New York Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman has said that he would like to add about 400 innings through free agency this offseason. With only C.C. Sabathia and Ivan Nova guaranteed rotation spots this winter there are actually closer to 500-600 innings up for grabs. Right now, it looks like the Yankees want to make Japanese ace Masuhiro Tanaka one of their free agent purchases but Tanaka has yet to be posted and there is a snag in the deal between Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball to amend the posting process. Further complicating matters for the Yankees is Hiroki Kuroda’s indecision as to his future.
If the Yankees bring in Tanaka and Kuroda decides he is coming back the Yankees’ rotation is pretty much set. Those are huge questions at this point. Because of that, Cashman has to plan as if neither one of those two will be a Yankee next season. That means he has to kick the tires on some free agents and Bronson Arroyo’s name has been mentioned quite a bit as a possibility.
Arroyo, who will turn 37 in February, has put together some solid seasons with the Cincinnati Reds in recent years. Over his eight years as a Reds’ starter, Arroyo has posted a 4.05 ERA, a 104-94 record and 1.26 WHIP. He also surrendered an average of 1.3 home runs per nine innings, pretty much in line with his 1.2 HR/9 mark. Last season, Arroyo went 14-12 with a 3.79 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and surrendered a league-leading 32 home runs.
The home runs are scary, especially when you put an aging pitcher with a fastball that tops out in the mid-80’s in Yankee Stadium. What Arroyo is good at is giving whatever team he is on innings. Over his career he has averaged 208 innings per year and had 202 innings pitched each of the last two seasons with an ERA in the 3.70’s. That is solid work but it still came in the NL Central and not the AL East.
Arroyo does have AL East experience having pitched for the Boston Red Sox from 2003-05. As a member of the Red Sox he went 24-19 with a 4.19 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. That was eight years ago though and Arroyo is not the same pitcher he was eight years ago. Arroyo owns a 5.78 ERA in 33 inter-league games which also includes games against the NL when he was with the Red Sox but the majority has come against AL teams as a member of the Reds.
There are much better options than Arroyo on the free agent market. Right now, Arroyo has had quite a bit of interest from several clubs looking for a veteran presence in their rotation so there is a small chance a bidding war could develop for his services. The Yankees have enough age and health question marks in their rotation without adding a soon-to-be 37-year-old who gives up home runs in bunches. This is one free agent the Yankees need to stay away from.