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.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.