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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Giants Sign Rowand

The Giants made their first big move of the offseason Wednesday, signing Aaron Rowand to a 5 year, 60 million dollar contract to be the teams new center fielder. If you've followed the Giants closely this offseason, you could see this one coming. Rowand had a career year last season (.309, 27, 89, 105) and was a major part in the Phillies winning the NL East. I thought that Rowand was set to be overpaid this winter due to the way he played last year and to the fact that he was one of the top 3 outfielders available on a weak free agent market this winter. I really didn't want to see the Giants pursue him whatsoever. However, after seeing the terms of the deal, and comparing that to what Andruw Jones and Torii Hunter got, the Giants actually got themselves a real solid player for a decent deal. In comparison, Rowand is 2 years younger than Hunter, possesses a better career average and OPS, and he's signed at 2/3 of the price. The 5 years is a little too long, but 12 million annually for an all-star, gold glove center fielder who can hit and has just entered his prime isn't a bad deal. One of Rowand's best attributes is his all-around hustle and hard-nosed approach to the game. That is something that Giants' fans are going to notice about him right off the bat, and they're going to enjoy watching him play. There are some people who are concerned that his production was a byproduct of playing 1/2 his games Citizens Bank Park, but his home/road splits where actually very similar to each other. It's not likely that he's going to hit 27 home runs a year playing at AT&T Park(probably more around 20-25) but don't expect his production to see much of a drop-off besides that.

I have done my fair share of Sabean bashing this offseason, but I can't rip him to hard for this move. He did add another center fielder to a team full of young outfield options who should get a shot to play, but it goes a little beyond that. This offseason was working itself in a direction where the Giants were beginning to put themselves in a corner. They need offense in a bad way, probably more than any other team in baseball. Aaron Rowand was the last "impact bat" on the free agent market, and if the Giants had missed out on him they would have had to part with a Cain or Lincecum to get someone of his caliber through a trade. For those reasons, Rowand had a ton of leverage in negotiations with Giants, and they still got him for a relatively good deal. This by no means is a move that will save this team or reshape this offense, but they had to start somewhere and signing Rowand is not a bad start. The Giants did already have depth in the outfield but quantity doesn't equal quality. No Giant outfielder has the credentials or the offensive ability that Rowand brings. I also wouldn't be surprised to see the logjam in the outfield break up a little with a trade or two. There is still a lot of work to do before the team breaks for camp in February, but the team is better than it was yesterday and they now get to hang onto their 2 young studs.
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  • At 5:12 PM, Anonymous GiantROb said…

    A Roberts-Rowand-Winn outfield isn't too shabby, they should cover plenty of ground out there. They really need some corner infield help though. I would love to see them follow this signing up with a Mike Lamb deal.

  • At 5:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Rowands overrated, but I can't really argue with this signing, if it was 80 million for the 5 years like KNBR was reporting than it would have been a nightmare. 12 million a year for Rowand in this day and age is not all bad.

  • At 7:16 PM, Anonymous TehLoki said…

    God damn the Phillies, spend some damn Money!

  • At 8:03 PM, Anonymous JBill said…

    Typical Sabean move. Better than signing Hunter or Jones, yes, but did they need another outfielder? Not really.

  • At 8:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Not real excited about the move, but it does keep Lincecum and Cainn in the Orange in Black at least for another year. The team is still going to need offense next season and the rumors will start again.

  • At 12:00 AM, Anonymous Fire Sabean!!! said…

    I would have just assumed giving Davis and Lewis legitimate shots. But like it's been mentioned. It beats trading Cain or Lincecum. I still could see Lowry getting dealt for a 3rd basemen and I keep seeing Scott Rolens' name linked to the Giants.

  • At 12:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Did the Phillies even make an offer to him?

  • At 12:54 PM, Anonymous The Leff Fielder said…

    You're bananas if you think Rowand will hit 20 homers for the Giants. Not only did Rowand play in a hitters ballpark, he had tremendous protection in the lineup. The Phillies were the highest scoring team in the NL. What protection will he have with the Giants? He'll likely hit 10 homers.

    You're giving Rowand far too much credit. This was a lousy signing. My take on it: http://www.offinlefffield.com/?p=19

  • At 1:16 PM, Blogger Trevor said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • At 1:16 PM, Anonymous JuTMSY4 said…

    they did...they offered him 4 years 48 mil...with an option for 5...

