Today I thought we'd discuss another bright spot from the 2006 season.
Aaron Harang was a solid pitcher in 2005, but he took a giant step forward in 2006. Like Aurilia, Harang surprised me this year. That isn't a knock against Aaron, it's more an indictment of the Reds ability to develop pitching. I'm long since used to just assuming that Reds pitchers aren't going to improve, but it looks like I might have to change that attitude.
Harang finished the season with a 16-11 record in 234.3 IP, with 216 strikeouts against just 56 walks. He was all over the National League stat leaderboards, finishing tied for first in wins, first in complete games, first in strikeouts, fifth in K/BB ratio, third in innings pitched, and sixth in ERA+. Any way you slice it, Aaron Harang had a hell of a year.
Obviously the question with Harang isn't whether or not the Reds should keep him, or whether he's a valuable player. The Reds obviously should, and he obviously is. I think the main question with Harang is how much the Reds should pay, and for how long. Perhaps the number one issue this offseason is the need to sign Aaron Harang to a long term deal.
I'm not a fan of giving pitchers contracts longer than three years, so I'd love to see something like 3 years and anywhere from $27-$32 million.
Here are a couple of questions to get the ball rolling for a Harang discussion:
- Do you consider Harang to be a number one pitcher?
- How much would you pay Harang in a long term deal? How long do you think the Reds should try to tie him up?