By Jim Callis
August 29, 2005
Having come to the realization that they won’t advance to the postseason, the Cubs have begun looking to the future. For the second time in four days, Chicago traded an outfielder headed for free agency to a playoff contender. On Monday, Todd Hollandsworth went to the Braves for minor league righthanders Angelo Burrows and Todd Blackford. That deal came on the heels of another that sent Matt Lawton to the Yankees.
Hollandsworth, 32, doesn’t do anything exceptionally but he’s a useful fourth outfielder because his tools are average across the board. The Cubs had used him as their semi-regular left fielder in 2005, and he responded by hitting .254/.301/.388 with five homers and 35 RBIs in 107 games. He’s expected to serve as a pinch-hitter and an insurance policy for Atlanta. Hollandsworth signed a one-year deal worth $900,000 as a free agent last offseason. He’s a career .276/.333/.442 hitter with 90 homers and 365 RBIs in 1,004 games.
Burrows, 25, signed as a ninth-round pick out of a Miami high school in 1999—as an outfielder. He converted to pitching in 2004 and projects as a possible setup man. He has a low-90s fastball that tops out at 93 mph and has developed a solid changeup. His slider lags behind his other two pitches. Burrows has gone 4-3, 3.32 in 30 games this year between low Class A Rome and high Class A Myrtle Beach. He has a 40-19 strikeout-walk ratio in 41 innings, while opponents have batted .234 with one homer against him.
Blackford, 20, was a 13th-round pick from an Indiana high school last year. He throws in the low 90s and has shown a feel for a changeup, but he needs to tighten up his slurvy slider. He went 5-3, 3.17 in 12 starts at Rookie-level Danville this year, with a 30-22 K-BB ratio in 60 innings. He allowed a .219 opponent average and two homers.