February 3, 2014
Scoping Out the Less Expensive Starters
Diamondbacks could enter the slow-developing Bronson Arroyo market
The offseason has been at least as frustrating for Arroyo as it has been for the Diamondbacks, who were tied to Shin-Soo Choo and Masahiro Tanaka but have thus far come away with only Mark Trumbo. Numerous teams—a dozen, per the right-hander himself—have reached out, but not a single one of them made its interest official. Arroyo told ESPN’s Jayson Stark last week, “I don’t even have an offer to turn down.”
Clubs’ wariness of signing a pitcher who will turn 37 later this month is understandable. But Arroyo has arguably been the most durable starter in the league over the past nine years, making at least 32 starts and working at least 199 innings in every season. It’s difficult to believe that his agent, Terry Bross, hasn’t fielded a single proposal all winter—and SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo was told by a source that you probably shouldn’t.
In last week’s Lineup Card, R.J. Anderson identified the Royals as a potential landing spot for Arroyo (albeit before Bruce Chen re-signed with Kansas City). The Orioles have more than $15 million to spend before the end of the offseason, and while their first choice is said to be A.J. Burnett, Arroyo could become a fallback plan if the former Pirate, who turned 37 on January 3, signs elsewhere.
And if Arroyo’s tires were to their liking, the Diamondbacks might make an offer as well. Arroyo has generally been a fly-ball pitcher, which led to home-run trouble in the compact dimensions of Great American Ball Park, but he has overcome that by limiting walks and faring better than most pitchers do on balls in play. He has held opponents to a BABIP of .286 or lower in every season since 2009, and his ERA has consistently come in 0.3-0.8 runs below his FIP. If Arroyo could pitch well in Cincinnati, he shouldn’t be spooked by Chase Field.
The trouble is, ESPN’s Buster Olney heard as recently as Friday that Bross is still asking clubs to make a three-year commitment. That might explain why his client hasn’t seen many (if any) contracts on the table. And even if the Diamondbacks do enter the market at this late stage, it’s unlikely that Towers will go to three years.
Chris Capuano halves his asking price
At this stage of his career, more than five years removed from his second Tommy John surgery, Capuano is a one-win pitcher when healthy, and staying healthy has never been his strong suit. His two-year, $10 million deal with the Dodgers, which expired when general manager Ned Colletti declined his end of a mutual option for 2014, contained innings-based bonuses for each season, which Capuano reached in 2012 but failed to attain in 2013.
Earlier this winter, Capuano was angling for another two-year contract, perhaps with salaries once again tied to starts or innings pitched. No one bit. So now, sources told Olney that Capuano’s agent, Michael Moye, is willing to settle for a one-year pact that would give the southpaw another chance to reestablish his durability.
With a pitcher-friendly park and a shallow rotation, the Angels might be an obvious landing spot for Capuano—if they end up adding a pitcher. Los Angeles Times beat writer Mike DiGiovanna isn’t sure they will, but he believes that they would choose Capuano over Arroyo and Paul Maholm. Jason Hammel, the other pitcher DiGiovanna mentioned, has since signed a one-year, $6 million contract with the Cubs.