Arizona Diamondbacks Vice President and General Manager Kevin Towers made it very clear since the 2013 season ended what the needs for this team consisted of.
He wanted depth off the bench. They checked that off by resigning Eric Chavez.
They wanted to add an outfield power bat. They checked that off by acquiring Mark Trumbo from the Angels.
Towers always wants bullpen depth, especially coming off a season where his team tied for the Major League lead with the Astros for most blown saves in a season. Insert Addison Reed from the White Sox.
What was left? A veteran starting pitcher to add to a young rotation.
“We were part of the recruiting process for Mr. (Masahiro) Tanaka,” explained Towers. “That ended up not coming to fruition here with the Diamondbacks. We sat down, myself, Ken Kendrick and Derrick Hall probably about 48 hours after we found out he was going to New York and they asked if there was a pitcher out there that made sense for our organization and our needs. And it was Bronson.”
The Diamondbacks made it official on Wednesday that 37 year-old starting pitcher, Bronson Arroyo. Signing him to a two year deal with the team with a team option for 2016. After spending the last eight seasons with the Cincinnati Reds, he goes into 2013 ranked first in number of starts (297), third in quality starts (183) and third in innings pitched (1,895.2) amongst MLB pitchers since 2005.
“They extended their hand out to me in a different way than anyone else did in the game,” said Arroyo on Wednesday. “It was my first time as a free agent, I talked to half the teams in the league and none were as direct as these guys.”
“They came in and said we want you,” he added. “They said this is the money we have for you and we want you to get to know the organization, we want you to know how the guys that are here and I can already tell just from being here one day, the meetings they’ve had are at a different level than at any other place I’ve been.”
The biggest strength that the Diamondbacks see in Arroyo is his durability and ability to pile up innings. They dealt with plenty of injuries at the starting pitcher spot last season and bring a player in who for the most part, has not been injured over the course of his career.
“I’ve never been a hard thrower so not having to pitch at max effort helps a lot,” Arroyo explained. “I think not having to go out there and empty the tank on every pitch, it really helps.”
“It makes us deeper,” mentioned Diamondbacks Manager Kirk Gibson. “You’re looking at people right now in camp that could have an impact but you are trying to figure that out. Maybe his addition allows us to take more time to look at certain people.”
There will be an adjustment period for Arroyo. He was blunt by saying he is a creature of habit and is not a big fan of change. This was really his first off-season over his career since first being called up in Boston back in 2003 that he had been a part of the free agency process. Adjusting to the new environment with the Diamondbacks will take him a little out of his comfort zone.
“It’s definitely weird for me. I’m a routine freak,” Arroyo joked. “I am wearing 1999 Kenny Lofton shoes in the game still, I’m still pitching with the glove I used in the World Series in ’04 and I am still carrying a flip phone. I don’t do real well with change. I tend to love something and stick with it for a long time.”
“I am happy to be in a place where they are opening their arms to me,” he mentioned. “I just want to get here and learn everybody and their personalities and figure out how we can win ball games.”