It was recently announced that Bronson Arroyo agreed to a three-year, $35 million contract extension, keeping him in a Reds uniform through the 2013 season.
I have mixed feeling about this, as I appreciate his durability and consistency, but I can't help but think as Arroyo approaches his mid-30s that not only have we already seen his best baseball, but his remaining in place will potentially block the path of one of the young, talented pitchers in the organization.
Arroyo's success was startling last year, as he posted a career-high 17 wins with 3.88 ERA and a league low BABIP (batting average on balls in play) of .246, much lower than his career average of .290.
What are the odds that he will repeat that?
Also, there are a few key components to this team (namely Joey Votto and Jay Bruce) that will be asking for some big dollars in the next few years, so hopefully this deal won't serve as a roadblock to future ones, from an economics point of view.
With that said, if there is any aging pitching whom I trust to live up to a deal like this, it would be Arroyo, as the man never gets hurt, and consistently goes deep into games.
As a Cincinnati Red, he has never missed a turn in the rotation, as there are three certainties in life: death, taxes, and Arroyo toeing the rubber every fifth day.
There are various questions as to how Mike Leake, Travis Wood, Edinson Volquez, Homer Bailey, Aroldis Chapman and Johnny Cueto (to a certain extent) will fare going forward into 2011, despite their talent and promise. But you know what you are getting out of Arroyo.
Additionally, his value as a clubhouse leader and mentor to the various young pitchers on this staff cannot be measured with statistics.
In a sport where there tends to be a revolving door of players, especially for mid-market teams like the Reds, Arroyo is a familiar face as he is set to enter his sixth season with the organization.
Walt Jocketty has done wonders during his time with the Reds, but I have mixed feelings about this particular deal, as Arroyo has to go his usual 200-plus innings/35 starts for the next three years to make this work.