A few transactions to write about today. Let's start with the trade the Cubs made, dealing Todd Hollandsworth to the Braves in exchange for minor league pitchers Todd Blackford and Angelo Burrows. What's that? Do I hear a table coming?
Hollandsworth is always good for tricking you into thinking he's useful. Hollandsworth seems to be more injured the more effective he is, so when he isn't hurt he downright sucks. Let's take a look at his splits to see if there is anything substantial he can bring to the Braves. From 2002-2004 he hit .286/.351/.481 against righthanders, but this year has only hit .251/.294/.385 against them. He may serve useful in a platoon role against righties, but the Braves leftfielder, Kelly Johnson, is also a lefty. He has fared better against lefties than righties this year, but with his plus defense (Rate2 of 114 to go along with a better line than Hollandsworth) he has more value. Francouer has secured his spot in right, and Andruw Jones is working on securing a plaque in Cooperstown, so with Ryan Langerhans (another lefty who cannot seem to hit righties) already patrolling the bench and corner spots, it appears as if Todd is simply warming the bench just incase. Barring injury, I wouldn't expect him on the playoff roster.
As for the players given up for him, let's take a look at their lines.
Blackford is only 20, so its tough to see what he could become. Burrows is already 25 and only in High-A, so this is more of a warm body being included in a deal. Good move for the Cubs though, picking up potential in exchange for spare parts.
Chad Harville was claimed off of waivers by the Red Sox last night. Harville is a decent enough pitcher (as in, he is better than Mike Remlinger just was in Boston) so as long as his introduction doesn't resemble that of Remlinger's, he should fit into Boston's plans. He needs to walk a few less batters (33/24 K/BB, as opposed to 46/26 last season). He walks too many batters, and he gives up far too many homeruns (1.36 HR/9 in 2004; 1.65 this year, eek) so his stay might also be short, especially if Craig Hansen gets called up and has a shot at the playoff roster before September.
Mark Bellhorn is now a Yankee. This is not as big a deal as I'm afraid some Sox fans might make it, but I am interested in what this means for New York. Robinson Cano is not really all that special at this point. There was a lot of noise being made to have him anointed savior and Rookie of the Year when he was first succeeding, but now he seems to have had a dip in production again. Now at .270/.300/.402, with a Rate2 of 99, Cano does not inspire much confidence at second. Let's compare the two using NRAA.
Cano appears to be the better player, but if Bellhorn starts to hit like he was projected to this season over the next month (a change of scenery and a different media, albeit New York's might help) then he will have much more value than Cano. A .260/.360/.400 line would be of use, and his defense is better right now than Cano's. I think there might have been too much pressure for Bellhorn to succeed in Boston this year once he slumped. Relentless media, the Graffanino trade, and playing alongside Dustin Pedroia probably did not help Bellhorn feel all that inspired. Atleast in New York, where the team is getting desperate and doing the unthinkable (benching established players) there is no reason to think he could not get a fresh start. Hitting .216 he had a higher OBP than Cano by .031. Almost scary.
Steve Trachsel could be going to Boston (why?) and the Indians are attempting to get Todd Walker to play second base for them. I'll be back with more updates if necessary.
[editor's note, by Richard B. Wade]