why Arroyo is given the opportunity to fail repeatedly but the young pitchers are not? That seems like double standard. If it were Homer trying to build his innings and find his command- fine.

    • Good points. One add: Remember that Price, although a pitching coach of long standing, is now the -manager-, with a full-time pitching coach beneath him. There is a balance between overdelegating and undermining – Price may be feeling his way through this and the apparent treatment of Stephenson may reflect this. Worst case is that the pendulum swings madly back and forth and Stephenson is whipsawed in the middle. Best case is that either DW, Price and the coaching staff are in alignment on a plan for Bob (and we don’t know what it is) or that Price -trusts- the judgment of his pitching coach and is letting him set the plan.

      • Yes. we certainly don’t know all the dynamics. It does appear that someone changed the plan for Cody Reed and determined that burying him in the bullpen and going back and forth wasn’t working and went with the more conventional approach to start every 5th day in AAA to get him back on track. Price did say last week that Stephenson will be in the bullpen to essentially learn how to be a professional pitcher. That is unconventional in 2017.

        • It is unconventional, but considering that Stephenson’s issue is consistent command, it might be a sensible approach. He evidently wasn’t progressing at AAA, so sending him down to work on it might be counter-productive.

  7. Reds fans love Bronson Arroyo but it’s time he goes to the bullpen as a longy or else becomes a counselor to the Reds young pitchers.

  8. I think Bronson has won 3 more games than Homer I NEVER PLAY AND GET PAID BAILEY ! That’s the question ??? Homer Bailey is why you had to get rid of mike leake ? YES ! And Chapman ? YES Bronson is teaching the young pitchers a few things !!!! So to ask what to do ? Come on that’s 3 more wins than your 120 million dollar man has ! You keep him on this 2017 team then you can add him to a Barry Larkin staff next season ! Go Reds

    • I didn’t realize Homer Bailey was at personal fault for the Reds not having the resources to sign Leake and-or Chapman. I guess he is the only employee in history that unilaterally commands his employer to give him money. I guess he purposely injured himself as well.

      A new low

    • This post see to imply it is Bailey who must have somehow held a gun to the Reds and demanded his contact. It was a choice based upon potential, performance, and cost. The line of guesstimating fell in Bailey’s direction. Unfortunate, but given the circumstances without knowing the future I probably would have done the same

    • So, if your vision is plausible, we can go with an 11 or 12 man pitching staff to support a rostered “coach”? And all because he’s a fan favorite despite the fact that he’ll never throw 200 innings again and, even on his good days, we need to give him 5+ run support to have a shot at winning?

      • Much the same could be said of the entire Reds’ rotation right now. The difference might be (though I don’t know this) that Bronson is the only one who embraces the idea of mentoring. And in his last start, please recall, 4 runs wiould have been ample support.

  9. The answer is simple, I believe. Until we have a better option to put in there, it’s Arroyo. As well, I believe part of his “numbers” has to do with how taxed the bullpen has been. At times, I believe Price has been pressed in games to keep the starter out there longer than he would have normally, simply because the bullpen has been used so much.

Comments are closed.

About Chad Dotson

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at


2017 Reds