Trading Bronson Arroyo?

In a comment to my Petagine is Alive post, Mike says the following:
Look, I know that Arroyo is not going to be making a lot of money for a couple of more years, but he can only go down from here. I do not see him improving at all as a pitcher and he is someone that we should definitely consider trading this off-season. He could be packaged in for a 1st basemen (Papelbon will be ready next year and is already better than Arroyo) or even a relief pitcher. I am tired of watching Arroyo give away games with [lousy] performances TIME AFTER TIME…I’ll tell you guys one thing – this [stuff] ain’t gonna hold up in the playoffs.
To be fair to Arroyo, no one on the pitching staff is exactly making a name for themselves, this season, but as for trading Arroyo, I think it is an option we should explore. We have Curt Schilling, Matt Clement, David Wells, and Tim Wakefield locked into the rotation next year, with perhaps a battle for the fifth spot, resting with Wade Miller and Jonathan Papelbon. Throwing Arroyo in that mix wouldn’t be feasible because Miller and Papelbon are indeed, better than Arroyo.
I felt that Arroyo was due for a breakout season, and he looked well on his way to proving me right in the beginning of the season, but he has regressed to being the pitcher that he was las year – inconsistent with flashes of brilliance. Arroyo could very well serve a purpose in the bullpen next year, but that would be a) not a smart idea based on his salary and the fact that there are quite a few options out there that could serve what Arroyo does and b) it would hurt his trade value.
Next year, we could potentially have a rotation of Schilling, Clement, Wells, Wakefield, and Miller with a bullpen of Keith Foulke as the closer, Mike Timlin as the setup man (if he returns which I think is near a foregone conclusion) and Craig Hansen and Papelbon as the firebreathers out of the bullpen. The other two pitchers we could end up with are Chad Bradford and Mike Myers. That is a bullpen I would be quite confident in, and we have Papelbon as a quick option should we need a spot starter. This is going to leave no room for Arroyo, unless Bradford is dispatched and Arroyo takes over his role. That is entirely possible, but again, the trade value of Arroyo is higher than it is of Bradford. In addition, if Mike Myers does not return, Arroyo would not be an option as we would need to get a left-hander in the bullpen.
Why not trade for Kansas City’s Mike Sweeney? I’ve been hearing over and over that Sweeney is basically ready to depart KC. KC is in a rebuilding mode, and they could use some nice affordable pieces like Arroyo to stem the losing tide and provide additional trading chips. They are also looking for a powerhitting corner outfielder. We could offer up OF Brandon Moss, and I think dealing C Kelly Shoppach would get the deal done. John Buck has not looked so hot this past year, Shoppach would provide competition and potentially a better alternative to Buck. Factor in the Red Sox taking on Sweeney’s salary, and I like this deal a lot.
Mike Sweeney’s 2004 Defensive Charts show that he’s average to below average in fielding grounders, above average at flyballs, bunts, and lineouts. If we look at his fielding this year, first we notice that he doesn’t play all that much, but when he does, he’s not all that bad. I think a move back to first would help, and Petagine can be the backup. Mark Teixeira leads all first-basemen in fielding percentage at .998. Sweeney is also at .998 with a career of .990 (Millar is at .989). Albert Pujols has a Range Factor of 11.37, Sweeney is at 10.15 (would be third behind Adam LaRoche) with a career of .969 which places him with Kevin Millar, as well. Zone Rating has Todd Helton leading at .917 and Sweeney is at .905 which would place him third behind Eric Hinkse, and a career of .837, which is again, Kevin Millar range.
Mike Sweeney over his career is Kevin Millar in the field, and is performing at high levels this year. So even if you average the two out, he is better than Kevin Millar! And of course, his bat (.299/.343/.521 as compared to Millar’s .271/.356/.369) is a lot better. In addition, Theo Epstein loves the short-term contracts. What better than Sweeney that gives us a two-year deal? I have read this exact reasoning in Sports Weekly, and you know, it makes a lot of sense. Kansas City gets a starter and possible trading chip, a power outfielder, and a good catcher to boot. It dumps the salary and gets Sweeney to where he wants to be – winning.
On a related note, Epstein recently declined a two-year, $1.9 million extension. Yes, Epstein is a free agent after this season. He is looking but not only a five-year contract, but the money to make him one of the highest-paid GMs in the game. I agree with the length – I would love Theo to be a Red Sox lifer, but I have to quibble on this highest-paid GM in the game. Not only has he yet to “pay his dues” (yes, I know he won us a World Series, and he’s a great manager, but this year shows he is not stupendous -and you need another few years before you can say you deserve the money ) but if Theo is in Boston for the long haul, why bleed the owners dry for every cent? That’s one less cent that can go to the team.
I refuse to speak about the game last night. This last week has been pathetic. I will say, however, that I really hope that Roberto Petagine sees increased playing time.

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