Brendan Harris is gone, sent back to AAA New Orleans, and I'm not afraid to say I miss him. I don't understand it, either. In his brief stay with the big club, Brendan hit -- .333 batting average with a double, a homer, and 3 RBIs in 9 at-bats. Of course, 9 trips to the plate is a miniscule sample size, but they couldn't have sent him down because he was overmatched. But room had to be made for the returning Wil Cordero and John Patterson. Harris was on the team to fill in at second and third and to pinch hit. That's exactly the same as Carlos Baerga's job description, except that Harris can actually do it. I know, I know -- Baerga brings veteran leadership and knows how to win and takes it one day at a time and he may well be scrappy and gritty, but he's hitting .235 with no power and his gut gets in the way of turning double plays. Even worse, Frank knows this and tries to keep Baerga off the field, which prevents the Nats from sitting or pinch hitting for Cristian Guzman. Our only backup shortstop is the lovable Jamey Carroll, who's playing every day at second with Vidro out. If Harris were around, we could plug Jamey in at short every now and again -- you can't expect Guzman to continue to produce outs at his current rate without some rest. But Harris is enjoying the gumbo, and our options are limited. I don't have a good explanation or pithy quip or anything; I just don't like it.
A broken bone prevented Jim Bowden from doing any further damage. Pitcher Zach Day -- beaten, disgraced, sent to AAA -- was about to be traded until a fracture in his wrist was discovered. And it's a good thing, too: Bodes was about to add either Preston Wilson or Juan Encarnacion, and we don't want either one. I've discussed Wilson before, and here's the short version: he's about to be a free agent, he can't hit outside of Colorado, and he upgrades us not at all.
Then there's Encarnacion. Sometimes I worry because Bowden seems to be almost completely unaware of anyone who didn't play for him at some point. Jose Rijo, Barry Larkin, Jose Guillen, and now Encarnacion. Were the late 90s Reds so great that we want to see them reassembled in Washington? (Correct answer: no) More troubling is the fact that Johnny In-The-Flesh just isn't much of a ballplayer. He's never hit .300, he's never slugged .500, his best OBP in a year was .330 and that was five years ago. Career high in homers? 24 At least he strikes out like a power hitter: at least 86 times a year and 113 twice. He's not completely useless. He hits some doubles and is alleged to be a good outfielder, but we already have outfielders. It's full. We don't need any more. Can Juan outproduce Jose Guillen, Brad Wilkerson, or the Church/Byrd platoon? (Correct answer: no) This team has some needs, and another low OBP outfielder doesn't make the top 50. The real problem is that the biggest hole on the squad is of Bowden's own creation, and he can't fix it without admitting his error. But he feels the need to so something, and this kind of useless flailing is the result.