Cincinnati Reds: Willie Harris Needs to Be Released

Dan Allen@@DanVAllenCorrespondent IIApril 22, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 20:   Willie Harris #9 of the Cincinnati Reds stands on second base after hitting a leadoff double during the sixth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on April 20, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)
Brian Kersey/Getty Images

Following a close win at Wrigley Field on Sunday afternoon, it has become clear that the Cincinnati Reds need to make several changes if they are going to keep winning. One of those changes is to develop consistency in all aspects of the game.

Another of those changes is to cut Willie Harris immediately.

Harris, who is pegged as a utility man, was signed in the offseason and made the team as a non-roster invitee out of spring training. It has already been argued by fans that Cincinnati should have kept up-and-comer Todd Frazier over the veteran Harris when roster cuts happened prior to Opening Day, but it becomes clearer as Harris gets more playing time that he is not deserving of a roster spot.

Entering Sunday's series finale against the Chicago Cubs, Harris was batting a miserable .087 through 23 at-bats. Following Sunday's horrific performance, where Harris went hit-less in three at-bats, his batting average is down to .077.

One of Harris' outs came in the form of a poorly placed bunt right back to the pitcher that cost Cincinnati a run at the plate. Outfielder Jay Bruce was caught at the plate as Harris failed to properly execute a sacrifice bunt.

Harris quickly followed up the blown bunt by getting thrown out attempting to steal second base only a few pitches later.

Fast-forward to the bottom of the sixth inning. Harris booted a ground ball off the bat of Blake Dewitt for his first error of the season in only his fourth start.

Harris would later be replaced by pinch-hitter Wilson Valdez, who took over second base duties for the remainder of the game. Valdez is a much better fielder and has been hitting better even at a poor .182 clip prior to Sunday's game. After a single in the ninth inning, that average is now at an improved .217.

Reds fans everywhere are wondering why Harris is getting playing time when the more capable Valdez sits on the bench and Frazier waits in the wings. Frazier is also a better hitter and solid fielder at several positions.

Cincinnati Enquirer beat reporter John Fay was asked the same, and via twitter responded that Frazier played poorly at second base in the minor leagues.

Still, the reason Harris draws starts over Valdez is brought into question. Maybe Dusty Baker knows something everybody else doesn't.

More likely Baker and GM Walt Jocketty are making a huge mistake keeping Harris on the roster.