There are still two teams focused on 2013, but for the rest of the league the preparations for 2014 have already begun, and the Baltimore Orioles are no different. Today we examine the Orioles need for starting pitching as we breakdown free agent right hander Bronson Arroyo.
Baltimore needs starting pitching, let's face it, that is the case for 90% of teams in the league and has been the case in Charm City for over a decade. The O's do have a solid core in place for 2014, and although Chris Tillman broke through with a 16 win season and threw over 200 innings, Baltimore still needs a top of the rotation arm that is not only a quality arm, but can stay healthy and eat up some innings. Today's free agent starting pitcher profile fits the bill, so let's take a look at Bronson Arroyo.
First we will begin with the pro's for the case for Baltimore to try and bring him into Baltimore. The 36 year old is not looking for a long term deal at his age because no one is going to give it to him, thus the Orioles fondness of short term deals with pitchers fits right into Arroyo's profile. Secondly, and probably the most important aspect of his attraction as a free agent is his durability. Arroyo has pitched 200 or more innings every season but one since 2005 and that one season he didn't, he threw 199 innings. In addition, he has also made 29 or more starts every season since 2004, and Baltimore could certainly use an arm like that in their rotation as much as their bullpen has been overworked these past two seasons.
Arroyo is not just an innings eater, he is a quality pitcher as well. He may not be that ace the team needs, but he is certainly a solid number two who has boasted a sub four ERA in four of the last five seasons for the Cincinnati Reds. He currently boasts a career 4.19 ERA over 14 seasons in the big leagues and that number would be much lower if not for his first two seasons in Pittsburgh in 2000, 2001.
Just incase you were wondering, Arroyo has a career 3.75 ERA at Camden Yards in 24 innings pitched over four starts with a 3-0 record.
The question with the Orioles, as it always is when it comes to acquiring players is money. Arroyoa has made more than $10 million per year in four of the last five seasons and will likely be looking for a two year deal with an option for a third at around $9-11 million per. We all know Baltimore does not like to spend that kind of coin on a pitcher, but when you can acquire a guy who has a long track record of staying healthy, pitching 200+ innings and keeping that ERA under four, he should be a guy you are willing to spend money on.
In the end, we do not believe that Baltimore will go against their own grain and spend the money it would take to land Arroyo, and another contributing factor here is that he may not want to leave the National League. Only time will tell in that regard, but if the Orioles ever wanted to surprise the baseball world, spending money on Arroyo would certainly do that.
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