Arroyo’s Days in Cincinnati Have Been ‘Steady’


I recall during this past season where Thom Brennaman referenced the career of Bronson Arroyo. He said it won’t be known as “great”, but should be remembered for being a good career.  If I could define it, I’d say “steady” might be a more appropriate word of choice.

If you look on Merriam-Webster’s website and put “steady” in their search, you get this…

1a : direct or sure in movement : unfaltering (a steady hand)
b : firm in position : fixed (held the pole steady)
c : keeping nearly upright in a seaway (a steady ship)

2: showing little variation or fluctuation : stable, uniform (steady breeze, steady prices)

3a : not easily disturbed or upset (steady nerves)
b (1) : constant in feeling, principle, purpose, or attachment (steady friends) (2) : dependable
c : not given to dissipation : sober

I’m going to focus on the primary of each of the three…

Can’t have an Arroyo pic without the leg kick! (Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE)

…direct or sure in movement…

I will use this to pertain Arroyo’s “movement”. It is the first thing that comes to your mind, right? His delivery?

Aside from his various arm slots when he delivers a pitch, you know the overall pitching motion excessively well. The high leg kick when pitching from his wind-up, the slide step when he pitches from the stretch. They are as a given as the sun will rise.

With his velocity, people are fooled into thinking that Arroyo is a pitcher in which you can steal a base. Not so. That slide step sure does help. Yes, his personal catcher who goes under the name of Ryan Hanigan has much to do with it as well, but would-be base stealers are caught at a rate of 39%, well above the league average for the same seven year period (27-28%).

…showing little variation or fluctuation…

Statistically speaking, you know what you will get from Bronson, year in, year out.

– You will get at least 32 starts.  That’s the lowest number he has in any of his seven seasons since he arrived in Cincinnati.
– You will get 200 innings. With the exception of 2011, Arroyo has provided the Reds with at least 200 innings. In 2011, he hurled 199 innings. One inning. Big deal, huh?
– You are most likely looking double digit wins as well as double digit losses. In five seasons, Arroyo has finished with a winning record. On average, he will finish a season with a record of roughly 12-11.
– He will allow home runs and hits while issuing few walks.

The only surprise is when you get that stinker of an outing versus that excellent one. He does have both, but those in between those of stinker and excellent are just steady, quality starts.

…not easily disturbed (steady nerves)

Arroyo is not one to outwardly express any emotion. Everything appears to be on an even keel. Some might say he’s too laid back, but others may believe that serves not only well for Arroyo, but for those around him.

Think about this for a moment. Have you ever seen Arroyo express discontent whenever Dusty Baker pulls him from a game? If he has, it’s not in view of his teammates or the cameras.

No one would stand up and say that Arroyo was spectacular in 2012. I will say it was one of his better efforts since coming over from Boston. This past season, Arroyo set career lows (since becoming a full-time starter) in home runs allowed (26), runs allowed (86), earned runs allowed (84) and walks (35).

Remember how some were piling on Arroyo with all the gopher balls he served up in 2011? Arroyo permitted 46 homers…while walking only 45. He reversed that this past season.

Arroyo will enter the 2013 season in the final year of a current three year, $35MM deal. A buzz word that becomes attached the Reds regardless of the time of year is that of “payroll”. Being a “small market” team, the Reds are viewed as one that cannot afford huge contracts. Yes, there’s been a few of those as of late, but, honestly, Arroyo’s is not one of those. Sometimes, the numbers do lie.

Look at the Reds spreadsheet from Cot’s Contracts over on Baseball Prospectus. It reflects Arroyo’s annual salary as $12MM for 2012 an $11.5MM for 2013. This isn’t the case. Once you check the terms they have listed, you realize those yearly salary numbers are a bit inflated. They take that $15MM deferral and break it up for the three years of the contract. Truth is, the deferrals are paid through 2012 meaning Arroyo will be due monies until that year. Same goes for Aroldis Chapman. I’ll let you do the work on that one.

Arroyo will be looking to climb up the statistical lists this year. Entering 2013, Arroyo is ranked in the Reds top 25 in…

Wins: 91 (T22nd w/Don Gullett)
Innings pitched: 1,488.1 (23rd)
Career Strikeouts: 988 (12th, that one may catch you by surprise)
Games started: 233 (12th)
WAR: 17.7 (22nd)
SO/9: 5.974 (17th)
SO/BB: 2.476 (6th)

For the upcoming season, Arroyo could pass the likes of Paul Derringer, Gary Nolan, Jim O’Toole, Tom Browning and Tony Mullane in strikeouts. Yes, strikeouts. If he accumulates 135 SO, which is his average for his entire career, he will have notched 1,123 strikeouts during his Reds career. Also, note that those he will pass are all members of the Reds Hall of Fame.

With his standard 32 starts, Arroyo would eclipse Jim Maloney, Pete Donohue and Nolan in career starts. Maloney and Donohue are Reds Hall of Famers.

And the wins? With 9 wins for 2013 (the least number he has amassed in any season as a Red), Arroyo would sit squarely on 100. I know wins don’t carry the cache’ they once did, but he would be tied with Mario Soto. Arroyo would pass the likes of Jose Rijo, Billy Rhines and O’Toole on his way to 100 career Reds wins. And yes, Rijo and Soto are Reds HOF members. Don’t forget the guy Arroyo is currently tied with for wins (Gullett) is also a member of the Reds Hall of Fame.

Who knows if 2013 will be Arroyo’s last as a Red. With the young talents of Tony Cingrani and Daniel Corcino being only another year away from being permanent members of the Reds 25-man roster, signs would indicate that it could be.

If it is, Bronson Arroyo has had himself, at the very least, a steady Reds career.