Washington Nationals: Predicting the future of Will Harris

Will Harris signed a 3YR/$24M deal this offseason in what was a highly anticipated addition to the team. The results may have affected his future in Washington.

After Will Harris signed with the Washington Nationals as a free agent this past offseason, the storylines abounded. Harris was the pitcher who gave up the go-ahead, two-run home run, to Howie Kendrick, which propelled the Nationals to a win in Game 7 of last year’s World Series.

For the Nationals, having suffered through a treacherous regular season with their bullpen, they used three starting pitchers in relief during the playoffs as there were very few relievers manager Davey Martinez trusted.

Heading into the 2020 season the Nationals knew they needed an upgrade in the bullpen and they inked Harris.

Prior to 2019, Harris had been a decent set-up man, even fill-in closer for the Houston Astros. His walk year of ’19, proved to be his money-maker though. Harris was 4-1, with a 1.50 earned run average and four saves.

Thus far, 2020 has not gone as planned for Harris. He has given up runs in exactly half of the games he has pitched in. He has allowed baserunners in all but two of the games he has pitched in. He has spent time on the injured list and has proven to be ineffective as the eighth inning man out of the bullpen.

For the Washington Nationals, this is nothing new. Years of bullpen issues have plagued this team. The hitting and starting pitching overshadowed the bullpen woes a year ago, though they haven’t been as lucky this year.

Where does this leave Will Harris? After this year, he’ll have two years remaining on his contract. With a lot of baseball left to play during that time, I am going to give trolls some fodder to hold on to.

I don’t think Will Harris plays out his contract with the Washington Nationals. I think Will Harris gets traded before the end of the 2022 season when he is due to be a free agent again.

There are a lot of variables involved here, and a couple different directions this can go. Just doesn’t feel like Harris is a fit for his role with the team, and is currently the highest paid player in the bullpen.

A team can never have too many healthy arms. Harris is a veteran presence as well. And my instincts only partially have anything to do with the season he is having this year. His poor pitching performance hasn’t helped, though I’m not solely staking my claim on this.

The Nationals are sitting in the cellar of the National League East right now. They have a lot of money coming off the books the next two years, so I won’t call this a rebuilding project. I will call it a retooling, however.

Where the Nationals are using buyers and not sellers, I can still see a trade which moves Harris off the payroll.

Time will tell what the future has in store for Will Harris with the Washington Nationals. I’m thinking, not great things as far as longevity.