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Bronson Arroyo could hurt the Dodgers as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Even without signing free-agent pitchers Masahiro Tanaka or Bronson Arroyo, the Dodgers enter next season with one of the best starting rotations in the majors. However, passing on both Tanaka and Arroyo could end up hurting Los Angeles in more ways than one.
The Dodgers were reportedly one of the favorites to land Tanaka, especially after team president Stan Kasten declared that they “certainly won’t be outbid” for the Japanese right-hander’s services. Tanaka eventually signed a seven-year, $155 million contract with the Yankees, and Los Angeles may regret not solidifying its rotation for the next few years.
After giving Kershaw a seven-year contract extension in January, the Dodgers now have the top three starters in their rotation (including Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu) locked up through at least 2018. If the 25-year-old Tanaka turns out to be as good as advertised, Los Angeles missed out on building a rotation that could rival that of the Braves during the 1990s and early 2000s.
From 1991 through 2005, the trio of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz helped lead Atlanta to 14 consecutive division titles, not including the strike-shortened 1994 campaign.
The Dodgers will get over losing out on Tanaka, especially since he signed with an American League team. But passing on Arroyo could have a more immediate, albeit shorter-term, impact on Los Angeles because he signed with a division rival.
After missing the playoffs in each of the last two years, the Arizona Diamondbacks will seriously challenge the Dodgers for the NL West crown in 2014. In addition to signing Arroyo, the D’Backs acquired outfielder Mark Trumbo from the Los Angeles Angels and closer Addison Reed from the Chicago White Sox in separate offseason trades.
Aside from his impact on the competition, the Dodgers could have used Arroyo in their rotation for selfish reasons. Even after signing left-hander Paul Maholm to an incentive-laden one-year deal, the fifth starter’s spot is still wide open entering spring training.
If healthy, Josh Beckett will challenge for the final spot in the rotation. Los Angeles will also get Chad Billingsley back from Tommy John surgery this year, likely sometime around midseason.
While Maholm, Beckett and Billingsley offer varying degrees of promise, Arroyo’s consistency and dependability would have given the Dodgers greater stability at the back of their rotation.
Arroyo has made at least 32 starts and pitched at least 199.0 innings in every season since 2005. He also leads the majors in wins since 2006 with 105.