There's been some self-satisfied clucking among Nationals fans as Shawn Hill went to the disabled list with another bout of his recurring, undiagnosed forearm soreness. It would appear, perhaps, that maybe the Nationals did the right thing by letting him walk. After all, 12 IP for $800k? No thanks.
Of course, Hill could be back shortly, and I hope he is, but let's assume he's done. In that case, he'd be finishing the year with 3 starts, a 4.10 fielding independent ERA, and a +0.2 VORP (value over replacement player). That means that in his 12 innings, he contributed two-tenths of a win over what a typical AAA call-up would do. Hill didn't last, but while he was out there, he was better than replacement-level.
Here's my challenge to the Washington Nationals pitching staff. In order to prove beyond a doubt that the Nationals as a team (as opposed to Ted Lerner's bank account) are/were better off without Hill, they need to have 5 starting pitchers reach above-replacement territory. Currently, two-fifths of the rotation is in the red when it comes to VORP. Scott Olsen is at -5.8 VORP and Daniel Cabrera's at -5.1.
There's my challenge get five guys above 0.2 VORP, and I'll tip my cap to Rizzo for doing the right thing on Shawn Hill. Shouldn't be too hard, right? Right?