The motivation for any team is the win. Plain, simple, end of story. Nothing else in the world of sports matters. For awhile, the past few days, many in the greater Cincinnati area wondered if the Reds would make the right financial decision or the right decision. And the two, by the way, never intersected in this equation.
Monday, the Reds made the right call and did the right thing.
There was no scenario that made sense in the return of Miguel Cairo from his disabled list that involved Todd Frazier being sent to the minors. Frazier has been a reliable bat and a surprisingly good glove since he was called up from AAA two weeks ago. He’s had seven hits in 18 at bats, hitting .389. More impressive, four of those hits came in five pinch hit appearances, with Frazier walking in another pinch hit at bat. No one with those numbers should have been asked to ‘take the fall’ for a player who was three for 35 at bats. And that’s exactly what Willie Harris was hitting. Monday, the Reds sent Harris to the minors, outrighted him directly to AAA Louisville to make room for Cairo. And Frazier got to stay.
I’m sure Willie Harris can play for some Major League Baseball team. But he had no business being on the one in Cincinnati. The Reds elected to keep Frazier on the roster at the end of spring training, opting to send Frazier to AAA. Frazier had been the Reds best hitter in Arizona this past Spring. Harris was about what he was in his 35 big league at bats: not good. The only reason why Harris made the club coming out of Spring was because he was a left handed hitter. And the Reds, through their own doing, had no other option hitting from that side of the plate than Harris. It should never have been the tie breaker in the decision whether or not to keep Frazier. If having a left handed bat was that important, than Walt Jocketty should have found a better player than Harris this past winter. If it was that important, Dusty Baker should have sent Frazier up to hit left handed (he’s a natural righty, because Frazier batting left handed was better than anything Harris offered.
The wrong thing to do would have been opting to keep Harris (they’re paying him a big league salary) and let money trump reason. Teams that don’t know how to win, or don’t want to win would choose that road. The Reds didn’t. More than keeping a player who deserved to remain in the Majors, the fact that the Reds chose wisely is the most encouraging thing.