Tag:Bronson Arroyo
Posted on: November 3, 2010 3:06 pm
Edited on: November 3, 2010 3:37 pm

Reds, Arroyo working on a new deal

Bronson Arroyo Although the Reds have picked up Bronson Arroyo's $11 million contract, the two sides are working on a new three-year deal through 2013, Arroyo tells CBSSports.com.

Arroyo went 17-10 with a 3.88 ERA last season and has won 70 games in the last five years for the Reds. Perhaps more importantly to the Reds and their young pitching staff, he's pitched at least 200 innings in each of the last six seasons.

Reds manager Walt Jocketty had said last month that the team would pick up his option for 2011.

Arroyo had signed a two-year, $25 million extension with the team in February 2007. The Reds acquired Arroyo from Boston in March of 2006 in exchange for Wily Mo Pena.

Arroyo was traded by the Red Sox after signing a three-year, $11.25 million contract, but before ever pitching for Boston on that contract. Earlier this season, Arroyo said he wouldn't give the Reds a "home-town discount" with a below-market contract, "I've made that mistake before," he said.

Just last season, the Reds re-signed Scott Rolen to a three-year deal, restructuring his previous deal, which was through 2010. Rolen is signed through 2012 with the Reds. It looks like Jocketty wants to keep some of his veterans around to help out with the younger players. Arroyo, in particular, has served as mentor to young Reds pitchers such as 2009 first-rounder Mike Leake.

Cincinnati also has a $1.75 million option on outfielder Jonny Gomes it is expected to pick up, while the team is unlikely to pick up options on shortstop Orlando Cabrera and starter Aaron Harang.

UPDATE: The Reds have offcially picked up the options on Arroyo and Gomes, while declining the options on Cabrera and Harang. Jocketty has said the team would like to bring Cabrera back, but at $4 million. The team owed Cabrera $1 million for buying out his contract. Harang was given $2 million to buy out his $12.75 million option.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: October 9, 2010 4:08 pm
Edited on: October 9, 2010 4:09 pm

Reds to pick up Arroyo option

Bronson Arroyo
John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports (via Twitter ) that Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said Cincinnati will "definitely" pick up pitcher Bronson Arroyo's 2011 option and will try to add years as well. Arroyo's option is a hefty $11 million, though the buyout of $2 million would have been a lot to pay a successful pitcher to go away.

The extension part might be complicated, however, because of Arroyo's hard feelings over the way the Reds acquired him from the Red Sox in 2006. He had signed a three-year deal with the Red Sox in January only to be traded away two months later. This July, Arroyo said that experience taught him baseball is a business, and he had no intention of talking about any long-term deal that reduces his 2011 money. It's common for a player in Arroyo's situation to give up some short-term money in exhange for long-term security.

"I’m not going to stay for a discount,” the 34-year-old said. "I’ve done that once. Loyalty in this game is the utmost. I got to look out for me. For what I’ve done the last six years in this game, to sign back for less than what my option is would be insane."

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: October 3, 2010 12:21 pm

Reds set first-round rotation

Travis Wood Yesterday Dusty Baker announced Edinson Volquez would start Game 1 of the Reds' NLDS. On Sunday, he filled out the rest of the rotation -- Bronson Arroyo and Johnny Cueto.

The names -- beyond Volquez -- weren't unexpected. Arroyo is 17-10 with a 3.88 ERA, while Cueto is 12-7 with a  3.64. The bigger surprise may have been that even if the Reds face the left-handed heavy Philadelphia Phillies in the first round, lefty Travis Wood (pictured) won't be used as a starter.

Wood had a perfect game into the ninth inning in his only start against the Phillies on July 10, a game the Reds ultimately lost. That was the rookie's third-ever start and came at Citizen's Bank Park.

"That was the first time they saw him, too. Not to take anything away from him," Baker told reporters (via MLB.com's Mark Sheldon ). "They didn't have [Chase] Utley. They didn't have [Placido] Polanco. They didn't have [Carlos] Ruiz. And they were scoring runs at the time. He's a gutsy kid, but he and Homer [Bailey] are probably the least experienced, too. If we can get him a game, he'd be more prepared to start the next time if there is a next time."

The Reds are going with 11 pitchers, with starters Wood and Bailey in the bullpen.

Baker said he wanted to break up the two hard throwers with Arroyo.

Cueto would get the Game 3 start at great American Ball Park, and Baker cited Cueto's 3.20 ERA at home and 4.10 ERA on the road as a deciding factor in that choice.

