01:00 AM EDT on Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Bronson Arroyo may be in Cincinnati, but his heart is still in Boston.
In fact, he may already be planning his return.
"I still miss playing in that uniform, especially when I turn on the TV and they are 10 games out of first place and there is still a crowd that is maybe more enthusiastic than any crowd in the game," Arroyo told the Lawrence (Mass.) Eagle-Tribune in a story published yesterday.
"You never know what's going to happen in the next couple years."
One thing that will happen is Arroyo hitting the free-agent market after 2008, when the three-year contract he signed with the Red Sox last winter expires. He has yet to sell his home in Boston, and he told the newspaper he'll hold onto it for at least two more years . . . or until he sees what happens in free agency.
Arroyo, 29, went 14-11 with a 3.29 E.R.A. for the Reds and made the National League All-Star team. He said Sox general manager Theo Epstein, who traded him to Cincinnati for outfielder Wily Mo Pena in spring training, called to congratulate him on his All-Star selection.
"He was joking around about how he couldn't go anywhere in the city without somebody yelling at him about trading me," Arroyo said.
Like many Sox fans, Arroyo didn't understand why Boston would pitching for outfield help.
"[Why] would you trade away a young, 200-inning arm?" he said. "Even if Wily Mo hits 40 home runs, I think with what's going on in baseball as far as getting rid of steroids and stuff, it's becoming harder for people to pitch 200 innings and stay healthy year after year. I can see pitchers becoming more of a commodity than they were five or six years ago."
And Arroyo thinks he became more of a commodity after the season he had.
"I was disappointed with the move, but it is probably going to help me out in the long run, because I'm coming over to [Cincinnati] with a little more responsibility, showing I didn't need the Boston Red Sox lineup to stay out there and win ballgames." he said. "In the end, as a free agent, I have become worth more than if I stayed in Boston and pitched out of the pen . . .
"Over time, you earn your respect. I've always been a guy who has been borderline, 'Is he a starter or a bullpen guy?' But now I think I've shown I can be a No. 3 on any team in baseball.
"So now I've gotten over that hump. Now I have to prove that I can be a guy who can do it 2, 3, 5 or 10 years in a row."
Sheffield a possibility
The Red Sox, in need of more offense, would likely be interested in Gary Sheffield if the Yankees decline the 2007 option, worth $13 million, in his contract. Sheffield, for his part, thinks he'll be available.
"My gut tells me I am not coming back," Sheffield told The New York Post in a story published yesterday.
The Post, however, speculated the Yankees may pick up the option -- and then trade Sheffield -- in order to keep him away from the Red Sox.
Asked how he felt about not going back to New York, Sheffield said, "It's all good."