  • At 1:37 PM, Anonymous JuTMSY4 said…

    Well...i've got a few thoughts on this

    1. I'm gonna miss Rowand...and you guys will like him. Good, tough player; good leader and a great guy

    For Who? - My Team, For What? To Win. - I think that says it all (Fack Watters)

    1. 5 years is a long time...

    1. His bat is extremely overrated. Aaron Rowand should not be the best batter on a team....and he just might be

    1. I'm sorry to see him go, but him being on the giants makes me feel a little better...until he's traded to the mets...ugh

  • At 2:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    solid pick-up. Now if we can just get some corner guys and get rid of a few so-so players, we can actually start the rebuilding process that started a few seasons ago. Don't touch the staff. They have proven themselves. Let's see if we can maybe put some runs on the board behind them this year.

  • At 2:41 PM, Blogger Trevor said…

    No doubt, he was helped out immensely by the Phillies offense, and the Giants don't have a Rollins, Howard, Utely or even a Pat Burrell. As far as the ballparks go, Rowand has a lot more power than Randy Winn who managed 14 playing here last year (hitting mostly left handed). AT&T isn't a bad place to hit for righties with some pop. Bengie Molina had success here last season and there is no doubt in my mind that Rowand will be around 20-25 home runs by the end of the year (if healthy). His hr count since '04 is 24, 13 (off-year), 12 (injury-shortened season) and 27 last year. His career stats tend to point more towards the 20 hr mark over the course of a full season. Again, not saying he's great, but he's now the best they have.

  • At 11:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This is by far the giants worse signing since edgardo alfonso
    The human rain dealy this guy goes thru entire check list for 40 sec before each pitch,will just fast forward every time he bats rather than waiting for a weak grounder to short. Pedro Feliz will top
    him in power numbers real disaster
    things just keep getting worse for
    bay area sports teams

  • At 9:02 AM, Anonymous The Leff Fielder said…


    Yeah, Rowand is the best they have. This would be a great signing for a team that was building for a pennant push and had one piece missing. The Giants are not such a team. The smart strategy for the Giants would be to build for the future, not the present, and by the time Lincecum and Cain are old enough to be as good as they can be, Rowand will be cashing Social Security checks, and checks from the Giants. He'll be eating salary and not contributing.

  • At 2:15 PM, Blogger Trevor said…

    The Giants aren't building around Rowand. They needed offense and they decided to sign a very solid center fielder (offensively and defensively) rather than trading Cain, Lincecum or Lowry for Alex Rios or Hideki Matsui. Nobody is expecting Rowand to be a savior, but he plays hard every day and will keep working on getting better. Comparing him to Edgardo Alfonzo is ridiculous. The Giants signed Alfonzo when he was already declining and had injury issues, plus the dude was as lazy on the baseball field as any player I've ever seen, no joke. Rowand is the anti-Alfonzo if you ask me. Any guy who will run through a wall trying to get an out can play for my team.

  • At 7:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This is a terrible signing for the Giants. Rowand is overrated both offensively and defensively. Signing Rowand has put the payroll at 88 million already and Zito is only making 14.5 million next year. He has not even hit the big years yet. Next year the Giants will spend 26.5 million on an OF of Roberts, Rowand, and Winn. That is terrible. We finally got a few contracts off the payroll and we just replace that with another overpaid average player. The farm system is a joke, the only real talent is in the low minors. We should be getting rid of these bad contracts and trying to get a few prospects. Giants should have started rebuilding this year, not adding more bad contracts.

  • At 1:44 PM, Anonymous JBill said…

    Actually with the signing, the Giants payroll is at about 60 million for next season, not including arbitration eligible players. Add those guys in, and it's closer to 75-80. They still have some room to work with this season.

  • At 9:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm holding off all judgment on this move until Sabean is completely done for the off-season. If an outfielder is not traded, I'd be surprised.

  • At 6:48 AM, Blogger Robert said…

    Whatever happened to that trade for the Red's 3B/SS Keppinger? Sanchez and a minor leaguer for a good young 3B who can hit (322 last year) would make a ton of sense. It probably made too much sense.

  • At 10:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    JBILL...the team has already said deffered payments and buy outs would be factored into the payroll. That is why the payroll is already at 88 million.


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