Reds, Arroyo agree on extension
Right-hander signs on through 2010 with club option for '11
CINCINNATI -- Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky values quality pitchers and has certainly backed it up over the past three days.On Thursday, Cincinnati gave All-Star starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo a two-year contract extension through 2010 plus a club option for the 2011 season. Arroyo, who was entering the second year of a three-year, $11.25 million contract he signed with the Red Sox on January 19, 2006, will get $25 million more in new money for a total of $33.07 million when including his option buyout. The signing follows the four-year, $36.5 million contract given to rotation-mate Aaron Harang on Tuesday. It means the Reds have locked up their two best starters through at least 2010, and possibly 2011. "I can get kind of used to this, twice in one week," Krivsky said. "This is a lot of fun. "You've got to have starting pitching. It starts there for me. When you look at all the Braves' winning years, you look at their rotation. Your starting pitching is so important to the success of your team. It's nice to have these two guys signed for the period of time that we do." Arroyo, who turns 30 on Feb. 24, will make $3.8 million this season, as stipulated in his old contract. Instead of making $3.95 in 2008, he will get an additional $2.5 million bonus. The earnings increase to $9.5 million in 2009 and $11 million in 2010 with an $11 million club option for 2011 that can climb to $13 million if he reaches incentives. The option carries a $2 million buyout. "Hopefully, I can throw 200 innings the next four or five years in a row and give them their money's worth," Arroyo said. Last season, Arroyo was tops in the Major Leagues with 240 2/3 innings pitched. The right-hander was 14-11 with a 3.29 ERA and 184 strikeouts and tied for first in the National League with 35 starts. Arroyo and Harang became the first duo in Reds history last season to each pitch at least 200 innings and record at least 184 strikeouts. "Most baseball people agree that with Bronson and Aaron Harang, the top of our rotation is as strong as any in baseball," Reds owner/chief executive officer Bob Castellini said in a statement. "These two contracts show the commitment of the Reds, Bronson and Aaron to the fans of Cincinnati." "I'm glad they basically locked us up with identical deals," Arroyo said. "It's nice to pitch alongside a guy you can lean on a little bit. I don't think I'd ever want to be a guy that felt like I had to carry the whole load." Arroyo's first season with the Reds began with a 9-3 run and 2.47 ERA over his first 15 starts and an invitation as the club's lone representative to the All-Star Game. After he notched only one win over his next 13 outings, he finished 4-2 with a 2.45 ERA over his final seven starts. He also hit home runs in each of his first two games with Cincinnati, both against the Cubs. "There are no clauses in his contract for offense," Krivsky joked.
Earlier in the offseason, Arroyo had made overtures to a New England newspaper that he might want to return to his beloved Boston and the Red Sox when his contract was up after 2008. Like Harang, he also passed on a chance for a potentially bigger payday as a free agent in two years based on the colossal contracts given to pitchers this winter.But Arroyo discovered he liked Cincinnati and Cincinnati fans have certainly taken to him over the past year. Between his on-field performances and burgeoning musical career locally, he has taken on a cult icon status in the city. "Everywhere I go in the city, people have talked friendly with me," Arroyo said. "I say I've enjoyed it as much as any other city I've played in, other than coming to the ballpark and not quite having it full all the time. I had two years until free agency. I've really enjoyed myself here. It's a little quieter, a little more simple [of a] lifestyle. "It's comfortable here. With what's going on this offseason, pitchers are getting outrageous sums of money. For me to pass up the opportunity to sign a two-year deal with the offer they had, it would have been stupid. Had I been in a place that I really, really hated and didn't want to come to the ballpark every day, maybe I wouldn't do it." Krivsky first approached one of Arroyo's agents about an extension during December's Winter Meetings. Talks didn't get going until about two weeks ago. "He was signed already, but on the other hand, we wanted to approach him when we knew we were going to be extending Aaron out as long as we were," Krivsky said. "I thought it was only right to approach Bronson and ownership gave me the OK." Thursday also marked Krivsky's one-year anniversary as Reds GM. His first trade came March 20, 2006, when he acquired Arroyo from Boston for slugger Wily Mo Pena. It proved to be one of the best deals made in baseball last season. When Krivsky took the job, Harang was the only consistent starter in the Reds' rotation. The staff certainly seems to be in better shape than a year ago and the future appears bright with top pitching prospect Homer Bailey on the verge of reaching the Majors. "Aaron's emergence, Bronson's durability and the quality of his performance," Krivsky said. "Having them both signed is huge for us. I have to think players on the club are saying 'Maybe it could be me somewhere down the road.'"
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.