Cincinnati Reds turn to Bronson Arroyo for competition at the back end of the rotation

Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar/Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar/Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY Sports /

After three years away, Bronson Arroyo comes back to the Cincinnati Reds to challenge for the number five spot in the rotation.

When Bronson Arroyo signed his minor league deal with the Cincinnati Reds he brought with him 145 wins and a 4.19 ERA from over 17 MLB seasons.  Arroyo spent six of those season with the Reds during which time he earned 105 of those wins.  He also collected 1,112 of his 1,526 strikeouts during that time.

He comes back to Cincinnati to fight for the number five spot in the rotation.  Arroyo hasn’t pitched in a big league game since June of 2014.  He pitched in two rookie league games for the Washington Nationals last season and that is all of the game work he has had since 2014.  Prior to that his first organization, the Pittsburgh Pirates, tried to bring Arroyo back.

Arroyo underwent Tommy John surgery in 2014 and was expected back for opening day in 2015, but never made it.  With the Reds he has a chance to make the bullpen, but he was brought in to replace the consistency that Dan Straily would have brought to the back end of the rotation before he was traded.

Arroyo averaged over six innings per start every year since 2004 with the Boston Red Sox, including 2014 when he made 14 starts for the Arizona Diamondbacks before hurting his elbow.  If he is anywhere close to that, the Reds would be ecstatic.  His lowest IP count for a non-injury season since 2004  is 178 2/3 in 2004.

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The Cincinnati Reds need Bronson Arroyo to push the prospects, even if he ends up off of the team.

There are generally three options for Arroyo to start the season.  He could end up on the Reds staff either in the pen or the rotation.  The other two options are he could end up on the DL or in Louisville building up arm strength.

If Arroyo ends up on the DL, he may end up retiring.

It’s not because he is a quitter, but rather because he has already announced that this is his last season.  If he isn’t competing on the big league level or close to it, he might as well move on.

His plan should be to stay healthy and be at least as good as he was in his worst season with the Reds.  That year he went 9-12 with an ERA of 5.07.  He made 32 starts covering 199 innings.

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His other plan should be to enjoy Arizona and make sure that Robert Stephenson feels Arroyo breathing down his back.  Arroyo probably helps the team more in Cincinnati with Stephenson to start the year in Louisville.  Maybe Arroyo can jump start Stephenson’s competitive drive.  In any case, it will be fun to watch Arroyo throw his dart like pitches all spring long.