Free Agent Stock Watch: Bronson Arroyo

If the Reds don't pick up Bronson Arroyo's option for 2011, he'll be in high demand. Only three pitchers have logged more innings than Arroyo over the course of the past five seasons and the 33-year-old has posted a 3.97 ERA with 6.2 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 over that span. Arroyo's 2010 season has been strong, as usual. He has a 3.84 ERA with 4.7 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 for the NL Central leaders this year.

Arroyo hasn't started fewer than 28 games in a season since joining Boston's rotation in 2004. That kind of consistency has value on the open market, even if Arroyo doesn't have overpowering stuff. The Mariners, Orioles, Tigers, Royals, Indians, Rockies, Brewers, Nationals and Diamondbacks are some of the teams that could have interest in adding an innings eater this winter. There are other options of course – Kevin Millwood, Ted Lilly, Javier Vazquez and Dave Bush will be available – but Arroyo would have no trouble finding a job if the Reds decline his option.

It would cost Cincinnati $2MM to decline Arroyo's option and either $11MM or $13MM to pick it up (the cost depends on how many innings the right-hander pitches). The Reds have many pitchers to consider for their 2011 rotation, but none of them are as predictable as Arroyo. It would not be surprising at all to see the Reds pick up Arroyo's option.

If GM Walt Jocketty decides to turn down the option, the Reds will have to decide whether to offer arbitration to Arroyo, who currently projects as a Type A free agent. They could obtain compensatory picks if Arroyo declined an offer of arbitration to sign elsewhere, but he could always accept their offer.

Jason Marquis, another durable early thirties right-hander, signed a two-year deal worth $15MM last offseason despite similarly low strikeout rates. If Arroyo hits the open market this winter, it would not be surprising to see him sign a two-year deal worth $20MM or so.


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