Now that Aaron Rowand is gone from the clubhouse, and Murph has done a proper censing to rid the space of veteran spirits, we can look back on the career of Aaron Rowand as a gritty, and gutty, San Francisco Giant.
Well, that was originally my plan before I set out to write this post, but then I reconsidered: why burn 1,000 words on Aaron Rowand when everyone already knows what I’m going to say. I’ll try to keep this short: Rowand’s time as a Giant was disappointing. I gave the Tejada deal a tepid approval in the offseason because, hey, positional scarcity, but Rowand was always different.
Tejada was coming off a season where he was roughly 10% below average for a hitter in the National League. For a guy that – theoretically – could fake defense at SS it wasn’t the worst idea in the world. But sometimes veterans go splat and Tejada splatted all over the place.
Rowand’s time with the Giants is another can of worms entirely. He was coming off a career year in Philadelphia (130 OPS+) in 2007 and the Giants were hoping they could add a middle-of-the-order bat to the lineup. I still believe that, for the Giants, a major draw for Aaron Rowand was his good guy gamer intangibles – which, I found funny that at the end of his Giants career, Rowand wasn’t really living up to the “good clubhouse guy” persona that he had supposedly crafted in Chicago and Philadelphia. Which again seems to poke holes in the theory of a good clubhouse player. Instead of 2007 Rowand, the Giants got the 87 OPS+ version over four seasons. Rowand has been particularly bad over his past two seasons, hitting a combined .231/.277/.363 (76 OPS+) in 703 plate appearances. He swung more often, made less contact, and refused to take walks.
Or, in other words, this happened:
Very few hitters can survive with a BB/K ratio that bad.
Now that Aaron Rowand is no longer a Giant, the team will surely win the NL West and ruthlessly advance to the World Series. It’s probably not that simple because Rowand was more of a 4th outfielder on the team, but it’s nice that the Giants weren’t afraid to cut out deadwood on the roster. Tejada’s DFA’ing isn’t as big of a deal, other than than the cathartic release that I and many other fans felt.
I still find it incredible that a guy with such a poor hitting approach accrued 200 PAs at the leadoff spot in 2011 — more than any other batting order position. So long Rowand, and thanks for all the bat-waggling