Crasnick: Yankees touched base with Bronson Arroyo last week

Rakuten Golden Eagles will post Masahiro Tanaka
Holiday Mailbag: Carlos Beltran

Via Jerry Crasnick: The Yankees touched base with Bronson Arroyo last week. We heard they had interest in the free agent right-hander earlier in the offseason. I’m guessing the team was just doing their due diligence as they awaited the Masahiro Tanaka decision.

Arroyo, 36, had a 3.79 ERA (4.49 FIP) in 202 innings this past season. His value lies in his durability (199+ innings in each of the last nine seasons) and general league averageness. There’s nothing sexy about that but it is valuable. Arroyo’s age and soft-tossing ways would make me really nervous in a tiny ballpark in the AL East, but at the same time, I can’t say I’m entirely sold on Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez, and/or Ervin Santana being more effective in 2014.

Rakuten Golden Eagles will post Masahiro Tanaka
Holiday Mailbag: Carlos Beltran
  • Mark Teixeira – Ghostbuster (formerly Drew)

    IMO the only certain way for the Yankees to increase the strength of the starting rotation would be to sign Tanaka or trade Gardner for a SP. Garza is a big maybe, and I wouldn’t touch the others.

    • Rick

      It was suggested on MLB Trade Rumors that if the Rangers signed Tanaka, a Gardner for Holland trade may be feasible.

      • JMK

        I don’t see how that makes any sense for the Rangers.

  • kenthadley

    Can’t help but think of a similar type pitcher NYY signed many years ago, with the same track record of durability and same stuff…….his name was Bob Friend, and he didn’t last very long after they got him. Different era, but similar pitcher.

  • I’m One

    If they can’t get Tanaka and if they still have a chance to stay under the celery cap, I’d prefer they stay with in-house options than go for Arroyo (or pretty much anyone else available via FA). I’m also not sold on trading Gardner for a SP. I’d prefer they re-sign him after the season and settle the 3 OF spots for a couple more years.

    • nsalem

      I would try to extend Gardner now. Would also be willing to take a chance on Jiminez over Garza, Santana or in house options.

      • I’m One

        If there’s any chance of staying under the celery cap, I think signing Jiminez would negate that.

    • nyyankfan_7

      That damn celery cap is going to screw this team going forward. As if we aren’t dealing with enough injuries on this team – by capping the amount of celery we are only begging for more long-term injuries as celery is a known inflammation fighter. We will also see batting average plummet as celery is also very good for eye sight and fighting age-related deterioration of eye sight – something this aging roster just can’t afford.

      And how are we going to sign Tanaka if he knows we have a celery cap limit? Obviously he wants his celery.

      Someone call Hal right now, this assault on the Yankees Celery Cap is asinine and clearly going to hurt our chances at #28.

      • I’m One

        I’m planning on converting my entire garden to celery this year and donating it all to the Yankees. Calling Hal and Cash now so they can use this info in their negotiations with Tanaka.

  • dicka24

    Gawd no on Arroyo. He’d get completely trashed in the AL, and specifically in the AL East. I’d rather save the coin and roll with a Phelps or Warren. I bet the production wouldn’t be all that different.

  • LarryM Fl

    Dumpster diving has been a roster filler for the Yanks in 2013. My hope is the Yanks do their best to sign Tanaka. If not I agree with the possible trade of Gardner for pitching but only if it brings a 3 or better starter. Also the higher up in the pitcher obtain than the more the Yanks will have to deliver in return.

    The rotation as it is assembled is not a confidence poll builder. All three hurlers have some warts. Those waiting in the wings need more on the job training (OJT).

    • nsalem

      Once you trade Gardner, there is a possibility that Ichiro becomes your 4th outfielder. 4th OF’s on the Yankees have started an average of about 65 games in the Girardi era. I would avoid this scenario under almost any circumstance. Besides Bailey, (who the Yankees couldn’t obtain for just Gardner) who is available. If so do they have more of an upside than Ubaldo?

      • Mike HC

        Not only that but you would be going from Soriano/Beltran at DH, to probably whatever 2-3 million dollar, old, injury prone scrap heap is left over in February, at best.

    • Mike HC

      The further we get into the off season, the less I think trading Gardner for a #3 is a good idea. Our offense is mediocre enough as it is even with Gardner, and considering all the runs Gardner saves on defense, trading him for a starter might not even help all that much in the run prevention area either.

  • Darren

    This could make ARod uncomfortable, so I say no. Gotta try and put ARod in the best position possible to have a monster comeback year. 30-50 dingers, 100-140 RBI, gold glove defense. let’s not screw that up by bringing up back memories, especially since Arroyo is the deifnition of average. Just as likely we could get 180 average innings from Warren.

    • Baked McBride

      Love you Darren, my Yankee fan brother, but it looks like I’m not the only baked one?

      • Darren

        LOL, I wish! I’m hard at work and my comment was made with cold, calculating precision. ;)

        In reality, I think ARod could pretty easily handle the temporary heat of reporters bringing up the slap play. Actually he’d probably like it. He probably thinks of that as his glory years of drama.

