Despite a relatively quiet offseason, the Philadelphia Phillies have not necessarily filled all of their holes. Outfielder Marlon Byrd might be a bust, while starting pitcher Roberto Hernandez is an unknown in a shallow stadium like Citizens Bank Park.
Although the Phillies have not been connected to many rumors since early December, one rumor recently emerged that was rather interesting. According to the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo, the Phillies were still potentially interested in signing starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo as of January 12.
The only appeal to Arroyo for the Phillies is that he doesn't have a draft pick attached to him and doesn't get hurt. But at what price will that cost the Phillies, both on the books and on the mound?
While it's indisputable that the Phillies need some sort of starting pitching help, it shouldn't come in the form of Arroyo by any means. Here's why.
All advanced statistics used courtesy of FanGraphs.
Forget that leg kick of his. Despite his longevity in the major leagues, Arroyo really isn't all that great.
For starters, his career ERA is 4.19. 4.19! That's just terrible. Add in the fact that his career FIP is 4.54 and his career xFIP is 4.39, and you've got a truly mediocre pitcher.
Arroyo's lowest ERA in a season is 3.29, which he posted in 2006. However, the next-closest figure to that is 3.74 in 2012. As for his career WHIP? 1.29. Yikes.
He's also not a strikeout artist, as he registered only 124 strikeouts in 2013, which led to a 5.5 K/9 rate. His home run/fly-ball rate in 2013 was 14.0 percent. While Arroyo induced more ground balls in 2013 than in any of his previous seasons, that could suggest a fluke more than anything.
Whether or not you believe in luck is irrelevant in this argument, though. The basic stats don't lie, and the advanced metrics certainly aren't fibbing. Arroyo isn't a good starting pitcher, and he's not worth a multiyear deal because of it.
Arroyo isn't a dominant pitcher, and as a result, he shouldn't be paid like one.
There are two reasons why Arroyo may still be a free agent. One is that many of the top starting pitching free agents continue to wait on Masahiro Tanaka to sign so he can set the market. The other is that teams have offered Arroyo two-year deals, but Cafardo reports that he's holding out for a third guaranteed year.
Arroyo's crazy for thinking a team's going to guarantee him a third year. At age 36, it doesn't matter if he's never missed a start. Bodies break down at some point, and teams are aware of that—even if health hasn't been a serious issue in the past.
While no official rumor has proved what kind of money Arroyo is looking for, MLB Trade Rumors' Tim Dierkes predicted at the beginning of the offseason that Arroyo would sign a two-year, $24 million contract. If that happens to be the case, he's going to be way overpaid.
The worst part is that general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. might be the guy willing to overpay for Arroyo. In all aspects, it'd be a stupid investment.
We've mentioned that Arroyo just doesn't have much ability and his demands are too high. We also lightly touched on the fact that Arroyo will be 37 years old in February.
Let's point that out a bit more right now.
In 2013, the Phillies relied too much on younger arms due to injuries. However, in 2014, four of their starters—Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Kyle Kendrick and Roberto Hernandez—will either be at least 30 years old now or by the end of the season.
If you add in Arroyo, that's another guy on the wrong side of 30 and an unnecessary addition at that.
Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez is only 27 years old, and the Phillies have some prospects in the minors too. Arroyo would block all of them from making it to the big leagues. For a team like the Phillies, who need that infusion of youth with the MLB veterans, this would be a bad move all around.
Arroyo has been healthy, and we'll give him credit where credit is due. But past that, he's nothing special and should be avoided at all costs.