Reports have flown in by the handful about the Cincinnati Reds closing in on a contract with pitcher Bronson Arroyo, a 15-year veteran right-hander who will turn 40 years old later this month.
Arroyo last appeared in the majors in 2014, going 7-4 with a 4.08 ERA over 14 starts with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Tommy John surgery shut down Arroyo in July of 2014. The operation on his right elbow cost him his 2015 and 2016 season. In June 2015, Arroyo was traded to Atlanta. One month later, he was dealt to the Dodgers in a three-way trade that included the Marlins. Still sidelined, the Dodgers did not pick up his 2016 option, making him a free agent.
Arroyo was brought back to his former manager Dusty Baker in Washington when he was signed to a minor-league deal in January 2016. In spring training, he appeared in two games, recording a save and posting a 3.60 ERA over a five-inning span. Arroyo went on to make two appearances in late June for the Gulf Coast Nationals, but was shut down for the year when his elbow never got to 100 percent.
After winning a World Series with Boston in 2004, Arroyo spent his glory days in the Queen City. He was traded to the Reds for outfielder Willy Mo Pena prior to the 2006 season. Over eight years in Cincinnati, Arroyo made 265 starts, compiling a record of 105-94 and a 4.05 ERA.
The lengthy Florida-native with the big leg kick had his best year in 2010, winning a career-high 17 games and helping the Reds win their first NL Central title in 15 years. In the 2012 NLDS, Arroyo blanked the Giants over seven innings, yielding just one hit in what remains the last postseason victory for the Reds.
In his final three years in Cincinnati, Arroyo allowed 104 home runs, the price to pay when you play at Great American Ball Park‘s hitter-friendly dimensions.
Although it’s been over two years since he’s seen major league action, it can’t hurt the club to offer the veteran an invite to spring training. Last year, the Reds’ bullpen had the second-worst ERA in the majors (5.09) and lost 32 games (a three-way tie for second-most).
Arroyo is a veteran who has played at the game’s highest level. If he has some quality innings left in the arm, he can serve in the minors and be a positive influence in a clubhouse filled with youngsters, eventually eating up some outs at the big-league level.
If there is nothing left in the tank, then you can cut ties with him — no harm, no foul. At the very least, Arroyo deserves a chance to prove himself.