        • Mike HC

          Anything that puts the attention on his on field antics is probably welcome at this point. Rather than MLB trying to paint him as some kind of PED kingpin.

  • Adamreendo

    Do not forget Banuelos!!! He will be 18 months from TJ surgery ….

    • Slu

      I hope I am wrong, but I will be shocked if Banuelos wins a game for the Yankees this year.

  • uyf1950

    The “Yankees touched base with Bronson Arroyo last week”.

    I hope that’s all they ever do with him. Yes he can give a team a lot of innings. He can also give up bunches and bunches of HR in Yankees Stadium. Fans thought Hughes gave up a lot of HR’s wait until and if Arroyo were to pitch 15 to 20 games in Yankees Stadium. He would be a disaster.

    • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?

      Yes. I’m okay with them touching base if by touching base they mean not returning his agent’s calls.

      • Caballo Sin Nombre

        “Touch base.” You cannot use a baseball metaphor when talking about baseball. Writing FAIL.

  • Elan

    He’s had a 3.74 ERA or higher in nine of his last ten seasons. Major pass.

    • Elan

      Let me add – career 4.19 ERA.

      • Fat Kitty Toad

        That’s not the reason to pass. League average innings eater is plenty valuable in their current rotation.

        He’s just not the guy to be league average in YS3

        • Mike HC

          Agreed. A poor mans Pettitte replacement, bullpen saver. Obviously it is more of a plan C type option.

  • Fat Kitty Toad

    Oof, I hope not. Then again I’m a Debbie Downer on Tanaka. The Yankees keep seem to be forgetting some significant lessons in which they should know better, especially Cashman.

    1. Don’t sign past prime 1Bs to long contracts (first Giambi, now Teixeira)
    2. Don’t sign middling pitchers to big contracts (Pavano, Burnett, etc)
    3. Don’t sign so many free agents that you kill your minor league depth (2002-2007; 2009-2012; 2014-).

    The point with the Yankees has always been to blow away other teams when the right players reach free agency or are available by trade (Mussina, Sabathia, even A-Rod1, Sheffield) and especially on the international youth.

    That they even have to kick the tires on Arroyo speaks to a far bigger concern – their management.

    • Mike HC

      Only one team can the WS. Every strategy that every team has ever used has been a failure in the far, far majority of years if winning the WS is the only acceptable outcome. 2002-2007 was a very successful period. Playoffs every year with a WS appearance. It also didn’t kill our future considering we won a WS in 2009.

      I’m a Knicks a Jets fan. I know what bad ownership/management looks like. And this isn’t it.

    • nyyankfan_7

      1. Don’t sign past prime 1Bs to long contracts (first Giambi, now Teixeira)

      –so we sign the Lyle Overbay’s of the world to 1 year deals each season instead?

      2. Don’t sign middling pitchers to big contracts (Pavano, Burnett, etc)

      –so we sign less than middling pitchers to small contracts?

      3. Don’t sign so many free agents that you kill your minor league depth (2002-2007; 2009-2012; 2014-).

      –of the 10 season you have listed they made the playoffs 9 times, ALCS 4 times, World Series 2 times and they have one banner flying from them. Explain to me why their plan was not successful?

      • LitFig

        Missing the playoffs twice in like 20 years = complete failure.

        Don’t you know that?

  • Fat Kitty Toad

    Jimenez is the guy I look into. He’s only had one bad season in his career (2012). He managed to survive Colorado without giving up too many homers. And it simply looks like he needed to learn to adjust to the AL and Cleveland in 2011-2013. He’s also averaged 198 innings since 2008.

  • Matty Ice

    Hopefully “touched base” is Cashspeak for “kicked out of moving vehicle.”

    • Mike HC

      I don’t know. Considering Cashman’s history, “touched base” could have a completely different meaning.

  • TWTR

    He is a one year deal only type.

  • Roy Munson


  • lightSABR

    Just to add some more numbers to the conversation.

    Last year, the league-average starter (no innings minimum) pitched a 4.15/4.08/3.98 ERA/FIP/xFIP, and Arroyo’s slash line was 3.79/4.49/3.97. Better than average results, and either average or below-average process, depending on whether you think FIP or xFIP is a better predictor of his performance going forward. FWIW, in the last five seasons, Arroyo’s ERA has always been at least 0.34 better than his FIP, and generally more like 0.70 better, so it looks like he’s one of those types who can consistently outperform their peripherals. If you account for ballpark factors, in the last five seasons he’s been average or slightly above-average (90-100 ERA-) four times, and pretty bad once (131 ERA- in 2011).

    I’ve run out of time to finish the analysis, but basically, Adam Warren’s numbers are pretty similar, even a bit better, with two big differences in Warren’s favor and one huge one in Arroyo’s:

    Big: Warren’s 26 and possibly still getting a bit better, while Arroyo is, um, not 26, and not likely to get better.

    Big: Warren did it in the toughest division of the AL, while Arroyo did in the toughest division of the NL. Warren didn’t get to pitch to pitchers.

