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What Willie Thinks

Only one player on Washington's current roster has spent time as a teammate of Mark Teixeira's. That's Willie Harris -- newly signed to a two-year, $3 million deal. Today I interrupted his afternoon of fishing in Cairo, Ga. (current temperature: 78 degrees) to talk a little Tex.

Q: As a player, what is the feeling you get watching your team pursue such a big free agent - something it's never done before?

WH: I mean, that's a big move, and it definitely shows the rest of the players -- everybody else in the clubhouse, everybody else in the organization -- that it's time for a change. Whether we get Tex or not, just trying to get him shows everybody else in the clubhouse that it's time to win. So it's a big move for our organization either way, and God knows, I hope Tex comes here.

Q: So you played with him for about half of a season [in Atlanta in '07]. What were your impressions?

WH: Well, as a player my impression of him was pretty much the same as everybody else's. He walked in and it was like, 'Wow, who is this guy?' As a player, he jokes around a little, but he's real quiet. He won't approach you as far as things go baseball-wise. I don't think he's the guy who will just come up and give you his input. But if you go to him, ask him questions, ask what he's thinking in certain situations, he'll tell you what works for him. That's what I always did. I try to pick the brains of the best.

Q: You always hear him described as a professional. Business-like.

WH: Definitely businesslike. A professional, big-time. Everything he does, the way he carries himself, it almost reminds me of a guy like Aaron Boone. Just professionals. And I think he'd help a lot in our clubhouse with all the young guys we have.

Q: Do you keep up pretty religiously with the offseason comings and goings?

WH: Oh, I'm all over it. Every night. Every night I'm on the Web checking out what's around the league and see who's going where. I like knowing right away what's happening -- the acquisitions that the Mets have made with KRod and Putzy, all that. I like to know who I'll be facing next year. I keep up with it. Furcal, Tex... I think as a player staying [aware] helps you prepare.

By Chico Harlan  |  December 20, 2008; 3:00 PM ET
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Next: Nats, Cabrera Agree To Deal


Chico - Nice work, thanks. Always interesting to hear what the players think about other players / possible team-mates.

Posted by: BinM | December 20, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to Chico for the weekend post (and to Willie for picking up the phone - was he getting skunked or did he interrupt a productive fishing session?). Interesting idea to hear Willie's point of view (and hearing how he prepares and stays aware of goings on in the offseason just reinforces his Super-Willie-ness for me ;-)).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 20, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Chico, love this stuff. I like Harris all the more knowing that he stays up on hot-stove league moves. Especially, that he wants to know because it affects who he faces. Great ball player that guy, looking forward to watching him for two more seasons.

Posted by: Avar | December 20, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse


In reference to your comment in the previous thread - I think that is just our perception (that Boras represents the best financial interests of his client, perhaps at the expense of other things).

The thing is, the only metric by which the public understands a player's contract is by the dollar value. Most player contracts are either too complicated or too boring to be represented adequately in the media... so it boils down to how many dollars over how many years. As an example, I am sure that Boras could get more raw dollars without the opt-outs, etc.

The other thing is that most of the non-financial interests that a player has are probably small in magnitude, compared to the dollars... but I suspect that Boras would fight just as hard for the semi-tangibles as he would for the dollars...if that is what his client is asking for... but he is going to get the maximum dollars, too.

Posted by: wigi | December 20, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

wigi: Any smart agent will fight as hard (if not harder) for the semi-tangible (non-performance) features in a contract. That's where he gets his "kicker" - an opportunity for an additional contract somewhere down the road.

Posted by: BinM | December 20, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Nats get Daniel Cabrera according to

Posted by: Section314 | December 20, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

I look forward to seeing what The Saint can do with Cabrera. I am thinking it could be most impressive.

Posted by: Section506 | December 20, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

So then the rotation looks like this?

