Arroyo brings leadership, durability to Arizona
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP)
Bronson Arroyo has arrived in Arizona, bringing a reputation for leadership and a remarkable track record of durability in 14 major league seasons.
The right-hander passed his physical, threw a bullpen session and spoke at a news conference after the Diamondbacks made his signing official on Wednesday, five days after his two-year, $23.5 million deal had been widely reported.
''It's definitely weird for me,'' he said of showing up at a different spring training facility after eight years with Cincinnati. ''I'm a routine freak. I'm wearing 1999 Kenny Lofton shoes in the game still. I'm still pitching with the glove that I've had since the World Series in `04 and I'm still carrying a flip phone, so I don't do real well with change.''
Arroyo said he would have loved to have retired with the Reds, but that doesn't happen in today's game and he appreciated the straightforward way the Diamondbacks dealt with him.
General manager Kevin Towers said he turned his attention to Arroyo about 48 hours after the Diamondbacks found out they had lost in their bid for Masahiro Tanaka.
''Starts, innings, wins, competitor,'' Towers said. ''He's been on a world championship club in Boston back in 2004. We felt (he was) the right guy to kind of give us some leadership to what we think is a young pitching staff that has a lot of upside.''
Arroyo, who turns 37 in 12 days, was 14-12 with a 3.79 ERA last season.
He has never been on the disabled list in his pro career and has made at least 32 starts each of his last nine seasons. In that span, he's fallen short of 200 innings only once, when he threw 199 in 2011.
''I've probably been fortunate just to be born with a relatively healthy shoulder, having some space in there where things aren't grinding against each other,'' Arroyo said. ''Also, I've never been a hard thrower, so not having to pitch at max effort helps a lot. ... I also grew up very strange, where my father had me in the weight room as a 5-year-old kid taking supplements and treating my body the way we do as professional athletes.''
With a fastball in the upper 80 mph range, Arroyo said he is ''probably one of the slowest guys in major league baseball.''
''So I've got to find other ways to beat guys,'' he said. ''For me it's finding a way to read people, read their body language, read what's going on at the plate and what guys are trying to do and try to be one step ahead of it. It's always been a big chess match for me.''
Arroyo's new contract pays him $9.5 million each of the next two seasons. The deal has a club option for 2016 with a $4.5 million buyout. He also had talks with the Baltimore Orioles among other teams but said he wanted to stay in the National League. Prone to allowing home runs, he liked the chance to pitch in the bigger ballparks of the NL West, although his new home, Chase Field, has a hitter-friendly reputation.
He was critical of the free agency process, calling it ''a joke'' the way teams approached it, comparing it to them trying to sell a used car.
Arroyo said he had a good first impression with the Diamondbacks.
''I can already tell being here one day, the meetings they've had are on a different level than any other place I've been,'' he said. ''I've played in Pittsburgh, played in Boston, played in Cincy the last eight years. They all have had great qualities about them, but I love the attention to detail.''
Arroyo said he had only a couple of talks with the Reds about staying in Cincinnati.
''I think the Joey Votto contract and the Brandon Phillips contract have strapped them quite a bit monetarily,'' Arroyo said, ''and if I was going to sign there it would have been for a one-year deal and they were going to have to defer a lot of money.''
He said he'd already done that in an earlier contract with the Reds.
''I felt like I had done more than my fair share of being a good teammate in that uniform,'' Arroyo said, ''and I felt like if they really wanted me there then I wouldn't have to defer money anymore, and that wasn't really the case.''
Arroyo's arrival coincided with the Diamondbacks' first full-squad workout of the spring.