The market for starting pitchers hasn't developed as quickly as many thought it would following the New York Yankees signing of Japanese star Masahiro Tanaka. Over the weekend the Milwaukee Brewers finalized a four-year, $50 million deal with Matt Garza, but capable veterans like Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana and Bronson Arroyo all still find themselves without contracts with spring training less than two weeks away.
Needless to say, they're cutting it pretty close if they had hoped to get comfortable with their organizations before training camp opens. It would be more than understandable if frustration was beginning to settle in among that group, especially if they're looking for security with a long-term deal. And we now have confirmation that that is in fact the case with Arroyo, who expressed frustration with his own predicament as well as baseball's fascination with Tanaka.
Arroyo frustrated that teams can give Tanaka $155M & "forget about guys like me, who have done the job for the last eight or 10 years."
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) January 29, 2014
Arroyo, who doesn't have a contract offer yet according to ESPN's Jayson Stark, cited Daisuke Matsuzaka's quick fade in MLB to support his stance.
It's easy to see where Arroyo is coming from. Having established himself as a dependable middle-of-the-rotation pitcher over the past 10 seasons, it has to feel like a slap in the face when teams aren't knocking down your door, while a pitcher with no major league experience (Tanaka) has been guaranteed $155 million over seven years. But that's how it works when the "next big thing" comes into the picture. It's a gamble on tremendous upside that the Yankees, Red Sox and others are always willing to take at the expense of established mid-level talent.
According to one AL exec, that doesn't make Arroyo's frustration any less valid.
“I’m not surprised that he doesn’t get it, because I don’t get it, either,” the AL exec told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I guess people are concerned about his age [he turns 37 next month]. But he’s 37 going on 27. He’s got a loose, limber body. He’s never been on the DL. He never misses a start. He doesn’t cost you a draft pick. He’s a tremendous teammate. He’s helped a lot of [young] pitchers on his team. So I don’t understand it. I really don’t.”
To make matters even more frustrating for Arroyo, he'll probably have to wait on Jimenez and Santana's decisions before getting a good look at what his options will be. But there could be some good news if he's patient and maybe even holds out into spring training.
As we all know, there will be injuries and disappointing spring performances that lead to contenders seeking a dependable veteran who can gobble up those precious innings. That could prove fruitful for Arroyo from a financial standpoint and could allow him to step into a good situation.
In other words, his frustration is warranted, but there's absolutely no reason to panic unless he's not on someone's radar by March 1st. Odds are pretty good he'll be factoring into someone's plan long before then.
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