Arroyo arrives at Reds camp
Hurler welcomed by Cincinnati teammates Tuesday
By Justice B. Hill / MLB.com
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Bronson Arroyo arrived in the Reds clubhouse shortly after a game here with the Indians had ended.
As he stood in front of his locker stall, Ken Griffey Jr. strolled over to greet him. Griffey stuck out his hand and told Arroyo: "This is way we do it in Cincinnati. You won't have 35 guys around you.
"You mean, I won't be in the paper every day for going out at night?" he asked.
Well, maybe so. But Arroyo isn't in Cincinnati to make the gossip columns. He's here to pitch for the Reds, who traded Wily Mo Pena to Boston to get Arroyo.
It wasn't a trade the 29-year-old Arroyo was expecting. He had just signed a three-year, $11.5 million deal with the Red Sox in the offseason, so he thought his future in Boston looked stable.
He was so confident that he bought a house near Fenway Park about a month ago. He's yet to live in it. He won't get much of a chance to now until after the 2006 season.
"I was packing up for the season when I got the call from Theo [Epstein, Red Sox general manager]," Arroyo said. "It's disappointing. Anytime you can say you love what you do -- you know, I love being a baseball player -- and then to say you love the city and everything that comes along with being a Red Sox, it's hard to be lifted away from that.
"But I realize it's a business. They do what they've gotta do to benefit the team."
What the Red Sox and Reds did was trade a surplus to fill a shortage. The Red Sox had extra arms; the Reds had extra outfielders. It was the kind of deal, on paper at least, that made sense.
Still, that doesn't mean the move doesn't hurt. It does.
"It's been a disappointing couple of days," said Arroyo, who went 14-9 with a 4.56 ERA last season. "But, obviously, I come over here and I'm back in the National League and in a division I was in with the Pirates. I just, hopefully, can win some ballgames and pitch some innings."
That's why the Reds picked him up -- to pitch innings and win games. His postseason experience should help the staff, and the 29-year-old Arroyo comes to the organization with a healthy arm and a relatively modest contract.
He'd signed it in hopes that he'd be with the Red Sox for the long term. Arroyo said the vibe he got from the Red Sox was that they wouldn't trade him. He didn't, however, get a guarantee from the club.
Arroyo had been on record as saying he preferred to be a long man with the Red Sox than a starter with another organization. He hadn't changed the preference Tuesday.
"It was the first place that I played that it was my home," he said. "Obviously, it takes a lot to kinda grow into a city, and I felt comfortable there."
Put those things together, he said, and you come away knowing why he called it tough to leave Boston, Fenway Park, its fans and the Red Sox organization.
"I can mix-and-match anywhere, man," Arroyo said. "I'm sure I'll have a great time here as soon as I get comfortable."
Justice B. Hill is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.