Ken Rosenthal reports that Bonson Arroyo’s $11 million option has been exercised by the Reds. He also says that Walt Jocketty wouldn’t mind tearing that up and negotiating a long term deal.
If, two years ago, you would have asked me for any one prediction about the winter of 2010-11, it would have been that Arroyo would hit free agency. While he has been a good pitcher his entire time with the Reds, that $11 million seemed awfully big, and the Reds’ chances of being in the competitive position to justify paying a pitcher that kind of money seemed awfully small. But time marches on. Inflation happens. Teams improve. And, more than anything else, people come to realize just how special a pitcher who can throw 200+ above average innings year-in, year-out really is in this day and age.
And that’s what Arroyo has done. He went 17-10 in 2010, with a 3.88 ERA in 215 innings. His strikeouts are down from past levels, his walk rate is pretty steady, and overall he’s not quite what he was a couple of years ago, but he takes the ball every fifth day, and that’s worth 11 million bucks in 2011.
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: