9:41pm: Sheldon tweets that Arroyo will receive a $2MM base salary if he makes the Major League roster. Arroyo’s contract is heavily incentive-laden, as one would expect, and he can earn $6MM worth of incentives (topping out at 32 starts made), bringing the maximum potential value of the contract to $8MM.
9:34pm: The Nationals announced that they have signed Bronson Arroyo to a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training. Yesterday, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reported that the veteran right-hander had received a minor league contract offer from the Nats but was drawing interest from four other teams, including the Reds. The soon-to-be 39-year-old is represented by Turn 2 Sports Management.
Arroyo figures to serve as a depth option for the Nationals, who currently project to have a top three of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez in their rotation. Behind that strong trio is young right-hander Joe Ross, who looked impressive in his Major League debut in 2015, and right-hander Tanner Roark, who had an outstanding 2014 campaign before losing his rotation slot when the Nats made a surprising play for Scherzer last winter. Arroyo could allow the team to either give Ross some additional time at Triple-A — though he didn’t look like a pitcher who needed considerably more development time — or to keep Roark in the bullpen, if it’s decided that relief work is his best role. However, the Nats may very well elect to use Yusmeiro Petit in Roark’s previously occupied swingman role.
Suffice it to say, it is not immediately clear how Arroyo fits into the picture, but there are many options in the event that he makes the team out of Spring Training. By agreeing to terms with the Nationals, Arroyo will be reunited with Dusty Baker, who served as the Reds’ manager for six of Arroyo’s eight seasons in Cincinnati.
With the Reds, Arroyo established himself as one of baseball’s most durable workhorses, averaging 211 innings per season from 2006-13 and posting a 4.05 ERA with 5.9 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and a 40. percent ground-ball rate. Arroyo cleared 200 innings in every season with the Reds with the exception of 2011, when he finished with 199 frames pitched on the year. However, all of the innings eventually caught up to the right-hander, who signed a two-year, $23.5MM contract with the Diamondbacks in the 2013-14 offseason but suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament just 86 innings into that deal. Arroyo underwent Tommy John surgery in July 2014 and missed the entirety of the 2015 season as he recovered. Along the way, his contract was traded to the Braves and eventually the Dodgers, though Arroyo never suited up for either club. It’s unclear what type of mileage can be expected out of his arm in 2016, though he’ll open the year more than 21 months removed from his surgery, giving him more recovery time than the traditional Tommy John patient.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported an agreement was in place (via Twitter).