A proven starter
Arroyo move also solidifies defense
BY JOHN FAY | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER
SARASOTA, Fla. - The first trade of the Wayne Krivsky/Bob Castellini era could be viewed as risky.
When Krivsky, the Reds general manager, sent outfielder Wily Mo Peña to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for pitcher Bronson Arroyo and cash, he traded a player who could blossom into one of the game's premier sluggers.
"I can't worry about that," Krivsky said. "We're better with Arroyo in the rotation, and Adam Dunn in left field."
It's hard to argue with that. The players see it that way.
"You hate to give up Wily Mo," Dunn said. "But it's for someone proven. This makes us better now."
That's the message management is sending: We're trying to win now.
All you have to do is look at the first trade Dan O'Brien made as general manager three years ago to see there's a philosophical change. O'Brien sent a proven big-league pitcher, Chris Reitsma, to Atlanta for two prospects, Bubba Nelson and Jung Keun Bong. Nelson was recently released; Bong has little chance of making the club.
Arroyo, a 29-year-old right-hander, likely will be in the rotation for at least the next three years. He signed a three-year, $11.5 million contract in January. The Reds got $1.5 million in Monday's deal.
Arroyo probably will go third in the rotation after Aaron Harang and Brandon Claussen. Dave Williams and Eric Milton will be the other starters.
With the Arroyo trade, Reds manager Jerry Narron confirmed speculation that's been brewing for weeks: The Reds plan to start the year without Paul Wilson in the rotation.
Dunn returns to left field, where he's played the last 4½ years. Scott Hatteberg becomes the first baseman.
Krivsky said the Peña-Arroyo trade developed over the last two or three days. That's roughly the time frame in which it became clear the Reds' starting pitching wasn't ready to contend.
Michael Gosling, the leading candidate to take Wilson's spot in the rotation, gave up 10 runs in Bradenton in 1/3 of an inning Saturday. That same day in Orlando, Williams gave up eight runs.
Those outings did not increase the urgency to make the deal, Krivsky said.
"I would have made the deal if we pitched two shutouts Saturday," he said.
Arroyo had a better year last year than any Reds pitcher. He was 14-10 with a 4.51 ERA. He pitched 2051/3 innings and led the Red Sox with 20 quality starts.
The Reds were 46-23 when they got a quality start - at least six innings pitched while giving up no more than three earned runs - last year.
"We got a solid major-league starter," Narron said. "He can throw any pitch over in any count."
The move is a major upgrade defensively for the Reds.
"Adam Dunn is better than Wily Mo in left," Narron said. "Hatteberg is better than Dunn at first."
The Reds set themselves up to make Monday's trade on Feb. 12, when they signed Hatteberg.
Hatteberg is a different hitter than Peña. Peña is all about power. Hatteberg has never hit more than 15 home runs in a season.
But Hatteberg makes contact and works the count. He's walked 432 times in his career and struck out 420 times.
"We're very fortunate to have him," Narron said. "I can't believe he was still available."
Hatteberg was an everyday player for the Oakland A's the last two years. Hatteberg only hit .256, but he drove in one more run than Sean Casey (59 to 58) in 65 fewer at-bats in 2005.
He signed knowing he could end up as a bit player for the Reds. But he also was aware of the team's outfielder surplus.
"I knew that a trade was a possibility," he said. "Whether it happens or not, you never know. But that was part of the appeal of coming here."