Bronson Arroyo’s first foray into free agency was not exactly an enjoyable experience.
On the market to sign with any team, it was not until February 7 that he finally found a home with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“I was getting frustrated a little bit,” Arroyo told Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Tuesday. “Not because I didn’t think that I’d get a job, because I was sure I could get a job somewhere. I was just frustrated with the way most of the teams went about their business.”
The 36-year-old Arroyo was coming off a season in which he went 14-12 with a 3.79 ERA over 202 innings for the Cincinnati Reds. For his career, which has spanned 14 years and three Major League cities, the right-hander has posted a 138-127 record with a 4.19 ERA.
As durable a pitcher as you’ll find, he has not missed a start due to injury since becoming a full-time starter in 2004.
Still, he was forced to wade through the “cat-and-mouse game” he said was played by teams, who would show interest but then back off. Looking to get him to sign a bad deal or for less than he was worth, he said, Arroyo noted that it would have been easier if teams made an offer and let him decide whether or not it was good enough.
“You know, at the end of the day I wasn’t ever intending to try to break the bank, I know I wasn’t a guy that was at the level of Kershaw,” he said, pointing to the mega-contract signed by Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw. “But I feel like I’ve been as consistent as anybody in this game…I felt like I should have been compensated at least equally to what I have been making in years past.”
Arroyo signed with the Diamondbacks for two years and a guaranteed $19 million, with a team option for a third year at $11 million or a $4.5 million buyout.
It was enough to get him to sign with Arizona over the Dodgers and Baltimore Orioles, who were also interested.
“Well for one, L.A. wasn’t willing to go more than a one-year deal,” he said. “And I was looking for more than one. If you’re going to come to a place, you’re going to move, you’re going to be living in a different area. You’re going to try to get to know everybody from the owner down to the guys that clean the clubhouse and the beat writers and everyone.
“You want to feel like you are there and you know the guys and have a family, you know?”
That mindset would make it difficult to sign for just one year, and perhaps partly explains why Arroyo’s shortest stop — in Pittsburgh — was still for three seasons. Afer that he spent three years with the Red Sox, before spending the last eight with the Reds.
But it wasn’t just the length of the contract that brought Arroyo to the Valley.
“I think Arizona just came at me a little more straight forward,” he said, adding that GM Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson both called when they said they would. “They talked to me about the ball club — they weren’t really talking too much about money.”
Arroyo said the D-backs told him they would try to put together a good financial offer but were more about selling him on the team before telling him he should do his due diligence with regards to the team and decide whether or not he wanted to be a part of it.
“That was just a different vibe than I had gotten from anybody else,” he said, adding that other teams would call up his agent requesting to meet with him before offering a contract, but then would never hear from them again.
“You know in my world, that just doesn’t work.”