Baker said his rotation would be the same, regardless of which team the Reds face. They could face either the Phillies, Giants or Padres -- whoever the Reds get, they'll do it on the road.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: October 2, 2010 2:58 pm
Edited on: October 2, 2010 9:12 pm

Could be sad end for Harang in Cincy

Aaron Harang
The Reds are finally headed for the playoffs, but the man who's been in a Cincinnati uniform the longest might not be part of the picture.

Aaron Harang has been with the Reds since 2003 and has been the Opening Day starter the past five years. He's active in the community and well-liked by teammates and fans alike. But designating a playoff roster is cutthroat business, and it looks like there might be no room for the 32-year-old.

"I haven't heard anything," Harang told MLB.com. "There's nothing I can really do about it. It's up to Dusty [Baker], Bryan Price and Walt Jocketty to figure out the best possible players to take. ... Of course I want to be in there, and be on the field participating and helping out."

Harang made 19 starts this season, but lost his rotation spot in early September and has appeared just twice in relief since. He suffered a bruise when he took a line drive off his ankle in his last appearance September 22, but says he's fine to play.

His 6-7 record and 5.25 ERA, however, don't seem to make him a good candidate for the Reds' postseason roster, which will probably carry 11 pitchers. For the rotation, the Reds haven't announced who they'll take -- they have to choose from among Bronson Arroyo, Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey and Travis Wood.

Not only is this likely the end of Harang's season, it's also probably the end of his time with the Reds. He has a $12.75 million club option for 2011 that won't be picked up, and the Reds are flush with other pitching options going forward.

Harang deserves better, but baseball is a business, and Reds have to give themselves the best possible chance to win.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: September 15, 2010 4:08 pm
Edited on: September 15, 2010 5:23 pm

Votto hasn't popped up to infield this season

Joey Votto CINCINNATI -- Reds shortstop Orlando Cabrera couldn't believe it -- and he said so, albeit with an expletive. But it's true, his teammate, Joey Votto, hasn't popped up to the infield once this season.

"That’s incredible," said Cabrera, who has 13 infield fly balls this season. "I’d be bragging."

Cabrera would, Votto isn't.

"I’d trade 10 strikeouts for 10 popups, that’s for sure," Votto said when asked about the unusual stat on Tuesday.

ESPN's Rob Neyer noted Votto hadn't popped up last week (after Dan Hennessey of the Knuckleballs blog did the same nearly two months ago) and I mentioned it to Votto before Tuesday's game. Votto had never heard about it, nor had Laynce Nix, whose locker is next to Votto's. Nix claimed I'd jinxed Votto -- but the MVP candidate put the ball in play four times Tuesday night, and none of them were a fly ball within 140 feet of the plate (FanGraphs' definition of an Infield Fly Ball.)

Jonny Gomes, owner of 24 infield fly balls this year, called it "awesome."

"It’s tough with a round ball and round bat to be half of a fourth of an inch – whatever that is – to be off and that’s all it takes to pop up," Gomes said. "You can take a great swing and do it, everything can be locked and you can do it. It’s a pretty cool stat."

Like Votto himself, Gomes didn't know if it actually meant anything. In addition to Votto, Gomes, Cabrera and Nix, I asked Chris Valaika (none himself, but in just 28 plate appearances) and Miguel Cairo (three IFFB) -- and neither of them could think of any deeper meaning.

"I wouldn’t say it’s an anomaly, there’s a reason I’m not popping up. I don’t ever remember popping up much when I was younger," Votto said.

So I went somewhere else, I talked to a guy who thinks about hitters and the way hitters hit and think as much or more than any hitter -- pitcher Bronson Arroyo. Arroyo is a couple locker stalls down from Aroldis Chapman, but he doesn't have the arm of Chapman. Instead, he gets batters out by out-thinking them. Arroyo thought about the stat for a moment and broke down what it meant:

"It probably means for one, he lets the ball get really deep. If he lets the ball get deep and he fouls it off, it goes behind him. If he gets out front, it’ll go to the infield," Arroyo said. "That means he stays back a lot, which means he’s going to hit offspeed stuff and hit the fastball the opposite way. Which he does a decent bit. Other than that it’s just having a good eye and square the ball up more than the average cat. You’d still think, I don’t care who you are, Albert [Pujols] has to have a pop up to the infield this year. That’s weird."

Pujols, for the record, has 28 infield fly balls this season.

