At the beginning of the season, Krivsky and Narron took a lot of heat--some from myself--for making Hatteberg the everyday first baseman, rather than moving Dunn or playing Aurilia there. But as the season has unfolded, I think Scott has proven that he does indeed deserve the first base job, and is actually the type of player many of us had asked the Reds to acquire to replace Sean Casey and his monstrous salary.
Consider, he's putting up offensive numbers better than all but two of Casey's seasons here. His current .900 OPS is over 100 points higher than Casey's last year, he's on pace to finish with more home runs and an equal batting average to 2005 Casey, is getting on base more frequently, and has played all-around superior defense. But the real killer is this: $7,750,000. That's how much MORE Casey is beling paid to ply his trade in Pittsburgh than hatteberg is in Cincinnati. That's almost unfathomable. (Granted, the Reds are picking up part of Casey's salary, but the point remains.)
Since 2004, many Reds fans opined that Casey's talents could be replaced at a mere fraction of the cost of his salary. And the Reds have, essentially, done that and more. I know that some on this board are waiting for the floor to collapse under Hatteberg's shoes, but I think that--nearly 4 months into the season--we can start to assume that he is, in fact, having the best offensive season of his career. And, in doing so, he has become that player that so many of us knew the reds could acquire to replace Casey.
At the beginning of the season, who'd have thought that Hatteberg and Aurilia would have become two of the most consistent performers on this team?