2/4/2014 12:03 P.M. ET
Lack of offers for proven Arroyo remains puzzling
Veteran right-hander frustrated by lack of developments among free-agent pitchers
By Mike Bauman / MLB.com
Can somebody give Bronson Arroyo a job? Or at least an offer?
Good guy, good pitcher, good teammate. One of the game's most consistent performers over the last decade. There isn't a lot on the debit side of the ledger here.
OK, he'll be 37 later this month. But he's been a reliable and durable performer. And with the absence of a qualifying offer from his previous employers, the Cincinnati Reds, he won't cost his new club a compensatory Draft choice.
In the past nine seasons, Arroyo has worked 200 or more innings eight times. The other time, he worked 199. He performed commendably for the Reds while pitching at a home park that is notably hitter-friendly. He has had a sub-4.00 ERA in four of the past five seasons.
And yet, no offers have appeared for Arroyo. In a recent interview with ESPN.com, Arroyo expressed some understandable frustration.
"I get [Clayton] Kershaw," Arroyo said. "I get why he got all that money. But then you've got guys like Dice-K [Matsuzaka], who came over here and was good for the first couple years but then didn't pan out. And when he doesn't pan out, they all just forget and go on to the next guy who's not proven, and pay him.
"Meanwhile, they forget about guys like me, who have done the job for the last eight or 10 years, and treat them like they've never done anything in this game. That's hard, man."
That would be a reaction to the Yankees' signing of Masahiro Tanaka for $155 million. To the Yankees, this was a chance to transform their rotation. To Arroyo, this was a ton of money paid to someone who has not yet pitched in a Major League game.
"I don't know what to do," Arroyo said. "I'm not trying to break the bank. But I am a guy who's performed for the last 10 years as consistently as anybody in the game. And for some reason, nobody's thrown me an offer yet."
Conventional wisdom was that after the Tanaka bidding war was settled, the remaining starting pitchers at the top of the free-agent class would find employment in a relatively short period of time. Matt Garza soon received a four-year deal from the Brewers, but Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez and Arroyo are still unemployed.
In Arroyo's case, without the burden of Draft-pick compensation getting in the way of a deal with a potential new employer, age becomes the primary argument against signing him. But even that is mitigated by his record of good health.
Arroyo reportedly had been seeking a three-year deal at roughly $10 million per year. At this juncture, he may have to settle for a two-year contract with an option for a third year.
But somewhere out there, in a game short of quality pitchers, there has to be some kind of deal for somebody with Bronson Arroyo's credentials, doesn't there?
We're not talking about an ace, but we are talking about somebody who has made as many starts over the last nine years as any pitcher in the game, and who is third in innings pitched over that period.
Bronson Arroyo has been a pitcher of consistent value for a considerable length of time. There are no guarantees of future performance, but in this game, at this time, Arroyo's performance should be a guarantee of at least one thing: continued big league employment.
Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.