With his 36th birthday in the rear-view mirror, Bronson Arroyo will be taking the hill for his eighth and possibly final season as a Cincinnati Red. When Arroyo made his major league debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates way back in 2000, Reds outfielder Yorman Rodriguez was only eight years old. Bronson is entering the final year of his three-year, $35 million contact extension, signed back in 2010.
After pitching for two seasons with the Pirates, Arroyo was claimed off waivers in 2003 by the Boston Red Sox where he would go on to get a World Series ring in 2004. The Reds traded outfielder Wily Mo Peña for Arroyo in 2006, a season in which Bronson would get his first selection to the All-Star game.
Arroyo is still a very capable and crafty pitcher. He is not blowing away opposing hitters with speed ranging 85-90 MPH but he gets a lot of movement on his fastball and is able to locate it with precision. He still has the occasional outing where he transforms into a human batting tee but more often than not he delivers a quality start. His signature high leg-kick motion can also deceive hitters and is used by many coaches to model balance, a pitcher’s best friend. Bronson is no slouch defensively either winning a Gold Glove Award in 2010.
Being the oldest player on the roster and closer to 40 than 30 is only one problem. The other problem is the hefty salary his tenure commands. Pair the two along with the fact that the Reds have a stable full of young pitching talent coming into their own and you can see the proverbial writing on the wall. Guys like Tony Cingrani and Daniel Corcino, just to name a couple, keep getting better and better and their relative youth will command much smaller paychecks. Smaller paychecks are getting scarce for Reds pitching, especially considering the fact that Mat Latos, Homer Bailey and Mike Leake all avoided arbitration and got substantial pay raises in the offseason.