Of the balls put in the air against Arroyo this year, 11.1 percent (28) of those have been to the infield, while he's gotten 13.4 percent of those in the infield in his career.

As for Arroyo's analysis, Votto is one of the better power hitters going the other way. Of his 34 home runs, 16 have gone to left field. When you look at his home runs , he hits the most to left field, while scattering the rest of the field almost evenly. Arroyo said he's noticed when pitchers get Votto out, they have to go inside -- and the infield popup rate is an example of that.

"That’s an amazing stat. It means he doesn’t get fooled a whole lot," Arroyo said. "You see that on changeups when guys get out front. When he gets beat, he gets beat inside and that’s usually a ground ball because that’s off the hands and you can’t get extended and push the ball in the air."

Votto has just nine infield fly balls in his career. He had two last season, five as a rookie in 2008 and two in his September call-up in 2007.

Over his career, the Phillies' Ryan Howard has just 15 infield fly balls, two this season. His career IFFB% is just 1.8 percent.

This season among qualified batters, the Astros' Michael Bourn has the next-lowest IFFB%, with 1.1 percent of his fly balls going to the infield. He has one infield fly ball this season in 589 plate appearances.

 -- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: September 1, 2010 12:57 am
Edited on: September 1, 2010 7:34 am

Chapman proves worthy of hype

Aroldis Chapman

CINCINNATI – The attention was no doubt on the FM dial of pitch speeds from Cuban left-hander Aroldis Chapman in his big-league debut – 98.4, 86.4, 102.5, 86.9, 100.3, 102.7, 101.4 and 98.6. But catcher Ryan Hanigan wasn’t talking about the fact Chapman threw four of his eight pitches faster than 100 mph or even that seven were for strikes.

Instead, it was the fourth pitch – the second slowest of the night – that caught his attention. It was a slider that started on the outside of the plate and ended up near the shoetops of Brewers catcher Jonathan LuCroy. Lucroy gave a soft wave at the pitch before heading back to bench having managed just a foul ball (which was in itself impressive, because he made contact with a 102.5 fastball), but had no chance when the next pitch was the slider.

"That thing … that pitch … that's a whole different ballgame," Hanigan said. "His breaking ball is what people should be talking about. His slider is absolutely ridiculous. He's got to be able to throw it for a strike and he's got to get into counts where we can call it. So getting ahead is big, but if he can throw that breaking ball for a strike … good luck. It's a hammer. I saw it in Triple-A. It's 88-to-93. It's moving about a foot and a half. That's not something that anyone wants to hit. I don't care how good you are.”

Yet, it was an afterthought on Tuesday for Chapman's debut because of the velocity.

Rumored to have hit 105 in the minors, many wanted to see what was possible in a major-league stadium on a more accurate gun and the Pitch F/X system installed in each ballpark. The 102.7 registered on Chapman’s final pitch to Craig Counsell was the prettiest girl in the school. Counsell grounded out weakly to short for the out and the 19,218 at Great American Ball Park saw exactly what they were hoping to see.

If home runs are what grabs attentions for batters, it's radar gun reading for pitchers. The triple digits had rarely – if ever – been seen in the seven-year history of Great American Ball Park, Chapman registered four triple-digit readings in his eight pitches.

The crowd chanted "we want Chapman" throughout the game, took pictures of the home team's bullpen and cheered loudly when he was shown warming up in the bottom of the seventh.

"I’'e never seen anything like it," Reds closer Francisco Cordero said.

Cordero, no soft-tosser himself, said he'd never seen 102 on a scoreboard before. "I got that," he said, "in my Ferrari."

Chapman was asked about it afterwards.

"Once in a while I'll take a look and I see it, and yeah, I'm surprised, and I'm happy when I see what it is," Chapman said through translator Tomas Vera.

GM Walt Jocketty, the man who committed $30 million to the Cuban, was asked if he was impressed by that kind of velocity.

"Absolutely," he said with a smile.

Aroldis Chapman The Reds still plan on using Chapman as a starter in the future, but for now he'll be used much like the Rays used David Price in 2008 or, if all goes well, like the Angels used Francisco Rodriguez in 2002. The addition of Chapman gave an already confident team another energy boost – and it didn't hurt that the Cardinals dropped a fourth game in a row at the same time the Reds finished up an 8-4 victory over Milwaukee to push Cincinnati’s lead to seven games in the National League Central.

