Bronson Arroyo Solidifies Arizona Diamondbacks' Starting Rotation

Jonathan Cullen@@jcullen71Senior Writer IFebruary 9, 2014

Arroyo will provide some stability to the D'Backs' rotation.
Arroyo will provide some stability to the D'Backs' rotation.Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The news that the Arizona Diamondbacks had signed Bronson Arroyo first came from John Gambadoro at Arizona Sports 98.7 KTAR.

It's not the move that the D'Backs had hoped to make this winter, but it was a move that the team needed after opening camp on Thursday without landing Masahiro Tanaka or making a deal for a pitcher like David Price.

Arroyo is a workhorse in every sense of the word, just not the top-of-the-rotation starter that Arizona had planned on adding this winter. Over the past nine seasons, Arroyo has given his team at least 200 innings and 30 starts in every year except for 2011, when he only reached 199 innings. He takes the ball every fifth day, taking a tremendous strain off of the bullpen.

The money involved is a little steep, with Arroyo coming in on a two-year contract worth a guaranteed $23.5 million. ESPN's Buster Olney has the breakdown here. Arroyo will make $9.5 in each of the next two seasons with Arizona having an option for a third season at $11 million or a buyout of $4.5 million.

The two positives to the deal are the short-term commitment, locking in the D'Backs for only two seasons, and also the fact that the D'Backs won't have to sacrifice any draft-pick compensation. 

The 36-year-old immediately becomes the D'Backs second-best starter, better than anyone who threw a pitch for Arizona last season outside of young lefty Patrick Corbin. The fact that Arroyo becomes the D'Backs second-best starter should be a concern given Arroyo's 87 mph fastball velocity and high home run numbers (32) last season. 

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The move into the NL West should help Arroyo. Three of the teams in the division play in a pitcher's park, and Arroyo should be accustomed to pitching in a hitter's park after spending the past eight years with the Cincinnati Reds. Arizona's Chase Field ranked 16th in home runs allowed in 2013 while the Reds' Great American Ball Park came in second. 

The Arroyo signing also gives the D'Backs the option of gauging the readiness of top pitching prospect Archie Bradley without having to force him into the MLB rotation if he is not ready at the start of the season. If Bradley is ready, then he should earn a spot and force Trevor Cahill and Brandon McCarthy to battle for the last spot in the team's rotation. 

The D'Backs will have a stunning $27.6 million tied up in Arroyo, McCarthy and Cahill this season, all for basically the same type of pitcher. 

Arroyo won 14 games last season, a number the D'Backs would gladly take this season behind Corbin and in front of Wade Miley. The three pitchers combined to win 38 between them last season, a number that the D'Backs will need to improve upon to have any chance of making the playoffs. The win totals should improve with a better bullpen headed by new closer Addison Reed.

Arizona will also be looking for an immediate impact on the underachieving pitching staff from newly hired pitching coach Mike Harkey and pitching guru Dave Duncan. Cahill, McCarthy and David Hernandez are three pitchers that need to provide the D'Backs more in 2014.

Signing Arroyo might not have been Plan A or Plan B this offseason, but his signing brings some stability to the Arizona rotation for 2014. It just might not be enough to make a big difference on the D'Backs fortunes this season. 

(Information used from John Gambadoro/Arizona Sports 98.7, Baseball-ReferenceBuster Olney/ESPNFangraphs, ESPNCot's Baseball Contracts/Baseball Prospectus)