Bronson Arroyo Rumors
Here are some news items from the National League's middle division...
- Ryne Sandberg has turned down an offer to return as the Cubs' Triple-A manager, tweets MLB.com's Carrie Muskat, and Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com reports that Sandberg won't be with the organization at all in 2011. Sandberg was heavily rumored to take over managing the Cubs after Lou Piniella's retirement, but Chicago instead gave the job to interim manager Mike Quade.
- A roundtable of Cardinals writers collected by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch discussed the Colby Rasmus trade rumors and the majority don't like the idea. Comments range from "there would be no logic behind a trade" to "trading Rasmus would be incredibly stupid unless it’s an offer that’s so ridiculously good that it cannot be rejected."
- Pirates president Frank Coonelly discussed the team's manager search and other topics in a chat with fans on MLB.com.
- Steven Jackson, Brandon Moss and Justin Thomas can all become minor league free agents after being outrighted to Pittsburgh's Triple-A affiliate, reports MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch. Sean Gallagher, who was also outrighted, can declare free agency on Saturday but Langosch says the Pirates will try to sign the pitcher to a contract before then.
- Walt Jocketty tells MLB.com's Mark Sheldon that the Reds want to work out a contract extension with Bronson Arroyo before Opening Day. "I don't want to go into the season negotiating," Sheldon said. "We'll try to [get it done] before the start of the season."
- Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times praises Milwaukee's hire of Ron Roenicke as manager.
- Former Phillies hitting coach Milt Thompson has interviewed for the hitting coach job in Houston, reports MLB.com's Brian McTaggart.
The Reds picked up Jonny Gomes' 2011 option and declined the options for Orlando Cabrera and Aaron Harang, according to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. Gomes' option is for $1.75MM, Cabrera's buyout is for $1MM (instead of a $4MM salary) and Harang's buyout is for $2MM ($12.75MM salary). As expected, the Reds exercised their 2011 for Bronson Arroyo earlier today.
Harang is an unranked free agent, but Cabrera is a Type B, so the Reds could technically obtain a draft pick if he turns down arbitration to sign elsewhere. It seems unlikely that the Reds would offer arbitration, since they turned down Cabrera's option.
The Reds officially exercised their 2011 option for Bronson Arroyo, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). GM Walt Jocketty said last month that he would pick up the option, so the decision was expected. The Reds have expressed interest in extending the deal to keep Arroyo in Cincinnati beyond 2011.
Arroyo, 33, logged at least 200 innings for the sixth consecutive season in 2010, posting a 3.88 ERA with 5.0 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9. He will earn $13MM in 2011.
In today's column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo examines the possibility of a Zack Greinke trade, noting that the Red Sox should at least inquire, given Allard Baird's history with the Royals and Greinke. Here are some of Cafardo's other notes:
- One AL GM on Greinke vs. Cliff Lee: "There may not be anyone better than Lee right now, but how long is that going to last? .... If you’re looking to build around someone, you would roll the dice with Greinke and hope that what he showed this season is an off year and not a sign of things to come. You’d have to do due diligence, but the upside with Greinke is pretty good."
- The Reds are attempting to work out an extension with Bronson Arroyo that would keep him in Cincinnati for a few years and slightly reduce his 2011 salary ($13MM). That way, the team could have some flexibility to add free agents this winter, and would lock up one of its best arms to a long-term contract.
- Bill Hall will look to find a full-time job at one position this offseason, but "people around Hall" are suggesting the all-purpose utility role he played in Boston might be better suited for him.
- The Rays are expected to field trade offers for B.J. Upton, Jason Bartlett, and maybe James Shields.
- David Ortiz and the Red Sox have had some contract discussions, but there's no resolution yet on either an extension or Ortiz's 2011 option. Boston will have until three days after the World Series ends to decide on the $12.5MM option, last month, we heard the Sox were prepared to exercise it.
The Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay tweets that Reds' GM Walt Jocketty has said he will "definitely" pick up Bronson Arroyo's $11MM option for 2011. Jocketty says they'll try to add years to the contract as well. If that fails, Arroyo is essentially on a one-year, $9MM deal, as the Reds would've had to pay a $2MM buy out on the option anyway.
