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Hollandsworthwhile? These desperate times call
2003-01-08 14:56
by Mike Carminati


These desperate times call for desperate measures, like giving Todd Hollandsworth a starting assignment. Hollandsworth was signed today by the Marlins, who have quickly supplanted Montreal as the poorest franchise in the NL East-even the worst Jeffrey Loria-owned team. The Marlins were handed his usufruct for one year at the mere sum of $1.5 M.

ESPN had the audacity to say, "His signing gives the Marlins some badly needed power from the left side." Hollandsworth slugged .463 last season in stadia with an average slugging percentage of .456 (Thanks to His ratio in Texas was particularly disturbing: .417 to .447. He was similarly low in 2000, his prior full season as a starter (.449 to .458). People look at Hollandsworth and they see his Rookie of the Year award and a couple of bloated years in Coors. What they fail to see is that he has been at best average since his rookie season and has often been much worse than average. On the Marlins that's probably good enough.

In typical Marlins fashion, the team intends to divest itself of Kevin Millar after this signing. As ESPN puts it, "He also makes outfielder Kevin Millar expendable if the Marlins find the right deal." Millar has been a pretty good player for Florida over the years. His OPS has been between 7 and 41% better than the adjusted average over his career. He hits for average (.296 career batting average), has decent power (.504 career slugging percentage), and gets on base (.367 lifetime OBP). Two years ago he had a career year, but his 2002 was pretty good, better than any year that Hollandsworth has ever had, including his rookie year. But all the Marlins see is that he has slipped slightly, he is slow, is 2 years older than Hollandsworth, and can only play the corner OF positions and first. Oh, and he is a righty bat. Some of these things have worth, but on the whole, they are not seeing the wood for the trees.

That this team feels the need to jettison a useful player that made under a million dollars last year to sign an overrated nothing for a higher price defines what the Marlins are all about. They made the right move to non-tendor the subpar Eric Owens but then replaced him with a slightly better player. His is slightly cheaper than Owens' $2.1 M salary in 2002. I guess that's the bottom line nowadays.

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