As we get closer to the beginning of Spring Training, Bronson Arroyo still doesn’t have a current employer. In each of the past two years, Arroyo has thrown over 200 innings and has had an ERA under 4.00 despite poorer peripherals. Given his durability, why hasn’t he found a home? Maybe it’s because the Royals haven’t jumped on the opportunity yet.
As a pitcher who is 1 standard deviation below the middle in walk rate and between 0 and 1 standard deviation below the middle in strikeout rate, we can expect somewhat below average performance from Arroyo. In addition to his homer problems, this is probably why he hasn’t found a job yet. These issues would not be a problem for the Royals.
Arroyo, in addition to being a low walk and low strikeout pitcher, tends to get a few more fly balls than normal. The narrative is that fly balls in the Cincinnati Reds home ballpark are much easier home runs than at many other stadiums; however, looking at Arroyo’s career home/road splits, he appears to be no worse at giving up home runs at home than on the road. It is difficult to say whether or not Arroyo’s home run issues would decrease with Kauffman as a home ballpark, but it probably couldn’t hurt. In addition, the Royals’ outfield defense is a fair bit better than the Reds’ outfield defense and could likely help depress how well batters perform on Arroyo’s fly balls that do stay in the park.
As a Royal, Arroyo would have a very good chance of outperforming his peripherals and producing somewhere around 2 wins of value determined by actual runs given up. Arroyo would basically be a better version of Jeremy Guthrie, who had a 4.04 ERA with poorer peripherals. With the pitching market focused on A.J. Burnett, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Ervin Santana, Arroyo’s asking price might be a bit deflated. Arroyo made $16.4M in the last year of a 3yr/$35M contract; if the Royals could get him on a cheap-ish 2 year contract, say $7-9M/year, Arroyo might be worth the risk.