The Angels are among the teams interested in free-agent infielder Josh Harrison, Jon Morosi of MLB.com tweets. They join the Nationals, Yankees, Reds, Astros, Brewers and Giants as teams that have shown interest in Harrison since the Pirates declined his club option after last season.
Harrison has picked up vast experience at both second and third base, making him a logical fit for the Angels. They’re currently set to start David Fletcher at the keystone and Zack Cozart at the hot corner in 2019, though there are concerns with both players. Cozart struggled mightily in 2018, the first season of a three-year, $38 million contract, before his campaign ended in late June on account of left shoulder surgery. Fletcher’s defense helped net him an impressive 1.9 fWAR in just 307 plate appearances, on the other hand, but as evidenced by a .275/.316/.363 line with one home run, the 24-year-old wasn’t exactly an imposing offensive presence.
Of course, while both Cozart and Fletcher come with question marks, the same is true of Harrison. He held his own at times in Pittsburgh, especially during a 4.8-fWAR campaign in 2014 and a 2.6-fWAR showing in 2017, but endured his share of down seasons as a Pirate. Just last season, the 31-year-old Harrison hit a mere .250/.293/.363 (78 wRC+) in 374 PAs and offered almost no power (eight home runs, .113 ISO).
Harrison’s 2018 offensive numbers may have taken a hit as a result of the fractured left hand he suffered in mid-April, and it’s worth noting he has been a roughly league-average hitter throughout his career. Combining Harrison’s normally competent offense with the plus defense he has shown off at both second and third, it’s no surprise plenty of teams are eyeing him on what should be an affordable, short-term deal.
By Connor Byrne