And the Diamondbacks win the breathless Bronson Arroyo sweepstakes!
According to multiple reports – primarily from Ken Rosenthal, Jerry Crasnick, and Buster Olney, in relatively near proximity to each other – the Arizona Diamondbacks today agreed to a two-year deal with free agent righty Bronson Arroyo. He gets $9.5 million for 2014, $9.5 million for 2015, and then the Diamondbacks get an $11 million option in 2016 ($4.5 million buyout). So the total guarantee to Arroyo is a hefty $23.5 million over two years – not too shabby for a guy recently grousing that he didn’t even have a single offer.
The Diamondbacks came into the offseason clearly desiring to add a starting pitcher – it’s debatable how desperately they needed on, but that’s beside the point – and having missed on higher-tier targets, they’ll settle for Arroyo. There’s no meaningful upside there, but if he keeps on doing what he does, he’ll be a perfectly solid 4/5, even on a playoff-caliber team. Viewed through that lens, this is a perfectly acceptable deal for the D-Backs.
The signing, however, does take them out of the Jeff Samardzija sweepstakes*, should one actually occur before the season begins (after the season starts, all bets are off on who might eventually have interest come July). The Diamondbacks were something of an on-again, off-again suitor for Samardzija over the past six months, but their unwillingness to part with elite pitching talent – the Cubs reportedly initially asked for both of Archie Bradley (arguably the top pitching prospect in all of baseball) and Tyler Skaggs (since traded to the Angels in the Mark Trumbo deal) – kept talks from reaching any kind of meaningfully advanced stage.
*(I suppose it’s not inconceivable that the Diamondbacks could package a current starting pitcher with prospects in a deal for Samardzija (thus upgrading the rotation further), but that seems unlikely. They aren’t trading Patrick Corbin, and probably wouldn’t move Wade Miley. They can’t trade Arroyo, obviously, and Brandon McCarthy and Trevor Cahill probably aren’t hugely attractive targets for the Cubs. Maybe one of those two, but only if paired with a significant prospect haul. Like I said, I’m fairly certain the Diamondbacks are out.)
With this signing, the odds Samardzija is dealt before Opening Day decrease slightly from their already-low position. Once A.J. Burnett, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Ervin Santana sign, we’ll see what happens. But at least one prominent suitor is now out until further notice.