The Cincinnati Reds have announced that Bronson Arroyo has been elected to the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and will be inducted in 2023.
The Reds acquired Bronson Arroyo in the spring of 2006 when they made what was at the time a bit of a controversial trade, sending outfielder Wily Mo Pena to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Arroyo. He had been league average up to that point in his career and he was 29-years-old. But getting out of the American League East and into the National League Central paid off as Arroyo made the All-Star team in his first season with the Reds.
“I was sorely disappointed, for sure,” Arroyo said on Wednesday of how he felt about the trade at the time. “I don’t know if there was a moment in my life than that’s probably been lower than that phone call Theo Epstein gave me. I was the type of guy who loved playing in the same place, knowing the names of the beat writers, knowing the guys that clean the clubhouse at night, the restaurants you go to, the people you hang out with and I was 3 years in and win a World Series and it’s such a special place in Boston and I really was entrenched there and I was looking forward to doing that for the next 6-7 years. And for him to pull the plug on me just completely unexpected it was just a huge downer.”
It took a little bit of time that first season for Arroyo to adjust to things and get settled into the city and even with the club.
“I came to spring training from Red Sox camp where they had a chef and they were putting food out, and we had no breakfast. There were a lot of things – we didn’t have a chiropractor, we didn’t have a masseuse at the time. There were a lot of things that felt like I was moving backwards in the game. It probably took me the better part of the first 3 months of that first season in 06 to really stop watching Red Sox games and feel like I was really a part of that Red locker room. I felt very fortunate that I got out to a good start and to have people enjoy me and love me right out of the gate and not be like “oh, we traded for this guy and he hasn’t done anything for us”. Part of that is a little bit of luck that I got off to that great start, and once I realized it was a smaller town, it really fit the bill a bit better than a bigger town like Boston – a place I could go out at night and people aren’t writing about you in the paper and stuff, it’s been a joy ever since.”
(We are going to ignore that in 2006 the Reds didn’t have a team chef, chiropractor, or masseuse)
Arroyo wouldn’t make any All-Star teams after that first season, but he was good in most of the next seven seasons as he ate tons of innings and was an above-average pitcher five of his eight years after the trade, and he was average in a sixth. When he left in free agency following the 2013 season he had gone 105-94 with a 4.05 ERA (105 ERA+) and had thrown 1690.1 innings in his eight seasons. Arroyo averaged over 200 innings a season while he was with the organization in that span and only failed to get there once – in 2011 – and he threw 199.0 innings that season.
After signing with Arizona in 2014 he made 14 starts for them before tearing his UCL and undergoing Tommy John surgery. He didn’t pitch again until he re-signed with the Reds in 2017. Things didn’t go well for the then 40-year-old as he struggled to throw 85 MPH and got lit up to the tune of a 7.35 ERA in 14 starts before a shoulder injury landed him on the injured list for the rest of the season. He would retire following the season.
“You don’t think about a player a lot of times is sticking with the same team long enough to build these type of numbers to be int heir Hall of Fame,” said Arroyo. “You can bounce around every 2-3 years and put up fantastic numbers but never really stay in one place long enough to have a home.”
Arroyo has made Cincinnati his home. And next summer he’ll get enshrined in the local team’s Hall of Fame. If things work out he says he’ll be bringing his guitar with him in July during the induction ceremonies and festivities. It’s likely that Arroyo will be the first of the 91 inductees to bring his guitar with him.