"I think it's exciting for all of us, and it's very exciting for his teammates to see the electric stuff he has and the contribution he'll give this club throughout the pennant race and hopefully in the postseason," Jocketty said. "It's very exciting, I could tell by the reception he got when he went in the dugout, too."

This is just the first step – Chapman has struggled at times with command in the minor leagues and the trio of Lucroy, Counsell and Carlos Gomez is hardly Murderers' Row. But regardless of who the competition was – the number 102.7, plus seven strikes on eight pitches, bodes well.

"Big-league hitters can time fastballs, no matter how hard they throw," Hanigan said, "but with him, first of all, he's left-handed. Second of all, he's ass and elbows coming at you. He throws from a weird arm slot, it's not from over the top. It's got a little three-quarter action and he hides the ball well. The ball coming out of his hand that hard is a lot tougher than something straight because the ball's moving. It's running a little or cutting a little, which is obviously makes it that much tougher to hit."

Reds Frisbee-tosser Bronson Arroyo said he can imagine what it’s like being a fireballer at a different level than anyone else. He was once there, when he was 9. He recalled parents pushing their kids up to the plate to face him.

Since he turned 10, Arroyo’s lost some of that intimidation. He said the hard-throwers can always have a little bit of confidence when they know in the back of their mind if they’re not sharp, they can reach back for something extra.

So what’s the limit of the human body as far as velocity?

“I guess it's 105,” Arroyo said.

We haven’t seen it yet, but it seems like it may only be a matter of time.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: August 29, 2010 8:03 pm

Brewers on hunt for pitching in offseason

Bronson Arroyo When the Milwaukee Brewers won 90 games in 2008, it was supposed to be the beginning of a string of playoff contention.

Instead, it was the Brewers high-water mark since 1992, and it's been more of the same failings since -- largely due to having one of the worst pitching staffs over the last two seasons.

That fact alone is likely to mean the demise of Ken Macha as manager, as the Boston Globe 's Nick Cafardo notes with owner Mark Attanasio possibly eyeing a shakeup.

Regardless of Macha's fate, Milwaukee's focal point this offseason will need to be acquiring pitching. The team has only Yovani Gallardo and Randy Wolf as viable rotation candidates. Dave Bush will be a free agent and will likely struggle to do better than his $4.215 million salary of 2010. Chris Narveson is pure filler, while Chris Capuano is coming off a two-year absence and is best used out of the bullpen. Free-agent import Doug Davis was a disaster to start the season then went down to injury.

Suffice it to say, Milwaukee has a lot of work ahead of itself. The good news is that payroll, at $90 million in 2010, will plummet to only $32.3 million guaranteed with only Prince Fielder due a significant raise, and even he may be on the way out. Making $11 million, Fielder will be entering his final season of arbitration and is likely to hit free agency and sign for millions the Brewers can't and shouldn't allocate to the beefy first baseman.

Cafardo says the team will make a hard push for Cliff Lee, the premier pitcher on the market. While that's admirable, it's difficult to imagine Lee agreeing to join the Brewers -- this will be his first -- and most likely last -- foray into free agency with a reasonable expectation of a massive payday.  Milwaukee isn't the type of club to commit those dollars, plus Lee may be looking to join a team with more stability in terms of year-to-year contention. It's not impossible, but it's improbable.

Another name Cafardo points out is more in line with what the Brewers can afford -- quality starters who aren't aces. That's Bronson Arroyo (pictured), who has fashioned himself a strong career as a durable, mid-rotation starter who won't break the bank, plus sign for a long deal and tie up money too far in the future to predict for a pitcher.

As long as we're naming names for the Brewers to consider in their hunt for starting pitchers, Jeremy Bonderman is another possibility. Bonderman has something rare for free-agent pitchers: the fact he's under 30. Having spent the last few seasons working back from injury, Bonderman has spent much of 2010 putting to rest concerns on how his shoulder would hold up after surgery. Bonderman will be 28 on October 28 and should be in fair demand on the market due to his age despite his 5.27 ERA in 136 2/3 innings, especially given the ERA is inflated given what he has actually produced.

Jorge De La Rosa could be an option to return to Milwaukee. The lefty finally put everything together in Colorado after stops with the Red Sox' minor-league system, a three-year run in Milwaukee and the Royals before landing in Colorado. De la Rosa has sketchy command but can punch out batters, and will spend 2011 being 30 years old.

Other possible fits include Hiroki Kuroda, who has had a solid run for the Dodgers, Ted Lilly, Carl Pavano and Javier Vazquez.