Arroyo, 34 in February, was traded to the Reds from Boston along with $1.5MM in exchange for Wily Mo Pena back in 2006. The trade came as a surprise move, as Arroyo had just signed an extension with the Red Sox two months prior. In February of 2007, he signed a two-year $25MM extension with the Reds that includes this $11MM option.
Arroyo has been a workhorse for the Reds over the course of his Cincinnati tenure, throwing 200 innings or more in every season, and compiling a 3.97 ERA over that time with 6.2 K/9 and a solid 2.6 BB/9. While his strikeouts are down over the past two seasons, his control has improved and he's become more difficult to hit. Arroyo allowed a career-best 7.8 hits per nine innings in 2010 (though that was likely aided by a .246 BABIP -- well below his career .290 mark), helping the Reds to the NL Central Division Championship.
The Reds will have their hands full in trying to extend Arroyo, as he's made it clear this season that he won't accept a discount to stay with the Reds. Back in July, Arroyo told Fay that he wouldn't consider restructuring his contract at a discount like teammate Scott Rolen did. Arroyo said that got burned when he took a discount to stay in Boston and was traded months later, and that he had to look out for his own best interest this time around.
One thing the Reds will have in their favor is that Arroyo has said that he would prefer to remain with the Reds for at least three more years. He cited liking the city and the team's young talent as reasons.
After the season, the Reds will face a decision on Bronson Arroyo that will essentially be worth at least $9MM. Arroyo's $11MM option could increase to $13MM based on innings pitched, but the right-hander tells Hal McCoy of the Daily Dayton News that he thinks the team will exercise the option rather than pay the $2MM buyout.
"They have to pick up my option, no matter what, even if they planned to trade me,” Arroyo said. “They have to pick it up. If they let me walk for free ($2 million), they’d be giving me a huge lottery ticket."
Arroyo hints that while he wouldn't expect to earn Derek Lowe money ($15MM annually) if he becomes a free agent, his numbers (215.2 IP, 3.88 ERA) are probably good enough that teams would be willing to match or exceed the price Cincinnati would have to pay to keep him. When MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith looked at the possibility of Arroyo reaching free agency, he agreed, suggesting the 33-year-old could earn a contract worth $20MM over two years. Still, Arroyo doesn't sound like he expects to hit the open market, indicating that he'd prefer to remain in Cincinnati anyway.
"I’d like to be here for a few more years," said Arroyo. "We have a young club with the opportunity for success down the road and I’m comfortable in my surroundings and I enjoy the city. I’d like to be here for at least three more, but it all depends on what they want."
As major league teams unveil their 2011 schedules, here are some news items....
- As Daniel Hudson improves to 6-1 with a 1.67 ERA as a Diamondback tonight, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets that Hudson "probably" could have been a Brewer had Milwaukee accepted a one-for-one offer from Chicago for Prince Fielder. The problem at the time was that the Brewers projected Hudson as only a third or fourth starter and wanted more for their slugger. Obviously hindsight is 20/20 on any missed trade, but if Hudson continues to pitch well in Arizona, it will put even more pressure on the Brewers to get a big return back if they do end up dealing Fielder.
- An anonymous NL official tells Newsday's Ken Davidoff that Jose Reyes could command "one really good prospect, one solid prospect, and one or two medium-range prospects" in a trade should the Mets put their shortstop on the market this winter. This source seems in favor of a total rebuild for the Mets; he also thinks they should try to deal David Wright and Francisco Rodriguez.
- Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News cites Bronson Arroyo's durability, consistent win totals and veteran presence as reasons why Cincinnati should pick up the right-hander's $11MM option for next season.
- We've heard that the Rockies will look for a right-handed first baseman to platoon with Todd Helton next season, and ESPN.com's Jason A. Churchill cites former Rockie Garrett Atkins as a possibility for the role. Atkins was non-tendered
by Colorado last winter and after signing a one-year contract with
Baltimore, was released by the Orioles last July.
- Interim Arizona GM Jerry Dipoto will interview for the full-time position tomorrow, reports MLB.com's Steve Gilbert (Twitter link).
