bronson is a bell buoy
nodding his tune
(into the folds of the brink)
he rocks] against the threshold
while the rest of us drift to our beds; like dust
through a streak of light;
bronson is that sunbeam
a shaggy siren for the waxing world
Only 32 players in major league history have averaged 200 innings pitched between ages 37 and 39.
And just 17 pitchers have done so since the mounds came down in 1969.
Bronson Arroyo could end up being part of that group before he calls it quits, but no team was crazy enough to offer him a deal that would pay him as if such a historical feat was a certainty. However, the Arizona Diamondbacks were crazy enough to guarantee Arroyo, who will turn 37 before the season begins, a two-year deal that will pay him like the workhorse he has been.
Over the next two seasons, the D-backs will only be paying him $9.5 million per year, but they worked in a 2016 option for $11 million that includes a $4.5 million buyout. So, assuming they choose not to exercise that option -- for his age 39 season -- the team will be effectively compensating Arroyo like a two-win starter.
Arroyo was exactly that ... from 2004 to 2008, but recently, he's looking less vintage-chic and more plain, old old.
He's still durable enough to throw 200 innings a year, except in 2011, when Dusty Baker trolled him down to just 199. That's what the Diamondbacks are paying for -- league average performance and durability. And even though it would be exceptionally rare -- only 27 pitchers since '69 have averaged 200 IP between ages 37 and 38 -- Arroyo might just be the guy who makes that list a little longer.
He's one of only four pitchers to have thrown more than 2,000 innings since 2004, and over that span, he was decidedly not bad.
Not exceptionally good, but unequivocally not bad.
Perhaps Arizona general manager Kevin Towers felt his team was one not bad player away from avoiding his team's third straight 81-81 finish. And perhaps Arroyo felt that he could pitch, strum, and croon his way into the hearts and minds of the D-backs' front office.
However, he had to make a concession of about 365 days to get there.
It seems fitting that Arizona was the team that eventually gave him at least some of the longevity he coveted. They had a little bit of money left in their budget and it seemed to be burning a hole in Towers' pocket. He tried his best to spend it on Masahiro Tanaka, and after seeing why he ended up earning, it's probably a very good thing for Arizona that they didn't anchor their payroll to what could've easily turned into an awkward burden.
At any rate, Arroyo's main draw -- his durability -- appears to be what persuaded Towers to sign him, but not without the stipulation that the third year would be a team option. Last month, the 14-year vet voiced his frustration with the pace of the market by saying he didn't have an offer to turn down. In retrospect, it seems as though he meant he didn't have a three-year offer to turn down. Which makes sense. Not many teams are going to line up to pay a premium rate for what would be a historically rare accomplishment from a player who has been worth less than two wins combined over the last years (according to FanGraphs).
So, while Arroyo was forced to compromise, the Diamondbacks met him halfway.
If time continues to ignore him, he could still end up earning that elusive third year with Arizona.