My first choice for an 8wt reel is the Ross Canyon BG4. It has the most powerful drag on the market, has quadruple redundancy built into its mechanics, is totally saltwater safe, and has a good spool configuration in terms of depth/capacity. Its price is a bit high at $345, but if an Abel Super 8 is worth $550, the Canyon is worth $850.
For less money, the Lamson Velocity is a magnificent reel as well. It goes for about $225. It is a large arbor, but its arbor is pretty deep. Its drag is totally sealed and the exact same as they put on their $500 reels.
I like both of these manufacturers better than Orvis because they are indeed manufacturers. Orvis makes rods and outsources the rest of their tackle production. However, the mid arbor battenkill does look like a good reel for the money.
Hopefully Steve will weigh in on this too. He simply knows about lots of reels that I don't have experience with.