Bronson Arroyo has been around long enough to be on teams that have won big and teams that have not.
So when asked about the rivalry between the Diamondbacks and Dodgers, which some believe got a bit one-sided last season because Arizona may have been a bit intimidated or didn’t think it could compete with L.A., Arroyo gave some thoughts on what transpired.
And as he told the Dan Bickley Show with Vince Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Wednesday, the real difference between a team that dominates and the one that rolls over has nothing to do with attitude.
“I’ve been playing the game long enough, I’ve seen guys in the locker room,” he said. “Everybody is out there competing as hard as they can because nobody wants to be embarrassed on a national level like this, it’s just the way it is.”
Arroyo said people have an ego and want to survive, so the idea that a team would just fold up and stop competing doesn’t really jive with him.
“I tend to think that, honestly, when a team like the Dodgers rolls over a team it’s just because they have better players,” he said. “It’s just because they’re playing better at that time.”
Arroyo is entering his first season as a Diamondback after spending the last eight in Cincinnati with the Reds. Before that he was with the Boston Red Sox for three seasons, which followed a three-year stint with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
He was on the Pirates team that lost 100 games in 2001 as well as the Red Sox squad that won the World Series in 2004.
He said he would often be asked if the culture was different in a place like Pittsburgh compared to somewhere like Boston or Cincinnati, where winning was more of a regular occurrence, and his answer would be the same.
“Most of the time I’d say we didn’t have good enough ball players,” he said. “You look at the teams that win every year, yeah, their payroll is bigger. Why? Because they’re usually paying the better players, that’s just the way it is.”
Unfortunately for the D-backs, if Arroyo’s theory is accurate, the Dodgers currently boast the league’s highest payroll, which sits at $235,295,219. Then again, it’s not as if the D-backs are pinching pennies, as they are set to dole out $112,688,666 this season.
But the difference between first (the Dodgers) and 11th (the D-backs) is pretty substantial.
But the standings aren’t determined by salary.
“You want to be a ballclub that, across the board, regardless of your payroll and maybe not having the biggest name guys, you want to be able to play everybody tough,” Arroyo said. “And whether you win or lose, it’s nice to go into a series against the Dodgers and for them on the other side to know they have their hands full, at least.
“You’ve got guys in the lineup that are going to grind out at bats, going to foul off a lot of pitches, not going to strike out on three quick pitches the whole night; and not having pitchers that are going to walk a bunch of guys. Go out there and throw strikes, and just compete.
“And whether you get beat or you win, you can’t do anything about it. But you want the guys on the other side to respect you.”