Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Hand In Glove (Part 1)

TCF's Reds baseball preview begins with a look at recently signed pitcher Aaron Harang.

A lot has been made of the plight of small market baseball teams over the last 15 years. What with the Yankees and Red Sox locked in an ever escalating cock-fight to see who can spend more money on exotic foreign players and stockpile the most all-stars, times are tough for small market teams. Now I know the Tigers, Cardinals, and A's were 3 0f the final 4 teams in the playoffs last season (and that the Red Sox didn't even make the playoffs) and that baseball is attempting to restructure it's finances by introducing revenue sharing. But when I see the free agents signings from this off season (Gary Matthews Jr., Gil Meche, and Ted Lilly all signed contracts worth around 10 M a year for four or five years), I wonder if a team like the Reds can compete in this market. So far, the answer has been not really.

The Reds finished last season 80-82, 3 games out of first place. For the first time since the 99 season, the Reds couldn't pin their struggles on an atrocious pitching staff. The team's 1 and 2 starters (Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo) combined for 30 wins, almost 400 K's, and over 400 innings pitched. Today the Reds resigned their ace, Harang, to a 4 year-36 million dollar contract (with an option for a 5th year). With Arroyo signed through the next two season at around 7 M a year, the Reds have two solid, durable starters with very reasonable contracts for the next two seasons. With Homer Bailey (who some rate as the best minor league pitching prospect in all of baseball) waiting in the wings, the Reds, potentially, have one of the best starting rotations in the NL, and a foundation to build a winning team around.

Reds GM Wayne Krivsky has been quiet on the free agent front this year, signing Alex Gonzalez from the Red Sox to play SS and a bunch of unexciting utility infielders (Jeff Conine, Juan Castro) and possible #5 starters and relievers (Kirk Saarloos, Brian Meadows, Mike Stanton). All in all, I can't say I blame him for his reluctance to pull the trigger on any of the big name free agents out there. The Reds look pretty mediocre right now, but I'd rather they improve the team through trades during the season (and through the farm system) than through spending a lot of money in the off-season for overpriced free agents. And really the Harang signing is probably the best thing that could happen for this team in the off-season. The guy is clearly their best player (in my mind) and gives them a pretty good shot to win every game he pitches. The fact that he was cheaper to sign than Gil Meche is mind boggling (as any fantasy baseball player can tell you, Meche is nothing but a headache), but I gotta give Krivsky props for it. Now let's see if he can get this team a closer.


Wise One said...

Arroyo extended to 2010 with an option for 2011 today.

Harang - Arroyo - Bailey. 1-2 punch with a kick in the nads.

Now if they would just announce when opening day tickets are going on sale.

dutch man rising said...

wilson coming back does not hurt us either

Wise One said...

My favorite part of your site is the frequent updates!

Keep it up!