Re: Hello from very snowy MN
Scott, as I understand it the Sage VXP is an "updated" version of the XP. I've never cast an XP so can't speak to those. I wiggled and practice cast the VXP in a couple of different shops before buying mine and have been very happy with it, especially for salmon and steelhead.
In terms of a reasonably priced reel, I'd go with something machined--I think the quality is generally better. You may want to consider a Ross CLA--made in the US, lifetime warranty, disc drag, and reasonably priced. I've got one on my double-handed rod and love it.