Despite a promising spring with the Philadelphia Phillies, he was released at the end of Spring Training 2.0. Harrison was then quickly snapped up by the Nats just a few days later.
“You never know where you’re going to end up in this game, and I’m blessed,” Harrison said during the final series of the 2020 season. “I was fortunate enough to find a situation like this when it didn’t work out with Philly, and I honestly couldn’t ask for a better place, a better group of guys.
“Guys have been banged up, but at the end of day, guys are showing up, playing, and at the end of the day that’s all you can ask for, is that the guy next to you gives all they got.
“As I mentioned, man, I’m blessed, very fortunate to be here and I don’t take it lightly.”
In 33 games with the Nationals, Harrison slashed .278/.352/.418 and a 105 OPS+ with three home runs and 14 RBIs while playing first, second, and third base, as well as the corner outfield spots as a solid utility option.
But he didn’t just bring solid value on the field, he was also a popular figure in the clubhouse as he embedded himself into the group in Washington. Even though the team stumbled during the 60-game schedule, Harrison was always energetic in the dugout.
Manager Dave Martinez faced off against Harrison numerous times when they were with the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates respectively. So when the opportunity came up to bring Harrison in, the skipper was all for it given his experience playing against him.
“I’ve known him for many years,” Martinez explained. “We’ve crossed paths and we always talked, and I’ve always told him, hey, if I ever get a manager’s job here, you’re the kind of player I love. You bring that energy every day, you play multiple positions, you can hit everywhere in the lineup. I love those kind of guys.
“[GM Mike Rizzo] and I talked, he was free, we were able to get him here, and he’s just as advertised. He’s fun to be around, he understands the game, he’s a true constant every single day, you never have to tell him to be ready. He’s always ready, no matter what. He’s always ready for anything, any situation.”
It’s not one of the biggest needs for the Nationals this season as they hope to bounce back from a disappointing season, but bringing back a solid veteran clubhouse presence for little money was almost a no-brainer for Rizzo and the front office.