Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Better than Blake

The Plain Dealer reported today that the Indians are close to signing outfielder Todd Hollandsworth to a minor-league deal. Should Hollandsworth, a former Dodger, Marlin and Rockie, make the team in spring training, he will fill that all-important fourth outfielder role.
Excuse me? The fourth outfielder?
By a very quick process of elimination, he should be the team anchor in right field. Hollandsworth is probably thinking the same thing. He is a career .270 hitter whose main competition in Florida will be Casey Blake, Mr. .230 himself.
You don't think Hollandsworth is lowering himself to the ranks of minor-league contract without the possibility of a huge payoff in terms of playing time, do you?
A career .270 hitter should hit seventh in the Indians lineup, considering he has to beat out Blake, Ben Broussard and Aaron Boone to be the seventh-best hitter on Cleveland's roster.
That's kind of like having to beat out the Moroccan and Libyan bobsled teams to take seventh place at the Olympics. If you can walk on ice and pick your nose at the same time, it shouldn't be too difficult.
With any luck, Hollandsworth and recently-signed first baseman Eduardo Perez will come into spring training and take charge of their positions, eliminating any temptation for Eric Wedge to platoon -- something I detest in baseball lineups, except in very rare circumstances.
If not, the Indians will still have the same problem as last year: a bottom third of the order comprised of a mish-mash of bench players, none of whom are very productive.
We can only hope Ryan Garko arrives with the same bang that Grady Sizemore did last year.

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