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Monday, March 20, 2006
Broken Promise? Red Sox Trade Bronson Arroyo

On January 19, 2006, 29-year old pitcher Bronson Arroyo took a "hometown discount" by agreeing to a three-year, $11.2 million contract with the Boston Red Sox and avoiding arbitration with the team. He did so against the wishes of his agent, Gregg Clifton, who felt that his client left over $4 million on the table.
"I signed the deal at a pretty good discount . . . Fenway Park is a joy to come to every single day. I love playing here. I love the fans. I love the city. I want to stay here for my whole career, I feel that's going to beneficial for me as well as the team. Hopefully, they see it that way and don't trade me. [Then co-general managers] Jed [Hoyer] and Ben [Cherington] both stated to me that there was no deal on the table for me right now, and they felt pretty strongly that I wouldn't be traded any time anywhere in the near future. They couldn't guarantee me security for the lifetime of the contract."
Today--a mere two months and a day from when Arroyo signed the contract--the Red Sox traded Arroyo to the Cincinnati Reds for outfielder Wily Mo Pena. Perhaps unwittingly, by agreeing to a below-market contract, Arroyo likely aided the Red Sox in dealing him to a smaller-market team like the Reds. Nevertheless, Arroyo might be understandably annoyed at Hoyer and Cherrington if they indeed intimated that, in exchange for signing a below-market deal, he likely wouldn't be traded in the near future. Then again, Theo Epstein is now calling the shots again, so perhaps an oral promise by Hoyer and Cherrington was conditional upon them remaining in charge. In any event, expect Red Sox players to think very carefully about oral promises by Red Sox management from here on out. The same might be said of free agents when considering whether to sign with the Sox.



As usual, great post. I know you're a big Boston fan, but I can't feel sorry for the guy here. Everyone knows that oral promises are forgotten and, practically speaking, unenforceable. He has an agent, and if being in Boston was part of the deal (and in fact why he took a "discount"), then he should have had a "no trade" clause, which is not at all uncommon these days. Maybe he should try and recoup some of the 3-5% commission he paid to his agent! :)

Blogger Rick Karcher -- 3/20/2006 2:20 PM  

The Red Sox do not give no-trade clauses in any of their contracts.

Plus, Arroyo was told that "there was no deal in the works", not that he wouldn't eventually be traded.

Anonymous Ryan -- 3/20/2006 2:45 PM  

In lieu of a no-trade clause, he (more likely the agent) also could have requested a salary hike if he was dealt. Thus, the Sox would benefit from the home town discount, but if he was traded, he could earn what he rightly "deserved."

Blogger irishkeough -- 3/20/2006 4:46 PM  

Good story here. I think the two old GMs didn't have anything on the table, but Theo did. I think this is just an example of how teams will trade anyone, no matter your loyalties and why we'll probably see less and less no-trade clauses in the future.

Blogger Ryguy -- 3/20/2006 5:46 PM  

I'm real pissed about this deal. Here was a guy, a good solid player, who liked his team and town enough to give up 4 million dollars, more than most people will probably ever make, just to stay with the team and with the town, and they went and traded him. Sure there are no gaurantees, but who cares what a contract says, if someone sticks up for you and you stab them in the back you're a worthless subhuman. And I was a huge Red Sox fan, but they've just taken all the sportsmanship out of the game now. Until the Red Sox do what it takes to get Arroyo back, I think anyone who's a fan of baseball should boycott the red sox.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 3/30/2006 8:37 AM  

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