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Brendan Harris

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Brendan Michael Harris

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[edit] Biographical Information

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Brendan Harris is a middle infielder who has played in the majors since 2004 with five different major league franchises in six cities. He has moved around a lot in the major and the minor leagues and might be considered a modern version of Suitcase Bob Seeds, who got his nickname because he was often moving from team to team.

Born in New York state, he went to Queensbury High School and then the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

While in high school, Harris was a star pitcher and led Queensbury to a New York state title game, which the Spartans lost.

He is one of only 11 players from the College of William and Mary to make the big leagues; in 2006 he was joined by fellow graduates Chris Ray and Bill Bray. Harris was a 3rd team All-American shortstop in 2001.

Brendan was picked by the Chicago Cubs in the 5th round of the 2001 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Billy Swoope and was in their minor league organization from 2001 to part of 2004. He appeared in 32 games in the Midwest League in 2001, hitting .274. Then in 2002, with the Daytona Cubs of the Florida State League, he posted numbers of .329/.395/.532 and made the league all-star team as a third baseman. Moved up briefly to the Double A Southern League, he slugged .547 in 13 games in 2002.

He spent 2003 in the same place, with the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx, hitting .280 with 34 doubles. The 2004 season saw him with the Iowa Cubs in Triple A, hitting .311/.353/.531 in 69 games. He made his major league debut in July 2004, appearing in 3 games. At the end of July, he was involved in a complex four-team trade that brought Nomar Garciaparra to the Chicago Cubs while Harris went to the Montreal Expos. He spent a month at their Triple A team, the Edmonton Trappers, hitting .285 with 6 home runs, and came up to the Expos for 20 games. He hit his first major league homer for the Expos at the tail end of 2004. He also became the Expos' final baserunner, earning a ninth inning walk in their final game on October 3, 2004 off Bartolome Fortunato.

In 2005, the Expos moved to Washington, DC and became the Washington Nationals. He playing most of that season for the Nats' Triple A club, the New Orleans Zephyrs, where he hit .270 with 13 home runs. He came up to the parent club for four major league games, hitting .333 with a homer and a double.

In 2006, he was in the minors with the Zephyrs again for two months, hitting .283 with 5 home runs, and was in the majors with the Nationals for 17 games, hitting .250. He was traded by the Nationals in the middle of July to the Cincinnati Reds, where he played in 8 games at the major league level, hitting .200. However, he spent most of his time with the Reds' Triple A team, the Louisville Bats, hitting .324/.384/.534 in 43 games.

[edit] Journeyman to All-Star?

Before the 2007 season, Harris was purchased from the Reds by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. St. Petersburg Times sports writer Marc Topkin, in a column published on June 24 that season opined that Harris, now a shortstop for the Devil Rays, could be a dark horse candidate for the 2007 All-Star Game: "Harris has emerged as one of the top performers at one of the league’s showcase positions," Topkin wrote before going on to list Harris' stats: "He ranks third among AL shortstops with eight home runs, fourth with a .310 average and an .843 OPS and eighth with 32 RBIs. Only Detroit's Carlos Guillen and Baltimore's injured Miguel Tejada also rank among the top eight in all four categories."

Topkin also quoted Tampa manager Joe Maddon expressing support for Harris' unlikely All-Star bid: "You look at (Harris') overall play and there’s a case to be made there," Maddon said. "Of course the name isn't glamorous, but he’s been pretty darn good." Harris failed to make the All-Star team, but did hit .286 with 12 homers and 59 RBI in 137 games as the Rays' primary shortstop that first season as a regular. What was not stated by the enthusiastic journalist was that Harris' fielding at the position was well below-average.

The re-named Tampa Bay Rays addressed their shortstop fielding problem by acquiring Jason Bartlett in a major trade with the Minnesota Twins the following off-season, and Harris was headed to yet another team, alongside OFs Delmon Young and Jason Pridie. With the Twins in 2008, Harris became a utility infielder, seeing playing at time at 2B, SS and 3B while playing in 130 games. Contrary to most utility infielders, Harris saw playing time because of his bat, not his glove, logging a .265 average in 434 at-bats. He played a similar role with the Twins in 2009, getting into 123 games with a .261 average. He got his first taste of postseason action that year, going 3 for 12 with a triple and an RBI as the Twins were swept by the New York Yankees in the ALDS. Just as he had seemed to establish himself as a useful major leaguer, Harris suffered a major setback in 2010: he hit only .157 in 43 games in Minnesota and spent a good chunk of the season with AAA Rochester, where he only hit .233 in 62 games. Danny Valencia largely took over his duties, and emerged as one of the best rookies in the American League that year, leaving Harris with no future in Minnesota. After the season, he was included in a trade to the Baltimore Orioles alongside SS J.J. Hardy in return for Brett Jacobson and Jim Hoey.

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