Cincinnati Reds signed Bronson Arroyo to minor league deal to battle for last spot in rotation

Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cincinnati Reds brought back former ace Bronson Arroyo to challenge prospects for a spot on the team.

After being apart for three seasons, the Cincinnati Reds re-signed Bronson Arroyo to a minor league deal.  His task is to put pressure on the prospects in camp for the last spot in the rotation.  He is tasked with  showing the Reds that he can pitch at the MLB level still.

In his first go around, Arroyo spent eight years with the Reds on the front end of their rotation, averaging 33 starts per year.  During those eight years, he twice led the National League in starts made and once led the NL in innings pitched at 240 2 /3 innings.

On the downside, Arroyo twice led the NL in runs allowed and in home runs allowed.  He allowed 46 and 32, which are both more than Dan Straily’s NL leading total from 2016.  In 2011, Arroyo surrendered the most runs, earned runs, and home runs in the NL.

That’s the good and bad of Bronson Arroyo, but there is more to him than that.  His lowest innings pitched total for a single season during his Reds’ career was 199 innings.  He also won at least nine games and struck out at least 100 every season his last time with the Reds.

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Arroyo is also a good hitting pitcher.  He has six home runs and has a .128 career batting average.  He has 603 career at-bats and 82 career bunts, which is quite impressive for any pitcher.

Bronson Arroyo needs to prove that he is healthy enough to pitch and good enough to be on the Cincinnati Reds’ roster.

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Arroyo hasn’t pitched in a major league rotation since he made 14 starts for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2014.  He has tried to pitch for the Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Washington Nationals.  None of those attempts were successful.

Now, Arroyo has a small army of prospects and other minor league free agents to beat out for a spot on the Reds.  First he has to show that he is healthy enough, along with Homer Bailey, to pitch in the big leagues again.

With the unreliable Bailey and presumed opening day starter, Anthony DeSclafani,  both due to miss the start of the season, the Reds need to see that Arroyo is healthy.  Then he has to figure out whether his arm is better served for the bullpen or starting rotation.  It didn’t help that he was ill in camp, pushing his schedule back.

Once he demonstrates that he is healthy enough he has to fight off the likes of Amir Garrett, Louis Coleman, Tim Adleman and Barrett Astin among others.  What do they all have in common?  Just that they want a spot on the Reds’ roster every bit as much as Arroyo.

Arroyo will likely end up as the number five starter or the long man in the bullpen.  The only way he opens the season in Louisville is if he needs more time to get his arm strength up or he isn’t 100% healthy. He has no reason to  spend his time in Triple-A if he is healthy.  Just having him in Cincinnati should help the approach of the other pitchers.

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Whatever happens with Arroyo, it is a good signing.  It is also a good sign that the Reds are thinking about the mental approach to the game.  In any case, it will be great to see Arroyo back in a Reds’ uniform.