- Any Boston fans tickled by A.J. Burnett's struggles this season might not want to crow too much, since Fangraphs' Joe Pawlikowski cites Burnett as comparable to the also-struggling John Lackey.
- Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press wonders if the Red Sox might pursue Jim Thome as a cheaper free agent DH option rather than pick up David Ortiz's 2011 option.
- Travis Buck's "organizational status is clearly at an all-time low" in Oakland, writes Mychael Urban of CSNBayArea.com. Buck is eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter and could be non-tendered given the number of other promising outfielders in the Athletics' system.
- If Jesus Montero can develop a solid catching glove to go along with his powerful bat, the Mariners may regret passing on New York's Montero-centered offer for Cliff Lee, writes ESPN.com's Buster Olney.
- Blogger El Lefty Malo praises the Giants' acquisition of Cody Ross and some other recent Brian Sabean moves.
- Angels manager Mike Scioscia thinks the Halos just need a "tweaking" rather than an overhaul in the winter, reports Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.
- Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says upgrading the infield should be a top priority for the Cardinals in the offseason.
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.
The Brewers' number one goal this winter will be upgrading their pitching staff, Mark Attanasio told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Specifically, the team hopes to improve their starting rotation, according to the Brewers' owner.
"We know we've got a problem, which is starting pitching," said Attanasio. "We, as an organization, need to face that reality and address it, as opposed to shrink from it or excuse it."
Attanasio goes on to say the free agent market isn't "the perfect answer," and that the team may have to look into trading a position player for pitching. Haudricourt interprets Attanasio's comments to mean the Brewers will explore the possibility of moving Prince Fielder for an impact arm. 2011 is the slugger's final arbitration-eligible season, and GM Doug Melvin has said in the past that he prefers to trade position players in the offseason, when there are more potential suitors.
If the Brewers don't receive any offers they like for Fielder, turning to the free agent market should still be an option. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe estimates that Milwaukee may clear as much as $47MM off the books this winter, which could make them "huge players" in the Cliff Lee sweepstakes. Cafardo adds that the club also "should be in on Bronson Arroyo," who has an $11MM club option for 2011.
Earlier this month, MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith examined the Brewers' 2011 rotation, touching upon potential trade and free agent options.
As Nationals fans cross their fingers about Stephen Strasburg, here's some news from around the majors...
- Aaron Heilman is looking forward to his first taste of free agency, reports MLB.com's Andrew Pentis. Heilman said that he and his agent hadn't had any talks yet with the Diamondbacks about a new contract.
- Lyle Overbay thinks he has a chance of returning to the Blue Jays next season, writes Jordan Bastian of MLB.com. Given the Overbay trade rumors we've been hearing all year, this would certainly be a surprise, especially since the Jays have given Adam Lind a few starts at first recently.
- Carlos Delgado has been placed on the seven-day disabled list by the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox, reports Sportsnet New York's Ben Wagner (via Twitter). Delgado is experiencing soreness in his back and left hip, not his twice-operated on right hip. The slugger signed a minor league contract with Boston on August 7.
- Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News thinks the Reds should "make signing Bronson Arroyo a priority," implies that 2010 is Ramon Hernandez's last year in Cincinnati and gives some other opinions in a fan mailbag.
- Was Khalil Greene the biggest loss for the Rangers this season? Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News thinks so, given the team's ongoing depth problems.
- Ricky Nolasco's contract extension talks with the Marlins may be on hold. Josh Friedman and Craig Mish of The Ticket 790AM radio report (via Twitter) that the Florida right-hander may miss the rest of the season with a partially-torn meniscus.
- Dontrelle Willis has been promoted to Triple-A Fresno, and Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News tweets that Willis is a candidate to join the Giants when the rosters expand on September 1.
- LaTroy Hawkins will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder, reports MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. It's unknown if the scope will reveal more severe damage, but Hawkins says he plans on pitching in 2011. Since signing a two-year, $7.5MM contract with Milwaukee last December, the injury-plagued Hawkins has made just 18 appearances for the Brewers, posting an 8.44 ERA.