Jobu takes a look at another possible pitching rotation addition, Bronson Arroyo.
As you all should know, The Rakuten Golden Eagles finally decided to let their superstar right-hander, Masahiro Tanaka, come to the United States. The Yankees are expected (and their fans demand it) to be big time players in the bidding for the pitcher. Depending on what happens with Alex Rodriguez, signing Tanaka could possibly put the Yankees above the $189MM luxury tax threshold. So, if they’re gonna go over, should they just go totally over and sign whoever they can to make the team better? If that’s what they do, could Bronson Arroyo fit into their plans?
It’s expected that the Yankees will sign Tanaka, and then let one of a group of young arms battle it out for the fifth rotation spot in Spring Training. The list of candidates includes Michael Pineda (my favorite), Adam Warren, David Phelps and Vidal Nuno. All of those guys would be good for the role, and they would also be cheap, but who cares about cheap if you’re already over the limit? Also, why not hand the role over to someone with no injury concerns and lots of quality major league experience?
That’s where Arroyo comes in. Arroyo, who will be 37 in February, has been a a full-time major leaguer since 2004, when the Red Sox made him a fixture in their rotation just two years after being waived by the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Sox traded him to the Reds for Wily Mo Peña in 2006, and he’s been a staple of the Reds’ rotation ever since. In his career, he has been the poster boy for durability, making at least 29 starts every year for the last ten years (over 32 starts in every year since 2004). He has also had quite a bit of success during that time, winning 129 games with a solid 4.10 ERA in those ten years. He has topped 14 wins six times, reaching his career high of 17 in 2010.
Arroyo’s not going to go out and win a Cy Young for you, but you know he’s going to take the ball every fifth day and give you a pretty good chance to win. Furthermore, he’s not going to cost you a big time commitment either. Once Tanaka signs, the other big name starters on the market, namely Matt Garza and Ubaldo Jimenez, are probably going to see their markets spike. Both Garza and Jimenez will be 30 years old this season, meaning whoever signs them is probably looking at a minimum five or six year deal, and close to, if not over, $100MM. When you take into account that Garza gets hurt every year, and Jimenez tasted success in the second half last year for the first time since the first half of 2009, that kind of commitment is scary.
Arroyo, on the other hand, is already old. At 37, he’s probably looking at a two year deal max. The ideal situation would be for Pineda to be healthy, back to his All-Star form from his rookie year in Seattle, but can the Yankees really count on that? That being said, the Yankees might be able to piece together replacement level fifth starter pitching from the kids they have, assuming they sign Tanaka. If they can’t sign Tanaka, however, I think I’d rather them sign Arroyo than risk all those years and money on one of the other two guys.
Let’s keep our options open, Brian Cashman. As long as he promises to never bring back those corn rows.
Featured image courtesy of: The Associated Press
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