It may be pretty dismal by major league standards but compared with previous years The Saint is going to be dancing into spring training twirling a cane and singing a jaunty show tune.

Posted by: soundbloke | December 20, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

no way that Cabrera is higher in the rotation than Balester.

Cabrera is 5th at best at this point in his career.

Posted by: MrMadison | December 20, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

In other news says Dunn favours playing with the Cubs. Bowden needs to get on that because he could be lost before Teix signs with whoever...

Posted by: soundbloke | December 20, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Cabrera's a little bit like Hanrahan - a hard thrower with good stuff who struggles to find the plate. I half wonder whether he'd be better off as a closer. Anyway, the Saint's emphasis on attacking hitters and his seeming patience with guys should help Cabrera. Of course the much over-hyped Mazzone had no luck with Danny C. Part of that might have been that Leo always struck me as a crusty old jerk who was fine only with polished veterans like Maddux and Galvine. I guess we'll see. All in all, he's worth a shot.


Posted by: db423 | December 20, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I look forward to seeing what The Saint can do with Cabrera. I am thinking it could be most impressive.

Posted by: Section506 | December 20, 2008 4:25 PM


Thanks for the laugh.

Posted by: hollywoodhogan420 | December 20, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Cabrera - really? Is that a step in a positive direction? he brings nothing to this team excepting another "head-case" for St.Clair to work with.
He can't give the pups in the rotaion anything except how to sulk on the bench - they already know how to throw 90+ pitches over 5 innings & lose.
IMO, not a good signing, but we'll see.

Posted by: BinM | December 20, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Cabrera fits the profile for what this team needs short-term: someone to take a roster spot until the real players we want to put on the field are ready. Even if St. Clair helps things click for him (a la, Tim Redding) he'll be either overpriced or blocking more serious talent during the Decade of Dominance.

Dunn SHOULD NOT be a priority over Teixeira. Again (and again, and again), Adam Dunn SERVES NO PURPOSE on this team, other than to act as a spoonful of sugar for the fans. Teixeira will still be contributing to the team he's on in five years, because he can hit for average and play defense, even while his power begins to wane. Dunn contributes nothing besides his bop, and when that starts declining contributes nothing -- right when we'll need someone at first who contributes a lot.

Posted by: Section506 | December 20, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

@sound: Based on current information, the opening-day rotation would look like...
#1 - Olson (LHP)
#2 - Cabrera (RHP)
#3 - Lannan (LHP)
#4/#5 - Hill (RHP)/ Bergmann (RHP)/ Balestar (RHP).

Hoping for better.

Posted by: BinM | December 20, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse


I don't think Dunn would ever be considered a priority over Teixeira. It may come down to who's "most signable" to fill a need (LH bat w/power, 1B experience preferred).

Posted by: BinM | December 20, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Harlan (if you're out there) - If you could, please look into & report on the off-season status (health) for players such as Shaun Hill, Wily Mo Pena, Matt Chico, et al. Also, come February & March, some interviews / "non-paper" stuff with some of the MiL guys in SP would be cool as well.
It would give the faithful in NJ a taste of what may come...

Posted by: BinM | December 20, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

New post (if anybody cares).

Posted by: BinM | December 20, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Carrying backward (can I do that?):

Great, now I can't get the Troggs song out of my head. Maybe Charlie Sheen could do a MASN promo this spring. I trust in the Saint.

In other news, Lyle Spencer and Biff Bobson have an interesting spin on "you know who."

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 20, 2008 10:50 PM | Report abuse

No doubt, we've all seen Cabrera pitch, and the raw talent surely is there, but he's had five years to get it together yet hasn't done it. I wouldn't bet on him in the rotation -- Bergmann, for goodness sake, has had better stretches of success.

Posted by: nats24 | December 21, 2008 1:09 AM | Report abuse

When are they going to schedule "Willie Harris Appreciation Day"?

I'll buy the first ticket.

Posted by: Sec_319 | December 22, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

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