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.
Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.
According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.
Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.