The Twins might be about to make one of the biggest free agent splashes in their franchise history. Yes, Bronson Arroyo could be coming to town.
Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that talks are heating up between the two sides and that the Twins have been examining Arroyo’s medical records. That seems like little more than a formality; Arroyo has inherited Derek Lowe’s mantle as the game’s most durable starter, having made 32 starts in nine straight seasons.
The 35-year-old Arroyo, who is likely seeking a two- or three-year deal in the neighborhood of $10 million-$13 million per season, went 14-12 with a 3.79 ERA for the Reds last season. It was the fourth time in five years that he finished with a sub-4.00 ERA and 120-130 strikeouts in 200-220 innings. He fits right in with the Twins’ pitching philosophy of avoiding walks and letting hitters put the ball in play, though he goes about it differently than most; Arroyo largely eschews fastballs in favor of his offspeed pitches.
Arroyo would join a Twins rotation presently set to include Kevin Correia and Samuel Deduno. Kyle Gibson, Vance Worley, Andrew Albers and Scott Diamond will fight for one or two spots, depending on how many veterans the Twins choose to add.
On Monday, Major League Baseball announced some changes aimed at improving the game’s pace of play, something that has been a pet cause for commissioner Rob Manfred. Among the changes was a limit on mound visits whether from managers and coaches, the catcher, or other defenders. Each team will have six non-pitching change mound visits per game and one additional visit each inning in extra innings. Craig wrote more in depth on the changes here if you happened to miss it.
Angels catcher Martin Maldonado says he is going to do what’s necessary to stay on the same page with his pitchers. Via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Maldonado said, “If the game is on the line, I’m going to go out there. If we’re at six [visits], and it’s going to be the seventh, I’m going to go out there, even if I have to pay a fine. I’m there for the pitchers.”
Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said as much on Tuesday. Per Josh Frydman of WGN News, Contreras said, “What about if you have a tight game and you have to go out there? They can’t say anything about that, that’s my team and we just care about wins. If they’re going to fine me about number seven mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”
Exhibition games haven’t even started yet, but two notable backstops — the lesser-known Maldonado won a Gold Glove last year — are clearly not happy with the rule change. As Craig alluded to in his article yesterday, arguments between catchers and umpires (and, subsequently, managers and umpires) are probably going to become more frequent, which would likely end up nullifying any pace of play improvements.
Update (4:43 PM ET): In response to this, Manfred said that if a catcher or coach made a seventh mound visit, there would have to be a pitching change (via Fletcher). However, chief baseball officer Joe Torre said (via SB Nation’s Eric Stephen) that the seventh visit cannot trigger a pitching change. The umpire would simply have to prevent the seventh mound visit.