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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Harris vs. Kearns

After exhaustive research, I have determined that I am in no way related to Willie Harris. So this post can't be seen as stumping for the family.

Manny Acta may be the only person who scribbles more potential lineups than I do and I'm not even sure about that. I've drawn up a million combinations for 2009. Almost all of them include Dukes, Milledge and Kearns across the outfield. None includes Willie Harris.

Not yet anyway. Harris' play has me wondering if signing him and making him a regular - a regular regular and not an injury-induced regular - wouldn't be a good move.

Could you live with Harris, Milledge and Dukes across the outfield? If you like Harris there, how much do you pay and for how long? Is $5 million for two years too much? Too little? Just tossing that number out there as a discussion starter - I have no clue what's a fair number.

I've never been a Kearns hater. I'd love nothing more than for him to become the player lots of people seem to think he can be. I'm also starting to wonder if we've already seen what he can be. I'm also curious whether Harris can continue anywhere close to this level. He has five more home runs this season than he had in his entire career coming into the year.

Is he playing over his head or was it simply a matter of getting a chance to play?

Unrelated, I refrained from commenting yesterday on the stories about that hack for the Braves, Nunez, griping about Dukes. The fanboy who writes for had a line in his game story that went something like "pounding his chest as if he'd actually accomplished something." Well, he did. It wasn't as cool as a hit would have been but his job was to get the winning run home. Down 1-2 in the count, he managed to do that. Not his fault Nunez couldn't find the plate.

I was going to let it go. But my son the Braves fan read the story and said, "Hey, Vladdy, how 'bout you shut the hell up and throw strikes? Get him out and he doesn't have a reason to celebrate."

Nunez and that clown from the Mets share space on the same page in my book. You don't do your job, you don't have a right to gripe.


Steven said...

I would say that Harris is one of the more valuable bench guys in the league and we should be happy we have him in that role. And we should keep him in that role. Kearns needs to be replaced, but Harris would be a much below-par corner OF.

Hendo said...

A Kearns trade for prospects could make a lot of sense.

I'm not as apprehensive as Steven is about W. Harris' ability to handle LF. He might not be Soriano, but he's not Wily Mo either, not by a long shot.

MikeHarris said...

Would he sign here again as a backup? Would someone offer him full-time duty?

Nate said...

Willie's arbitration eligible, so they'll have him if they want him. Keep in mind that Kearns and Pena are also under contract for 2009 already.

Vladimir Nunez, as previously noted, is a punk.

An Briosca Mor said...

Harris is arbitration-eligible after this season, meaning that all the Nats have to do is tender him an offer and he has no choice but to stay here. If they can't agree on a contract by spring training next year, they go to arbitration and the arbiter either chooses the Nats' offer or Harris's offer. I think it's a no-brainer that the Nats tender him, thereby putting him in the exact opposite position of Chad Cordero. (Other teams may want Harris, and he may want to leave - although I'm sure that's doubtful - but they can't have him. Whereas Cordero may want to go to another team and is perfectly able to do so, but it's doubtful that any team besides the Nats would want to sign him.)

A Kearns trade would make perfect sense, except that his salary ($9M next year) is so high that no other team would want him, even for prospects. I'm afraid the Nats are stuck with him, just as they were stuck with Lopez this year. If he continues to underperform next season, I can see them dumping him for nothing at the trade deadline just like they dumped Lopez and LoDuca this yar.

An Briosca Mor said...

Vladimir Nunez or Nelson Figeuroa. Who's the bigger punk? Discuss.

MikeHarris said...

It's a punk tie!

Thanks for notes that Harris is arbitration eligible. I claim nothing but ignorance - I thought he was an FA.

If they eat Kearns, Young and Johnson that's about 20 mil. Damn.

Chris Needham said...

Harris, for all the wonderful things he's done this year, still has an OPS+ of about 107. The average LFer is at 112, so in his career year, his offense is still worse than average.

He makes up a bunch of that with the glove, but at best he's an average LFer -- which isn't to say that that's a bad thing. If he reverts a little closer to his career levels, he's a bit of a drain.

MikeHarris said...

Help me with his history: Has Harris ever had a legit chance to play every day?

Chris Needham said...

He basically played all of '04 and the first part of '05 before the Sox realized he couldn't slug his way out of a wet paper bag.

Snivius said...

Part of why I love MLB more than the NFL is because I hate having to watch all the ghetto showboating. Baseball offers a nice little 90+ mph deterrent to Dukes' equivalent of a linebacker preening after holding a running back to only a two-yard gain.

Dukes showboated. Period.

Nunez was right to be ticked off. Whining about it to the press, however, was ill-conceived. Better for Nunez to make a mental note of the incident, grow some stones, and throw a purpose pitch or two to Dukes next time-- before getting him him out.

An Briosca Mor said...

Milledge + Dukes + Harris > Milledge + Dukes + Kearns. Offensively AND defensively. Career year or not.

(And once this year is over, both Harris and Kearns will have experienced their career years already. I'd still take Harris.)

Hendo said...

@abm: Kearns, if healthy, will be in a position to step up and be a leader for *some* team next season. There's nothing that says he has to spit the bit the way Felipe did.

If he performs well but doesn't want to be that leader for the Nats, that's an honest point of view, and makes the trade scenario a win-win. If he does stay around, it should be because of superior performance, not unwillingness to eat a contract.

Steven said...

Atlanta also tried to use Willie Harris as an every day player. He was installed as their every day LF on opening day last year and did ok for a while but broke down.

First half: .342 / .419 / .441
Second half: .214 / .294 / .354

The rap on him is that he can't hold up. That's besides the fact that as Chris says he's a teensy bit below average in a career year.

If anyone wants to give me some action on whether he maintains that 107 adjusted OPS over his next 300 ABs I'll put some serious money down.