Easy prediction: Reds will pick up Arroyo’s option

Bronson Arroyo has an $11 million club option in 2011 with a $2 million buyout.

Translation: Expect to see him back with the Reds next season. And I think that’s a great thing.

The Reds will basically go into spring training of next season with seven starting pitchers. However, how often does a starting rotation stay healthy throughout the year? That’s right, never. There are bound to be a couple of guys get hurt — or not perform up to par — so there is nothing wrong with having seven guys ready to go. The group will include Arroyo, Homer Bailey, Aroldis Chapman, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, Edinson Volquez and Travis Wood. (And yes, that is going to be one hell of a rotation next year, no matter which five of them are in there at a particular time.)

The main reason the Reds will choose to re-sign Arroyo is that he’s an innings-eater that can be counted on for roughly 15 wins per season. He never misses a start and $11 million is really a bargain for him in this day and age. And it’s not like they’re giving him $11 mil a year for the next five years. It would just be a one-year deal if/when they pick up the option, so there is no long-term risk for the Reds.

Arroyo, 33, is in the midst of a career year in which he’s 16-10 with a 3.98 ERA. In 203.2 innings, he’s given up 179 hits, 59 walks and has struck out 114. While he’s never going to be dominant, it’s still a luxury to have a rubber-armed pitcher who is going to give you a quality start more often than not. There is no question in my mind he’ll be back next year.

When the Reds make their starting rotation for the playoffs, you can bet Arroyo will start game one of the divisional series. The next-best option would be Jonny Cueto, who is also enjoying a career year (12-5, 3.35 ERA, 177.1 IP, 165 H, 53 BB, team-high 132 K).

Another bonus in bringing Arroyo back for at least one more year is that it would give the Reds a veteran pitcher to go with all the young guns. You need that veteran presence in the clubhouse and for all his quirks Arroyo is a good leader in his own way. He really took Leake under his wing this year and the rookie was lights-out good until hitting the wall after the All-Star break.

* As for Aaron Harang, he is obviously in his final season with the Reds as he has a $12 million club option for 2011 with a buyout of $2 million. They might as well give him that $2 mil now and send him on his way. Or maybe Harang can help as a long reliever during the playoffs, who knows. But the bottom line is that he will be playing for a new team next year.