Bronson Arroyo, one of the game's craftiest and most controlled hurlers over the last three seasons, is still available on the free-agent market. He is yet another player the Texas Rangers should consider adding to their pitching staff while it is without Derek Holland.
According to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of Fox Sports, Arroyo, 36, is seeking a three-year deal. However, because of his age teams are hesitant to go to a third guaranteed year. Rosenthal and Morosi report that it's possible he could be had for two years and a vesting option for a third year.
I've seen reports that Arroyo is seeking between $20-25 million for those two years. That would make the value of a three deal around an estimated $30-35 million.
Understandably, there is definitely concern in handing a contract of that length to a guy who will turn 37 during spring training. But don't let the bags under Arroyo's eyes fool you—he's still very much a quality major league pitcher.
Let's take a look at what he could bring to the Rangers' rotation.
First, as I mentioned, he is one of the most controlled pitchers in baseball. Over the last three seasons, he's pitched 603 innings and walked just 114 batters. In 2012, he finished with a remarkable 1.6 walk rate per nine innings. Last year, it inched down to 1.5 per nine innings.
Arroyo has never walked more than 68 batters in a season. Put it this way: Between 2012 and 2013, his average strikeout-to-walk ratio was 3.67. Then look at his strikeout totals in those two years: just 253.
The man just doesn't walk hitters. Also he's only thrown six wild pitches in 1,039 innings over the last five years. Let that sink in for a minute.
Arroyo's pinpoint control helps to keep his pitch count down, which in turn leads to more innings. Durability is another of Arroyo's specialties. He's thrown 200 or more innings in eight of the last nine seasons. In 2011, he pitched 199 innings.
He's also made 32 or more starts in each of the last nine years, including three seasons (2006-08) of 34 or more. He has nine complete games over the last five seasons. So taking the ball every five days is the furthest thing from an issue for him.
Arroyo's M.O. is deception and movement. He won't even touch 90 mph on his fastball, but he has a wicked package of pitches that move all over the zone. He hides the ball well and can be difficult to square up. Over his career, opponents have hit .264 off him.
He's a guy who needs run support just like every pitcher. Over his career, he's 9-79 when he gets between zero and two runs of support.
When he gets three to five runs behind him, Arroyo is 49-39 lifetime. The difference in those records indicates that he consistently keeps his team in the game. He doesn't need a barrage of scoring to win games, but the Rangers offense would generally provide it.
Now for the sake of being thorough, Arroyo gives up long balls—and a lot of them. He surrendered a whopping 46 in 2011. He cut down that total by 20 in 2012, but then proceeded to allow 32 in 2013. This explains the somewhat high ERA total for his career.
Granted, he's been pitching in Great American Ballpark since 2006. But that is a clear sign of concern for any club with a driving range for a ballpark.
Arroyo gives up quite a few hits. He has surrendered more than a hit per inning over his career. But his tricky movement allows him to get out of jams with ground balls, just as often as he can be taken deep. He keeps pitching and doesn't let baserunners phase him.
With all that considered, it's in the Rangers' interest to at least make an offer to Arroyo for two years. They could add an option for a third year based on innings pitched or starts.
There's nothing that suggests he will slow down or sustain a major injury over the life of a three-year deal. He's another innings-eater that keeps his team in the game almost every time out.
The Rangers could use another veteran guy like that.
All stats courtesy of baseball-reference.com