    Huge: I’m basing my comparison between the two on more than 1000 IP over five starting seasons from Arroyo versus 77 IP over one season for Warren, mostly in relief. Starting is harder than relieving–at least, starters and relievers and hitters have had time to figure Arroyo out, so Warren’s had a much easier job so far.

    So basically, if we’re choosing between these two guys for the fifth starter job, absolutely I hope the Yankees will bring Arroyo in and let Warren continue his strong performance in long relief–as long as the contract isn’t awful. After all, if Arroyo collapses, you still have Warren. If you don’t get Arroyo and Warren collapses, you’ve got Vidal Nuno, and then…? I like Vidal Nuno, and I’m hoping he’ll be a solid no. 4 or 5 starter in a year or two, but he’s pitched total 20 big-league innings. It’s just not the kind of bet you make if you actually want to contend–making bets like that is a big reason 2013 played out the way it did.

    • lightSABR

      Erm, in that second to last paragraph, the last sentence should read “Starting is harder than relieving – at least, starters have a higher average ERA and FIP than relievers – plus, hitters have had time to figure Arroyo out, so Warren’s had a much easier job so far.”

    • RetroRob

      Warren’s numbers are similar? I don’t think so for the very reasons you mentioned. : -)

      I am a bit surprised by the negativity toward Garza. I’d be quite fine if he was slotted in as one of the five starters, along with Tanaka. Let’s leave Plan 189 in the dust!

  • Farewell Mo

    Why bother.

    At this point in his career, he really isn’t any better than a 5th starter in the AL east and the Yanks need a front of the rotation starter.

    • lightSABR

      An upgrade is an upgrade. No. 5 starters start as many games as no. 1 starters.

      If it’s Bronson Arroyo on a 1-year deal versus David Phelps or Adam Warren, I think the numbers suggest that would be an upgrade. If it’s Bronson Arroyo versus Ivan Nova or a healthy Michael Pineda, that’s another matter.

      So, I guess, let’s hope for a Tanaka signing, an effective Nova, and a healthy Pineda, which would push Phelps and Warren out of the rotation.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    Mike Francesa’s on the payroll?

    This fits so many memes, I swear. There’s a strong pro-Bronson to be made. I just don’t feel like making it, nor do I want the team to get to the point where it has to entertain it.

    • Grover

      At least Mike is finally off the Brandon Inge band wagon. Perhaps Arroyo is a contingency if they do sign Tanaka. On a one or two year deal as a fifth starter who provides consistent innings, injury protection and some insurance in case Tanaka lays an egg, he might just be of greater value than any of the other bats available.

  • CashmanNinja

    Arroyo is a solid pitcher, but he’s not what this team needs right now. He reminds me too much of Derek Lowe in terms of not having much of a fastball and coming back to the AL East. I just don’t have much faith in him here. If a team like the Pirates signed him then I think he’d be solid because his style of pitching is just better suited for the NL (i.e. getting to face a pitcher and not a full time DH). I’d rather roll the dice on Warren/Nuno/etc than go with Arroyo — especially since Arroyo will definitely get at least a 2 year deal. If he were younger I’d definitely take a chance on him, but now? No thanks. A 1 year deal wouldn’t be horrible, but he’s getting a multi-year deal and I think it’d be best to use the money/roster spot elsewhere.

    • lightSABR

      Arroyo now is better than Lowe was when we got him. In the three years prior to Lowe’s stint on the Yankees, Lowe had had one league-average season, one poor season, and one awful season, plus 2/3 of an awful season with Cleveland before we got him. His peripherals were decent, but he’d been underperforming them for a few years. And, let’s not forget, the Lowe signing turned out pretty well.

      Anyway, I’m with you entirely when you say that a long-term contract is scary here, and I’d be much happier if it’s Tanaka pushing Phelps out of a rotation spot than if it’s Arroyo. But if we get outbid on Tanaka (heaven forbid) and the other options are unjustifiably expensive and risky, Arroyo could make sense.

  • LitFig

    If Tanaka signs elsewhere, I’d just rather go with CC, Kuroda, Nova and some mix of Pienda, Banuelos, Warren, Nuno and Phelps.

    At some point we have to develop young pitchers. You can only really do that at the big league level. No old guys, no shaky starters getting $100M contracts.

    Tanaka is around the same age as the young Yankee pitchers, so he’s a young pitcher with tons of pro experience.

  • http://franklance godfather

    when the iambi/texeira signings get ripped, we are in unmitigated nyy spoiled brat mode

    • LitFig

      HR’s, RBI’s, OBP and runs scored are worthless in his world.

  • Fez

    I must be on the minority side but I’m all for them signing Tanaka and Jimenez and Garza as well. one can never have too much starting pitching and I’ve got a bad feeling about CC and Kuroda; there’s only one way for them to go and unless they get whatever Clemens was on into his late 30s and 40s they’re not going to have a prayer of being 200 inning guys with 14 to 20 wins, and ERA’s that don’t kill the team. Nova is a question mark as well and the menagerie for spots 4 and 5 is going to have plenty of rough patches. we need at the least 3 starting pitchers. even if Tanaka is the next coming of Cy Young he can’t fill 3 rotation slots.