I can't really recall a situation like the Reds face right now with their starting rotation. In my mind, they've got ten decent starters, both for the remainder of this year and in future years, but none of those guys really stand out as top of the rotation kind of guys. What should they do? Let's look at what they've got to work with. Several of the pitchers have some striking similarities, which, in my opinion, only makes it more difficult to figure out what to do.
Bronson Arroyo and Aaron Harang are the first guys to discuss. They've been around the block, and we know pretty well what we're getting with them. Both are free agents after this year, provided the Reds don't pick up their $13M options. (Cot's Baseball Contracts has some nice salary information which helped me put this together.) To this point, Arroyo has been worth 1.2 WAR and Harang 1.0 WAR this season, so they're not exactly living up to their current contracts at the moment. Despite that, they continue to give the Reds more or less average production, as they have for several years. They don't overpower guys; their stuff is basically average. In fact, Arroyo's fastball only clocks in at 88.0, which is faster than only a dozen or so qualified starters in the majors. Harang's is a more respectable, but still below average, 90.5.
I've always thought of each of them as "innings-eaters", but after looking at the stats, I can see that's only really true of one of them. Arroyo is working on a streak of five straight 200+ inning seasons and appears likely to get there this year as well. In looking at the stats, I was surprised to find that Harang hasn't been so reliable these last few years. Depending on how long his current back injury keeps him out, he could be looking at his third straight year of failing to hit 200 innings. I tend to think that Harang is more likely to give you a big game, while Arroyo is more consistent and less likely to throw out a stinker. The bottom line is, of all the guys on the staff, these two are the known quantities. They're basically average pitchers who are going to give you six innings and keep you in the game more often than not. Harang's inability to stay healthy at this stage of his career appears to make Arroyo the better bet going forward, both this year and in the future. I think it is pretty safe to say that Harang's option will be declined next year. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Reds try to bring Arroyo back on a two-year $16-18M contract or something like that.
Let’s figure out why Montana hates the Reds
2 days ago