Over the past couple of days, Bronson Arroyo has allowed himself to be interviewed in several cities, one of them being New York’s WFAN radio on Tuesday.
When host Mike Francesa asked Arroyo if the New York Yankees or New York Mets had contacted him, Arroyo offered a matter-of-fact ‘no’. Then, on his own, he mentioned three teams which have shown interest: the Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Angels and Baltimore Orioles. Phillies fans can only hope what he said next offers the biggest clue.
When Francesa pressed him for a preference of leagues, Arroyo said, “all things considered, I’d rather stay in the National League.” If true, that gives the Phillies a significant advantage to signing one of baseball’s more durable starting pitchers.
The Phillies feel comfortable with the front end of their rotation with Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels at the top, and many of their scouts feel that they can slot Cuban signee Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez right in at No. 3. They might have to settle for Kyle Kendrick or Jonathan Pettibone as a No. 5, but Arroyo, despite being 36-years old, would bring an impressive resume to the No. 4 slot.
He was 13-11 with a 3.76 ERA last year for the Cincinnati Reds, well below the Phils’ team ERA of 4.41. He’s made 32 starts nine years in a row and has never missed a start.
Looking at the landscape, Arroyo might be among the oldest of the available free agents, but he also is the most durable. Pitchers like Josh Johnson and Ervin Santana have injury and inconsistency issues. Arroyo has neither and, for that reason alone, the Phillies should open the checkbook and make sure Arroyo is in training camp come February.