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Los Angeles Dodgers Continually Linked to Bronson Arroyo

January 26th, 2014 at 7:11 AM
By Jimmy Reynolds

Throughout the offseason, the Los Angeles Dodgers have been continually linked to Bronson Arroyo. Well before Masahiro Tanaka signed with the New York Yankees, the interest in Arroyo on the part of the Dodgers seemed to indicate that they had no intention or little desire to pursue Tanaka. After Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported that the Dodgers have spoken to Arroyo in the time since Tanaka signed, it seems more likely that Arroyo has been something of a fallback option for a team with a somewhat uncertain rotation situation at the back end.

'Bronson Arroyo 02' photo (c) 2009, SD Dirk - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Arroyo is not the kind of pitcher that will blow hitters away with his stuff, nor is he the kind of pitcher that will excite a fan base. He is, however, incredibly consistent. Over the last nine seasons, Arroyo has logged 200 innings eight times (in 2011, he threw for 199). His FIP has been far from excellent over those nine seasons, never achieving better than 4.08, but he is also has one of the biggest discrepancies between ERA and FIP of any pitcher with similar peripherals.

For a Dodgers team currently relying on either Josh Beckett’s uncertain health (and declining ability) or Zach Lee’s readiness for the Major Leagues for the fifth spot in the rotation, the pursuit of Arroyo makes some practical sense. In Arroyo, you know exactly what type of pitcher you are going to get each time out, and it seems that as he has aged, he has figured out how to keep runs off the board despite lacking any overwhelming strikeout stuff. Over the past five seasons, Arroyo has been fairly consistent in terms of ERA. Aside from an outlier season in which he posted a 5.07 ERA in 2011, Arroyo has been good for an ERA of 3.84, 3.88, 3.74, and 3.79.

The Dodgers tepid pursuit of Tanaka and interest in Arroyo also brings another issue to the forefront: The Dodgers may not have that much need, relatively speaking, for a fifth starter this season. Because of the Australia trip, the first month sets up in such a way that the Dodgers will likely only need their fifth starter once, perhaps twice. In the playoffs, the Dodgers relied heavily on only three starters, turning to Ricky Nolasco only once during the postseason. Turning to a moderately successful innings-eater like Arroyo then makes more sense, as the team will need someone every fifth day to fill those midsummer innings. If the Dodgers offense is healthy and firing on all cylinders, Arroyo could serve as a solid option, and one that saves the bullpen as well.

With Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Dan Haren already in the fold, the team could certainly do worse than Arroyo for the fifth spot. Given the uncertainty of Beckett’s health and the concerns over Lee’s readiness, Arroyo may just be the answer for the Dodgers. 

Tags: Baseball, Bronson Arroyo, Clayton Kershaw, Dan Haren, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Josh Beckett, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Dodgers, Masahiro Tanaka, MLB, Ricky Nolasco, Zach Lee, Zack Greinke

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