When pitchers and catchers reported to Salt River last Friday, the search for Diamondbacks' general manager Kevin Towers ended.
That's when Towers signed the elusive pitcher he sought all winter. Though not quite the headline name like David Price, Towers finally settled on right-hander Bronson Arroyo, who will turn 37 year old on Feb. 24.
CEO Derrick Hall and Ken Kendrick, the D-backs general managing partner, opened their wallet and signed Arroyo to a two year deal worth a reported $23.5 million. Bronson is slated to receive a reported $9.5 million this year and next and an option, if the Diamondbacks decide to pick that up, of $11 million in 2016.
That's a considerable pay cut from the $16.4 million Arroyo received from the Reds a year ago. And down from the $12 mil he took in the previous season.
Numbers aside, the Arroyo signing addresses several interesting issues.
First, there's no question the Diamondbacks need help in the starting rotation. For the five starters of Wade Miley, Patrick Corbin, Trevor Cahill, Brandon McCarthy and Randall Delgado that ended the season a year ago, their combined record was below .500. Miley broke even with a 10-10 mark and Corbin finished with a 14-8 record.
While right-hander Archie Bradley is groomed for his major league debut, possibly this summer, Towers was compelled to add a starter.
Having signed Arroyo on the brink of spring training says that free-agent pitchers were not terribly interested in Arizona and perhaps Towers' sales pitch was not that strong.
Arroyo thinks he has quite a bit left in the tank and settled for much less than last season in Cincinnati. There's no question players will embrace a veteran like Arroyo on board. Though in his late 30s, the native of Key West, Fla. made his major league debut with the Pirates in 2000 and has been noted for his durability.
Reaching 200 innings or more every year since 2005 (he threw 199 innings in 2011), Arroyo demonstrated a high level of endurance and reliability. Yet, his numbers could be stronger.
Last season, he managed a 14-12 (3.79 ERA) record with the Reds and has never won more than 17 games in any one season. That was 2010 with Cincinnati when he went 17-10, 3.85 ERA. Plus, Arroyo's fast ball barely hits 90 on the radar gun, so he needs to create movement on his fast ball and spot his pitchers.
One factor to consider is working with Mike Harkey, the new D-backs pitching coach. Having spent recent years as the Yankees bullpen coach, Harkey takes over an underachieving staff and now Arroyo, who hopes for better numbers.
At best, Towers and field manager Kirk Gibson can hope for repeat numbers.
The Diamondbacks will be fortunate to squeeze a 15-win season out of Arroyo. Then again, his veteran presence, experience and baseball acumen could propel Arroyo into some type of leadership role.
If that happens, he could be in a position to raise the level of competition among pitchers around him.
Should Arroyo work some magic here, it's hoped Cahill can get out of a two-year funk with Arizona and begin to reach the level he attained with Oakland. Corbin could be on the verge of a 15 plus-win season and Miley's worth could rise approaching a 15-win season.
The signing of Arroyo, Towers hopes, can have a domino effect throughout the starters in particular and the pitching staff in general. If that happens, the $23 million investment for Arroyo could be considered a bargain.