Thursday, June 24, 2010

Harris to AAA - It's About Time

If you haven't heard, after today's 5-0 loss to the Brewers, the Twins sent Brendan Harris to AAA. Many of us have been clamoring for this for the bulk of the season - it only took 120 plate appearances of .157/.233/.213 baseball (that's an utterly atrocious .211 wOBA) with 1 HR and 4 RBI for management to realize that something needed to change. Sure, he's got a .188 BABIP, which is pretty unlucky, but he's hitting line drives at a paltry 15.1% clip and has walked only 9 times with 23 strikeouts. All of this equates to a season that has been worth -0.8 WAR thus far. Not good.

Harris hasn't always been this bad, but he's never come close to matching his productivity during his last season with Tampa in 2007, in which he hit a very serviceable .286/.343/.434 (.341 wOBA) with 12 HR, providing 2.3 WAR. As his defense is undoubtedly substandard, getting it done with the bat is the only reason to keep him around, and he certainly wasn't doing that. Maybe this move should have been made a long time ago, but at least the Twins have finally realized that Harris had become a "vortex of suck" both at the plate and in the field.

So who takes his spot on the 25-man roster? Enter Jason Repko. The Twins signed the 29-year-old outfielder from the Dodgers organization in April of this year, where he had spent eleven seasons as a once highly-touted, oft-injured prospect who failed to make much of an impact at the major-league level. His best shot at the majors came in 2006 when he began the year as a fourth outfielder in LA, but he suffered a severe ankle sprain and missed the bulk of the season. In 2007, he tore his hamstring and missed the entire season, and got no more than a handful of at-bats for the Dodgers in 2008 and 2009. And that's actually not the worst of it - check out this article for further description of what this guy has gone through.

Repko owns a career .274/.336/.433 line in the minors, and the Twins must have figured he was worth a shot after hitting .281/.368/.412 with 10 SB and 6 HR in 223 plate appearances for the Red Wings. Repko has never hit for spectacular average or power, but he has at least a little pop and possesses decent speed and defensive abilities. He'll provide a right-handed bench bat and will be able to come in as a defensive replacement, as well as playing center when Span needs a break. He likely won't be an impact player, but we may as well see what he can do until Hardy returns, at least.

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