Veteran right-hander Bronson Arroyo has a minor league offer on the table from the Nationals and is receiving interest from four other clubs, including the Reds, reports MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon. In addition to that pair of teams, the Marlins, Pirates and Padres all have interest, though the interest of those three clubs does not appear to be as serious as the interest in Cincinnati and D.C. Sheldon tweeted earlier today that the Reds could make an offer soon, and in his column he notes that Arroyo expects to make a decision in the near future.
Arroyo tells Sheldon that he threw a bullpen session with Reds catching coach Mike Stefanski on Friday this past week. Sheldon adds that while the Reds didn’t have other personnel present to watch the session, they’ve received video and are determining a course of action. Arroyo sounds like his hope is to return to the Reds, though he doesn’t explicitly state that. He does, however, say that he hopes the Reds make an offer today, and he also adds: “I wanted to give the Reds every opportunity to keep me. Bryan Price has told me he’d love to have me in their locker room. I think it benefits both sides. It’s an opportunity for me to come into a less-stressed situation after a surgery and help young guys on the staff. If we can get something that’s in the ballpark [financially], I’d be happy.”
It’s unclear if Cincinnati, or any team, would be comfortable guaranteeing Arroyo a spot on the 40-man roster, though a minor league deal with a decent base salary and plenty of incentives could easily afford Arroyo several million dollars by season’s end if he remains healthy and proves capable of replicating anything close to his previous levels of performance. Arroyo does tell Sheldon that his arm feels 100 percent, though he admits that it took a full 16 months to get to that point, and he’s also frank in stating that he’s uncertain what to expect in terms of workload. “I’d be lying if I said I knew I could throw 200 innings with this arm,” said Arroyo. “I just don’t know.”
Arroyo, 39 next month, spent the 2006-13 seasons in a Reds uniform, pitching 199 innings or more in each of those eight campaigns. In total, he amassed a 4.05 ERA in 1690 1/3 innings, averaging 5.9 strikeouts and 2.3 walks per nine innings pitched. However, he underwent Tommy John surgery in July 2014 and missed the entire 2015 season as he worked his way back. The Nationals currently project to have a rotation consisting of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Joe Ross and Tanner Roark, while Cincinnati’s rotation is far more in flux. Homer Bailey is recovering from his own Tommy John surgery, while Anthony DeSclafani and Raisel Iglesias seem like easy calls for starting gigs. Beyond that, Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb, John Moscot and Michael Lorenzen will compete for jobs in the rotation. Top prospect Robert Stephenson could eventually join that mix as well, though he has just 55 2/3 innings above the Double-A level.
Clearly, the Nats offer a better shot at contending than do the rebuilding Reds, and Washington can also offer a reunion with Arroyo’s former manager, Dusty Baker. However, Arroyo knows the Cincinnati organization quite well and has a clearer path to a rotation spot there. Additionally, as Sheldon notes, Arroyo’s girlfriend lives in Cincinnati, adding to the appeal for him on a personal level. The other three clubs, of course, have their merits as well, but they’re characterized more as secondary considerations than prime suitors by Sheldon for the time being.