Contract Crowdsourcing 2013-14: Bronson Arroyo

Free agency begins five days after the end of the World Series. As in other recent offseasons, FanGraphs is once again facilitating this offseason a contract-crowdsourcing project, the idea being to harness the wisdom of the crowds to the end of better understanding the 2013-14 free-agent market.

Note that, this year, in addition to asking readers to estimate the years/dollars each free agent is likely to receive, FanGraphs is also requesting that readers make note of how much they’d pay each free agent were they, themselves, actual GMs.

In this edition: Bronson Arroyo.

Some relevant information regarding Arroyo:

  • Has averaged 201.0 IP and 0.6 WAR over last three seasons.
  • Has averaged 0.5 WAR per 180 IP over last three seasons.
  • Recorded a 0.8 WAR in 202.0 IP in 2013.
  • Is entering his age-37 season.
  • Made $6.5M in 2013, as part of extension signed before 2011 season.

Using the form below, estimate the years and average annual dollar values both likely and ought to be received by Arroyo this offseason.

Other Players: Carlos Beltran / Marlon Byrd / Robinson Cano / Shin-Soo Choo / Nelson Cruz / David DeJesus / Stephen Drew / Mark Ellis / Jacoby Ellsbury / Curtis Granderson / Omar Infante / Adam Lind / James Loney / Brian McCann / Nate McLouth / Kendrys Morales / David Murphy / Mike Napoli / A.J. Pierzynski / Carlos Ruiz / Jarrod Saltalamacchia / Juan Uribe / Chris Young.

Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

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10 years ago

2 YEARS AT 14 MIL total is my offer, which wouldn’t get him signed to my team. He is valuable as an innings-eater but he would get killed in the AL.

10 years ago
Reply to  LONNIE

There’s not much “value” in innings-eating back end starters. 1yr/5mil from me, and that’s only if I’m the GM of the Astros and want to have somebody up there just to avoid completely punting/don’t want prospects up unless they are ready. (because seriously, there’s no prospect Arroyo is blocking)

Otherwise, he’s basically giving me worse/same but more reliable performance as signing X number of scrap-pile starters for peanuts, throwing them all at the wall, and seeing who sticks.

Dan Ugglas Forearm
10 years ago
Reply to  AK7007

Agreed. I think pretty much any team has a minor league player that, given 180 innings, could produce 0.5-0.8 WAR. And they’re on minimum contracts.

10 years ago

WAR does not provide a full context of what Arroyo provides. I think a perfect example of that is 2009; in 2009 Arroyo threw 220 innings with an ERA of 3.84, and fellow Reds starter, Aaron Harang threw 162.3 innings with an ERA of 4.21. Harang’s WAR 2.3, Arroyo’s WAR 1.6.

Fangraph’s WAR has consistently undervalued Arroyo. I understand why as well, many pitchers have put up decent ERA’s and in the low 4s or high 3s with peripherals similar to Arroyo, but that usually turns out to be a fluke. Arroyo has put up good ERAs with bad peripherals for years, and he is doing that in a hitters park.

To say that Arroyo is just a touch above replacement level is to not look at the entire picture. His ERA+ for the last two seasons is 105, and he pitched 202 innings both seasons. He is league average, not a replacement level, I think every team would add a guy who can pitch 200 league average innings.

Also, these comments are about what Arroyo has done, not what I think he will do. He has reached an age where he can fall off a cliff in a hurry, even he has said if he loses much more on his fastball, he won’t have enough room for error to be effective. But, he has been a damn good pitcher for the better part of the last decade.

10 years ago
Reply to  AK7007

“There’s not much “value” in innings-eating back end starters. ”

As someone who has watched a team try to patch together a half-season from unready AA/AAA starters, I coudn’t disagree more.

Replacement level guys who can throw 200 innings actually are valuable.

10 years ago
Reply to  RC

I agree. Just about every team throws away innings to sub-replacement pitchers because they don’t have enough decent starters to last a full season. 200 innings of sub-4.00 era (in a pitchers park, no less) is solid. I wouldn’t give him a huge contract, but there’s definite value in an innings-eating back end starter.

His era has been considerably better than his FIP the last 5 years too, so judging him by WAR might not be fair. In 2012, it was 35 points lower than FIP. In the other 4 years, it’s averaged about 70-80 points lower than his FIP. According to Baseball Reference WAR, he’s been worth about 6 WAR the last two seasons (combined).

10 years ago
Reply to  RC

The whole idea of replacement level is that you can get it for free. As in, league minimums. Not millions. What you are talking about is putting in sub-replacement level players, which I wouldn’t advocate. Some front offices don’t understand that distinction however, and you end up with situations like Lucas Harrell pitching for 115 innings. People who would pay Arroyo could gobble up some combination of John Lannan types and Kazmir comeback hopeful types for less than the price of Arroyo, throw a bunch out there in spring training to see what’s what, and get a similar return to Arroyo. And still have that leftover money for something else.

The situation that you want Arroyo for is when you need certainty of not being sub-replacement, and have a gaping hole in your rotation, and can’t afford an upgrade – not “well, we have 10 million and can’t think of a better way to spend it than this!” Pay him little. If somebody else wants to overpay, there are plenty of cheap alternatives.