It's a two-pronged attack today with some hard-hitting Reds coverage. You know you've been itching for it. (Super Bowl schmuper bowl, it's almost time for pitchers and catchers!) Let's start off with a little something I'd like to take complete credit for. As many of you had noticed from the sidebar, I'd been praying to the ghosts of Pete Rose's reputation for Aaron Harang to get signed to a long term contract. And, by the grace of the baseball gods today it came true. Harang gets $36.5 million over four years with an option for the fifth. By all real-world standards this is a ridiculous sum of money, but when you recall your Gil Meches of the world this is a great deal for the Reds and I couldn't be happier. The rotation has some promise for the future now, for the first time in a long time (don't give me Eric Milton).
Now, onto my second point. Thanks to a Rob Neyer (who Trout seems to hate now, but I still hold no particular animosity for) article, I started thinking about VORP (Value Over Replacement Player). To the best of my knowledge (and I'm mostly clueless) VORP represents the percentage better than an average replacement a player is. By all indications "better" and "value" are determined by someone in a studio apartment with MLB extra innings. Anyway, if you check out those stats, you'll notice that there was one Reds batter in the top 100 last season. That was Rich Aurilia and, oh yeah, he's long gone. Dunner was 104 (I guess his K's are what hurts him) and Dave Ross was 109 despite splitting time with LaRue who would have been cut loose two years ago. Brandon Phillips came in right behind him at 110. This is what really scares me about this team in '07. Their only chance to be truly competitive is one of two ways: 1) Harang and Arroyo (12th and 6th pitching VORP, respectively) don't fall off and some pitching fills in behind them, or 2) the batters way outperform the projected. Anyway, just thought it was interesting. Look for your favorite players and see where they rank.