Bronson Arroyo enjoys pitching for the Reds and "would love to retire in this uniform," but the veteran right-hander stressed that he was looking for more than a one-year contract on the free agent market this winter in an interview with Pete McCarthy and various fans during an MLB.com Chatting Cage segment (MLB.com's Mark Sheldon and Jeremy Warnemuende have a partial transcript).
Arroyo said it would take at least a two-year deal for him to remain in Cincinnati:"There's obviously a limit to how long we can play this game, and we're all trying to maximize our opportunities as far as money. If it wasn't for the dollar bill, I know I would be in this uniform until the day I retire, because I know they enjoy what I do around here, and what I bring to the table on and off the field and inside the locker room. But at the end of the day, dollars and cents always weigh a little heavier than anything else in life, usually.
"If my price tag is a little bit too much or they feel like they don't want to give me more than a one-year deal here, then it's going to be very difficult, because it's probably going to be the last time I have an opportunity to go out and sign a multiyear deal with a ballclub."
The Reds have enjoyed unusual durability from their starting rotation over the last two seasons, as Arroyo, Homer Bailey, Mat Latos and Mike Leake have combined to make 239 starts. Johnny Cueto was a perfect 33-for-33 in 2012 but has made multiple trips to the DL this season, opening the door for rookie Tony Cingrani to impress in his place. Cueto's health status could make the Reds think about bringing back a durable veteran like Arroyo, who has averaged 208 innings over his eight seasons in Cincinnati.
The problem could be a payroll crunch. The mid-market Reds already have $79MM committed to the 2014 payroll, and that's before counting arbitration raises to Bailey and Leake or counting what the team may have to spend to re-sign (or acquire a replacement for) Shin-Soo Choo. Cincinnati also has promising young arms like Robert Stephenson and Daniel Corcino in the farm system and Aroldis Chapman could still be converted to a starter. The Reds could prefer to spend on extending Bailey and/or Leake rather than locking up a pitcher who will be 37 next Opening Day.
That said, the Reds will get a revenue increase in the form of a new TV contract in 2016, and the Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips extensions show that the club isn't afraid to spend big on key players. Arroyo obviously isn't the class of those players, but his durability and good form will surely net him a multiyear deal from some team this winter. Arroyo has a 3.62 ERA, 5.6 K/9 and 4.15 K/BB over 179 IP this season.