Monday, March 20, 2006
Back sometime in 2004, my buddy, Steve, and I were having a debate about Bronson Arroyo’s potential. My position was that Arroyo would only improve over the next couple of years gaining better control of his fastball and if he got a third pitch – cutter or change up, then Arroyo could possibly be a good #3 starter for the Sox. Steve was adamant that Arroyo’s mediocre heater (all aspects control, movement and velocity) would eventually limit his effectiveness as hitters got used to his only plus pitch – the breaking ball. Steve was right on, as Arroyo’s slipping stats proved.
"All of Arroyo's numbers moved in the wrong direction from 2004 - K/9, BB/9, HR/9, G/F ratio. He is exiting a player's normal prime years - 26 and 27. Club's have started to figure Arroyo out by stacking their lineup with LHB. This year he faced 469 southpaws versus 333 RHB. It was basically even in 2004. Although the most telling evidence is that Arroyo's K and walk rate both trended unfavorably even against RHB in 2005."
Arroyo has turned into a Righty-One-Out-GuY (ROOGY)/swing man. It certainly has value, but it is not worth $11.25 M. Papelbon will likely be an upgrade over Arroyo as he projects to be a pitcher than can get hitters out from both sides of the plate. And down the road, Lenny DiNardo or Abe Alvarez should be fine in the swing man/LOOGY role. The other thing in common is that each of the three pitchers will earn around the league minimum or 350K. The Red Sox got out from under a bad contract and received value (Wily Mo Pena) in return. It is a nice deal by Theo.
A couple of lessons learned about this transaction:
1) Never forget about the free talent markets – waivers claims, minor league free agents, the rule V draft. (Arroyo was a waiver claim.) They can pay dividends with minimum investment.
2) Theo Epstein is a lawyer, so get it in writing.
No posts recently because I was away from a PC for most of last week and on Sunday, I was praying to the porcelain god. I caught a 24-hour bug. And Sunday is not a misprint. I was just a bit hung-over on Saturday. My post plan before Opening Day is Wily Mo Pena, assessment of the good and evil in the A.L. East, Baseball and non-baseball Random Rumblings. Since I’m starting a new job on Monday and my fantasy auction is April 1st, posts are going to be sporadic.