Last off-season, Walt Jocketty extended Scott Rolen by two years and lowered his 2010 salary from about $11 mil. to $6 mil. deferring the other $5 mil. Rolen also got about $6 mil. per year for 2011 and 2012. Jocketty used the extra money from the Rolen deal to sign Jonny Gomes (to a minor league deal) and Orlando Cabrera without increasing the 2010 payroll.
After the Reds' season ended, they announced they would pick-up Arroyo's option for about $12 mil. To me, this was a no-brainer. Arroyo is worth that and then some. But whether or not the Reds need him might be another story. One option would be to trade him. I think the Reds are counting on him to be in the rotation for 2011. They have plenty of candidates, but Arroyo, at a minimum, will start 35 times and throw 200 plus decent innings.
Another option, however, would be to give Arroyo the Rolen treatment. Offer him two more years (through 2013) in exchange for a reduction in his 2010 salary (with a deferred payment to make up the difference). If Arroyo wants to stay here, he might go for that. Two problems with this, however. While the Reds almost certainly could use Arroyo in 2011, they may not need him in 2012 and beyond. The second problem, you can't trade him. For him to agree to this arrangement, he would almost certainly insist on a no-trade clause. He signed a multi-year deal with the Red Sox without testing the market because he wanted to stay in Boston. The Red Sox promptly traded him to the Reds (for WMP). I'm not sure the Reds want to be in a position where they are paying Arroyo close to market value and can't trade him in 2012 or 2013.
The best (and therefore heartless) option is to start him in the 2011 rotation with the idea that by the All-Star break the Reds won't need him. At that point, they should have at least five of Volquez, Cueto, Leake, Wood, Chapman, Bailey, and Maloney ready for the rotation. If fact, the Reds could do with Arroyo and Chapman what they did this year with Leake and Volquez, essentially using both to fill one spot in the rotation. The Reds could then trade Arroyo at the deadline. This might actually work better for Arroyo, too, becoming a free agent and finally testing the market next off-season.
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