The long offseason wait for Bronson Arroyo may finally be coming to an end, as three teams are reportedly interested in the veteran right-hander: the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, and Orioles. Bob Nightengale of USA Today says the DBacks are the "slight favorites." No word yet on whether or not the breaking point is Arroyo getting the guaranteed third year he's been seeking.
That's all well and good, but I can't help but ask the obvious question: Do the Dodgers even need Arroyo?
First of all, you can't blame Ned Colletti for being aggressive in stockpiling starting pitchers after multiple injuries made a mess of the rotation last season. Only Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu went unscathed (thankfully), while Zack Greinke, Chris Capuano, Ted Lilly, Josh Beckett, and Chad Billingsley all got hurt at one time or another. Heck, even Stephen Fife couldn't stay healthy, and he was barely in LA. Matt Magill did stay healthy, but pitched like someone who was hurt.
So, as I said above, you can understand Colletti's rationale in pursuing Arroyo, a guy who's made a career out of punching the clock over and over. Over 14 seasons, he's put together a 138-127 record with a 4.19 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, and 1,479 K's. He appeared in the 2006 All-Star Game, won an NL Gold Glove in 2010, and twice led the NL in starts with 34.
Speaking of starts, he's never once appeared on the DL. Seriously. Think about it - that's 391 career starts, and not once has he been unable to take the mound because he's on the Disabled List. That's amazing.
Right now the rotation is Kershaw, Greinke, Ryu, Dan Haren, and hopefully Beckett, assuming he's ready to go. Waiting in the wings is Chad Billingsley, who might reappear around the All-Star break. Then there's also someone like prospect Zach Lee, who's quietly biding his time until his number is called.
With all of that said, if the Dodgers are able to give Arroyo a deal similar to what they gave Brian Wilson (one year, with an option for a second), then I'd go for it. If it's two years guaranteed I probably would as well, but three would seem like too much. I know that's what Arroyo wants, but maybe that's also why it's February and he hasn't been signed yet.
He's been a member of the Reds since 2006, and four of the past five seasons he's put together an ERA in the 3.70-3.80 range. That's pretty darn good considering Cincinnati is a hitter's park and he isn't getting any younger. Imagine what he can do in Dodger Stadium for a full season. That's even more reason to get excited.
If I'm Arroyo, I'm liking the Dodgers because of the opportunity to win, being in pitcher's ballpark, and the cash he can get is probably more than anywhere else. Why would I be a little nervous? Well, you saw the list of starts a few paragraphs above. I can't imagine he'd be willing to pitch out of the bullpen if everyone is healthy, especially considering he hasn't done so since 2005 with the Red Sox.
The Dodgers lost out on a mega-contract for Masahiro Tanaka, so let's see how much they want a veteran innings-eater like Arroyo instead.