ESPNews reports the San Francisco Giants have signed free-agent OF Aaron Rowand (Philadelphia Phillies) to a five-year deal. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Rowand was one of the hot names going into free agency, and there were several teams interested in his services. This past season, Rowand had a .309 batting average with 27 home runs and 89 runs batted in while playing in 161 games. The 30-year-old also had an excellent season defensively. He won a Gold Glove Award after only making two errors in center field for the Phillies.
The Giants struggled to score runs last season. They only scored 683 runs, which was only ahead of the Washington Nationals for the worst total in baseball. Their run total may take an even bigger hit because of the loss of outfielder Barry Bonds, perhaps the only feared bat in the Giants' 2007 lineup. Bonds was fourth on the team in RBI, with 66 in 126 games.
Rowand will likely become the team's everyday center fielder, with outfielder Randy Winn in right field and either outfielder Rajai Davis or, more likely, outfielder Dave Roberts in left field. Davis was expected to challenge Roberts for the starting job in center, but the signing of Rowand obviously negates the need for that battle. The team has also been linked to possible deals for several outfielders. Reports have had the Giants interested in Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Alex Rios and New York Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui, but no deal has been completed as of yet. The addition of Rowand may put those pursuits to bed, too.
From a fantasy perspective, Rowand's signing with the Giants hurts his value. Rowand went from one of the best teams in runs scored, the Phillies (892, second in the majors), to one of the worst teams, the Giants. The loss of Bonds means little protection for Rowand, who, at 30, has never been the centerpiece of any team's lineup. However, if the Giants were able to acquire other pieces, it could certainly help Rowand's value in the upcoming season.
About Tim Piotrowski
Piotrowski has been a Hot Off the Wire analyst since 2007.
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