Relief pitcher Will Harris is joining the Washington Nationals after they beat him and the Houston Astros in Game 7 of the World Series.
Harris and the Nationals have agreed to a $24 million, three-year contract, the team announced Friday.
The 35-year-old right-hander dominated with Houston for much of the postseason, starting October with nine consecutive scoreless innings. The Nationals finally got to him late in the World Series, and Harris allowed Howie Kendrick’s go-ahead home run in Game 7.
Washington went on to win its first World Series. Harris was stuck with the loss.
“There’s no bitterness or anything like that from my end other than: Would I have liked it to go a different way? I mean, of course,” Harris said. “But there’s a lot of moments in my career I wish had gone a different way.”
Harris acknowledged feeling uneasy when the Nationals first approached him.
“That’s the first Game 7 World Series homer I’ve ever given up and I plan on it being the last,” he said. “So didn’t really know how to feel about it and how I felt about the Nationals.
“It didn’t take me very long,” he added. “It took me a little while, thinking about it. I was like, ‘Look, man, there’s a lot of baseball left to play.’ And I’m looking forward to doing it in an organization that I feel really comfortable being a part of.”
The right-handed Harris had a 1.50 ERA in 68 games for the Astros last season. He had been with Houston since 2015 and was an All-Star in 2016.
Harris will try to bolster a bullpen that was among the worst in baseball last season. Nationals relievers blew 29 saves and had a 5.68 ERA, both worst in the NL. Harris is likely to slot behind closer Sean Doolittle as the team’s top setup man.
Harris filled a number of roles during his time in Houston, including as a specialist against left-handed hitters — unusual for a right-handed pitcher, but a crucial strength as Major League Baseball adopts a three-batter minimum for pitchers heading into the 2020 season.
He has no preference regarding his place in the pecking order. He was more concerned with joining another title contender.
“A team that’s coming off a World Series championship is definitely going to check all those boxes,” he said.
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