No, none are bona-fide aces, but they have that in Gallardo. What they need is depth to have any hope of contending with Cincinnati and St. Louis.

If the free-agent market is not to the team's liking, one internal option could be top prospect Jeremy Jeffress, who has put his second drug suspension behind him after testing positive for marijuana twice. Jeffress may be called up to pitch out of the bullpen in September after being converted to a reliever following the second suspension. Jeffress has a cumulative 2.32 ERA split among three levels, most recently Double-A where he has a 1.38 ERA in 13 innings. He's whiffed 15 and walked two, so clearly he has taken to the bullpen.

Is that really the best move for the fireballer? Young, power arms in the rotation are in short supply, and Jeffress could yet emerge into a low-cost, top rotation option. This decision is something the Brew Crew is currently struggling with.

"The tough part with power pitchers like him is where are they with their pitch counts," Macha says of the decision to convert Jeffress , reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel . "Are they going to pitch deep into games? The strike zone up here is tighter; hitters are more selective."

Whether Jeffress or a free agent, the Brewers' No. 1 priority this offseason is pitching. Whether they can get it remains to be seen.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: August 10, 2010 6:27 pm

Phillips stands by comments

Brandon Phillips Brandon Phillips' relationship with the Cincinnati media is kind of weird. The second baseman has a smile that plays well on TV, but can also be sullen and uncooperative when the cameras aren't around.

There are only two writers on the Reds beat that travel, and Phillips doesn't talk to either after both pointed out his lack of hustle earlier in the year and brought up previous incidents of his sometimes-lackadaisical attitude.

Anyway, that's why yesterday's comments to Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News (McCoy is no long a full-time employee of the Dayton paper and doesn't travel) about the Cardinals being "little bitches" took a little while to really hit the internet and clubhouse. In fact, Reds manager Dusty Baker said before Tuesday's game that he didn't know about Phillips' comments until he went home last night and heard about them on TV.

Still, Baker backed his player on Tuesday.

"You'd prefer they didn't," Baker told reporters. "But you can't put muzzles on guys."

Baker added, "A man's got to answer for himself. … Brandon knew what he was saying. That don't make it right. That was his opinion."

Tony La Russa The Cardinals, obviously, weren't happy about the comments. Tony La Russa noted the Reds have several ex-Cardinals and he's insulting them, too. That's a good lawyer trick. Phillips -- who, full disclosure time, I've had a strained relationship with over the years -- was likely talking mostly about La Russa, pitching coach Dave Duncan and Chris Carpenter, who have certainly bitched about little things in the past and have made it a game. To La Russa's credit, that game has paid off for him in the past. He's a good motivator.

As for Phillips, he didn't back off his comments. Here's what MLB.com's Mark Sheldon reports Phillips told "other reporters" since Phillips doesn't talk to Sheldon.

"The comments I said yesterday? Those were my comments," Phillips said. "It's time for us to show them we're here to stay, and here to win our division."

Phillips is a career .252/.320/.416 hitter against the Cardinals, including last night's 0-for-5 performance. Those numbers aren't too far off of his career numbers of .267/.316/.433 overall. He's having the best year of his career so far in 2010, hitting .284/.339/.456 with 14 homers and 43 RBI and a league-leading 79 runs scored, but is .260/.315/.320 with two RBI and seven runs scored in 13 games against St. Louis this season.

The Cincinnati Enquirer 's John Fay said former Cardinals Scott Rolen had this to say, "Brandon put himself out there by the way he expressed himself. Everybody in this clubhouse, including Brandon, understands that the competition is on the field."

Another teammate, Bronson Arroyo, had this to say to reporters, including Fay:

"Brandon is being Brandon," Arroyo said. "He's a mini version of T.O. and Ochcocinco. He stirs the pot. It's just what he does. Brandon thrives on that. You guys [in the media] thrive on that.

"I don't take it much serious."

Fay said several other players didn't want to talk about it, but noted it wouldn't be a problem in the clubhouse.

If the Reds win tonight, it'll likely be a dead issue -- unless Phillips comes up large. Or if the Cardinals take a shot at Phillips. The Nationals took exception to his celebration after running over catcher Wil Nieves.

At the time, Nieves said of Phillips: "He's that kind of guy that he's a good guy out of the field," Nieves told the Washington Post . "Maybe if you play with him, you like him. But if you play against him, the things he does you kind of don't like it."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com