The Cubs re-signed Todd Hollandsworth to a one-year deal. The contract amount has yet to be disclosed, but many in Cubsland will be excited to see him back in a Cubs uniform next season. I personally thought that Todd’s absence during the second half of 2004 was a big reason the Cubs weren’t able to make the postseason, and many readers thought so as well. What just a few more clutch pinch hits in those one-run games might have meant…
An aside…when I read the Cubs press release, it stated the following:
Prior to going on the DL, he was the team’s most effective pinch hitter.
I misread it as:
Prior is going on the DL, he was the team’s most effective pinch hitter.
and almost choked on my chewing gum.
Both Todd Hollandsworth and Todd Walker were meant to be bench players in 2004, but they filled in as position players when Sosa and Grudzielanek spent time on the DL. I took a look at their splits and found how they performed in their various roles:
Playing Outfield – .261 AVG / .333 OBP / .414 SLG (.747 OPS)
Designated Hitter .500 AVG / .538 OBP / 1.000 SLG (1.538 OPS!)
Pinch Hitter – .563 AVG / .611 OBP / 1.063 SLG (1.674 OPS!)
Pinch Hitter – .194 AVG / .278 OBP / .194 SLG / (.472 OPS)
Second Baseman – .281 AVG / .359 OBP / .494 SLG / (.853 OPS)
It seems pretty clear from these numbers that Walker didn’t fit into the bench role too well (just 6 for 31) but thrived when he was the every day second baseman. On the flip side, Hollandsworth hit fairly respectably as a position player, but just creamed the ball when coming off the bench. While I wouldn’t be at all disappointed with having Hollandsworth be the starting left fielder or splitting time with Dubois, it seems obvious that he’s a much more valuable player when he doesn’t have to run the field.
UPDATE: It’s one year, $900,000. Cheaper than last year! I guess we get the Damaged Shinbone Discount.