Rowand signs 5 yr $60M deal with Giants

December 12, 2007 at 4:00 pm 12 comments

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SAN FRANCISCO — Aaron Rowand wanted some longterm stability, and so did the San Francisco Giants.

Rowand agreed to a $60 million, five-year contract with the Giants on Wednesday, giving the club a center fielder without having to trade pitchers Matt Cain or Tim Lincecum.

The 30-year-old Rowand is expected to bat fifth for San Francisco after spending the past two seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies. Before that, he helped the Chicago White Sox win the 2005 World Series.

“Bottom line, I wanted to get in a spot where I would be longterm,” said Rowand, who noted he weighed four or five similar multiyear offers. “In this day of free agency, that’s not commonplace. That’s really the thing I was looking forward to most.”

He is coming off his best season yet, earning his first Gold Glove award and All-Star selection while helping the Phillies to the NL East title. Rowand batted .309 with 27 home runs and career bests of 89 RBIs, 105 runs, 189 hits, 45 doubles in 161 games.

General manager Brian Sabean repeatedly said he hoped to hold onto Cain and Lincecum, but being a last-place team it was his responsibility to be open-minded and listen.

“With this move, we will no longer listen to any offers for Cain and Lincecum,” Sabean said. “We know the value of both individuals believe me, maybe more so now that we’ve gone through this exercise. They might be the hottest two names in baseball.”

While manager Bruce Bochy had said Rajai Davis would get a chance to earn the job come spring training, Rowand was brought in to provide a consistent, hard-nosed presence in that position. That means Dave Roberts likely will shift from center to left field to replace departed home run king Barry Bonds, Randy Winn will stay put in right while Davis and some of the other young outfielders share time in a reserve role. That is, if the Giants don’t try to deal them — something Sabean said is a possibility.

Bochy recently met with Rowand during a trip to Las Vegas, where the outfielder lives during the offseason.

“I said I wanted to change the culture of the clubhouse and get back to the warrior mentality and play the game hard for nine innings,” Bochy said. “Aaron’s the type of player who can do that. He’s the type of player who can hold everyone accountable.”

The Giants haven’t reached the playoffs since 2003. They re-signed 11-time Gold Glove shortstop Omar Vizquel last month, but still have a hole to fill at third and possibly first. If the Giants don’t bring back Pedro Feliz at third, Kevin Frandsen or Rich Aurilia might wind up playing that spot.

Sabean said San Francisco will speak to Feliz soon, but the team doesn’t plan to give him a three-year deal.

“We still have to address what have to do at third base,” Sabean said. “We’ll wade through what the possibilities are. We’re not shutting it off.”

The Dodgers (82-80) and Giants (71-91) brought up the rear in the NL West for just the second time since division play began in 1969.

When evaluating Rowand over the other available center fielders, Sabean said he met with his staff and checked off the many boxes where Rowand could help the club.

“Then it was just a matter of striking a chord with a contract,” Sabean said. “He’s a winning player. It’s a pleasure he’s coming to our organization. The timing is great. It will allow us to do other business without busting up our pitching.”

Rowand said he believes the Giants will contend in the much-improved division. One thing is certain, many of his new fans will remember Rowand for his hard collision with the wall during May 2006 — a game in Philadelphia against the New York Mets — that left him with a broken nose and broken bones around his left eye.

Rowand said being known as a gritty player is the utmost of compliments.

“Hopefully when I’m done playing this game, that’s what I’ll be remembered for,” Rowand said.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  December 12, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    The Giants got a good CFer but one that is not worth $12M per season. Rowand banked off his stellar 2007 season. The Giants also have so many holes to fill that this signing doesn’t improve them a ton.

  • 2. Erik  |  December 12, 2007 at 6:51 pm

    Rowand is a hard nosed player and a gamer. I like his style of play… However I think he is going to hate his decision. I don’t think he is worth the 12mil per year either but at least you know he’ll hustle for you.

    The Giants needed to plug this whole and they do have a speedy OF if it is Randy Winn, Rowand and Dave Roberts.

    Giants will finish last for a # of years… They will most likely have to deal Cain and Lincecum to get anywhere.

  • 3. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  December 12, 2007 at 7:11 pm

    They have aging guys at a lot of positions and AAAA guys at other positions. They need to rebuild the farm system and make good free agent signings not dumb ones like this. This is Brian Sabean trying to do what he can to win in the last year of his contract.

  • 4. Erik  |  December 13, 2007 at 2:58 am

    Now Pitching is the strength of the Giants. Cain and Lincecum followed by Zito, Lowry and the #5 starter is escaping me at the moment.Hennessey and walker did a fine job after sending Benitez his walking papers. If I were the giants I would most certainly have to resign Feliz and possibly make a trade with Seattle for Richie Sexson package. Maybe send a few relievers and a prospect.

    Giants should lose plenty of games in 2008 probably even chase the record.

  • 5. Charlie Nehl  |  December 13, 2007 at 9:55 am

    It’s a decent move, but as stated before he’s really just cashing in on his career year last season. I wouldn’t mind him trollin’ the outfield of wrigley, because I really like his hard nosed attitude. I think with the Giants lineup, he’s going to be expected to drive in a lot of runs, which I don’t see him doing that consistantly. Time will tell. The Giant’s do have a lot of extra money to spend with no Barry Bonds.

  • 6. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  December 13, 2007 at 10:17 am

    Good call on him being relied upon to drive in runs. That’s not his game at all. But, RBI come with the batting order not so much the player. Jay Gibbons drove in 100 before, how about Rico Brogna.

  • 7. Aaron Boynton  |  December 13, 2007 at 9:13 pm

    Note to Phillies management: slam head on brick wall. You get rid of Bourne and let Rowand walk, but you still keep Tad Iguchi for some reason. Why not trade him? Who is playing outfield now?

  • 8. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  December 13, 2007 at 9:23 pm

    I thought Iguchi signed with the Pads?

    The Phillies OF is:
    Burrell – LF
    Victorino – CF
    Werth – RF

    I kinda like the offensive potential of that OF. Bourn is a 4th OF for me and Werth can put up numbers like Rowand will in SF.

  • 9. Erik  |  December 13, 2007 at 10:03 pm

    Iguchi went to the Padres was offered arbitration which was declined.

    Victorino is a better CFer than Rfer anyway … he doesn’t have the power numbers but can go get it. Werth is a part time player. Burrell will be gone if any team would take him.

  • 10. Aaron Boynton  |  December 13, 2007 at 10:16 pm

    Oh, my mistake in not seeing the Iguchi signing in San DIAGO.

    Burrell was one of the reasons they were even still in it. He played a full good season for the first time in forever.

  • 11. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  December 13, 2007 at 10:22 pm

    Burrell has learned how to lay off the breaking ball more than ever and it showed in his BB/K rate last year. If he continues that he should be very good in 2008.

  • 12. Erik  |  December 18, 2007 at 2:57 am

    Burrell reminds me of Dave Kingman with a higher average. He is a Met Killer.


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