Aug 19, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo (61) pitches during the third inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports
With the Toronto Blue Jays once again entering the offseason with an obvious need for improvement in their starting pitching, there will be a ton of speculation about which available pitchers fit the mold. Ideally, Alex Anthopoulos and Co. are going to try to find a top of the rotation starter to compliment R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle, and try to do so as cost effectively as possible.
Does impending free agent Bronson Arroyo fit that mold?
In his latest column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo discusses free agency with the to-be 37-year-old Arroyo. In the piece, which only briefly mentions Arroyo, Carardo lists the Blue Jays as a possible fit for the right-hander.
Now, before we write it off completely, let’s do our due diligence.
Arroyo is going to be 37-years-old, and is ideally looking for a 3-year deal to finish up his career. One the last two seasons in Cincinnati, Arroyo is 26-22 with a 3.76 ERA and a 5.63 K/9 ratio, throwing 202 inning each of past two years. His is prone to the home run ball, having allowed 58 over the last two seasons and an astronomical 46 in 2011. He just completed a two-year, $28.45 million deal.
Do those numbers necessarily say “top of the rotation”?
However, since we play in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the game, we have to take into account Arroyo’s performance in Great American Park. In 2013, Great American Park clocked in at number 16 on ESPN’s Park Factor standings and ranked 8th in 2012. Rogers Centre, ranked 4th in 2013 and 15th in 2012 respectively. The move from Great American to Rogers Centre could be seen as somewhat of a lateral move in regards to park difficulty, but it is also worth mentioning that Arroyo has a career mark of 2-3 and an ERA of 6.75 at Rogers Centre. In those six starts, he has surrendered 7 home runs.
All that aside, I could live with his park factors. However, I have bigger issues with a different split. As you can see from the stats below, Arroyo has significantly wild splits when it comes to wins, losses, and no decisions. When he wins, he can be lights out and induces weak contact. However, when he is on the losing end, Arroyo is getting knocked around like there is no tomorrow, meaning he’s not even doing a good job of keeping his team in games in losing efforts. For a pitcher that has straddled the .500 mark for most of his career, that means an awful lot of not knowing what you’re going to get on any given night.
The point of all this? Bronson Arroyo may indeed be a solid complementary pitcher, likely a number three or four guy, but a top of the rotation starter he is not. As such, and despite Mr. Cafardo’s assertion, the Blue Jays will likely look elsewhere to fill that void, choosing to spend their money (or prospects) on younger option.