Free agent Bronson Arroyo is officially off the board for the Baltimore Orioles and everyone else, as he signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks yesterday for two years $23.5 million. (There’s also a $4.5 million buyout on an $11 million club option for 2016.) Is that a lot of money for a veteran like Arroyo who’s in the twilight of his career? It absolutely is. Would I have made that deal had I been Dan Duquette? I think I would have. The O’s were stuck on not offering a third year to a veteran starter, and obviously at the end Arroyo backed off of that third year.
With that said, we don’t know the terms that the Orioles were offering Arroyo. If the Birds offered him two years $18 million or something along those lines then that’s obviously low-balling the guy based on what he ended up signing for. Again, I would go so far as to say that Arizona overpaid by a bit for a guy Arroyo’s age. However sometimes that’s what you have to do. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN and Baseball America sent out this tweet which said that at the end it was between Arizona and the Orioles. That would lead me to believe that the Orioles’ offer couldn’t have been that far off of what he ended up getting.
However that aside, the other part of that tweet was that Arroyo wanted to stay in the National League, which is the same thing we’re hearing about A.J. Burnett. I’ll be honest, I’m used to hearing of free agent pitchers trying to come to the American League because they don’t have to hit. Certainly pitchers enjoy hitting to a certain degree, however I have to believe that not having to do it on top of worrying about pitching is also a load off their minds at times (and I say that as a guy who thinks pitchers in both leagues should hit).
My recommendation to the Orioles would be to simply blow someone away with an offer if they really want them. Burnett claims he wants to stay in the National League, and he may well feel that way. However if the Birds (or any AL team) made him an offer he couldn’t refuse, he’d have to consider it. Again, the Orioles wouldn’t be considered a “finalist” for any of these guys if they were simply low balling offers all day long. Arionza’s offer might well have been slightly higher than that of the Orioles in this case, but if it was that close I doubt it was that far off. But why not just make it impossible for a player to turn you down?
Again, I say this without knowing what the Orioles were offering to Arroyo. The only thing we can say for sure is that he’ll be pitching in Arizona. But it’s also possible that the concept of “I want to pitch in the NL” is more thoroughly translated as “I don’t want to pitch in the AL East.” This is not say that playing teams like the Dodgers and Giants aren’t tough, however the AL East might be the toughest division in sports.
Courtesy of Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
So now the Orioles’ options are Burnett, as well as Ubaldo Jimenez. A lot of people have said that Jimenez might be the best fit in general, however he also would cost the team their first round draft pick. At this point that’s something that I would seriously consider. While I do feel that Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter‘s dedication to the draft and developing home grown players is spot on, the fact is that you aren’t going to find a Manny Machado or Dylan Bundy-caliber player with the 17th overall pick. I would submit that the talent pool at that point of the first round is very similar to what you would find in the second round.
As I said, the only thing we can say for sure is that Arroyo won’t play for the Orioles. I think he would have been a nice addition to the club, however it is what it is. With pitchers and catchers reporting next Friday, the Orioles find themselves in a spot where they need to decide if they’re going to simply make a go of things with what they have now (for the time being that is), or if they’ll find a way to get a free agent signed and in camp.