SAN FRANCISCO -- Aaron Rowand agreed to a $60 million, five-year contract with the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday, giving the club the starting center fielder it sought this winter.
The 30-year-old Rowand is expected to bat fifth for San Francisco after spending the last two seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies.
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. He batted .309 with 27 home runs and career bests of 89 RBIs, 105 runs, 189 hits, 45 doubles in 161 games.
While manager Bruce Bochy had said Rajai Davis would get a chance to earn the job come spring training, Rowand was brought in to start in center. 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.
"Aaron is an all-around player who is coming into his prime and helps us check off two boxes -- an extremely talented defensive center fielder and a middle of the order presence," general manager Brian Sabean said. "His ability in center field definitely plays to our ballpark and will help provide more stability to our pitching staff."
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.
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.
So what can we say about Mr. Rowand? He may have entered his prime last year, and hopefully will continue do hit as well in the next few years. He's 30 years old. He his .309 last year, but more importantly managed a .374 OBP, which is basically tops on our team. His SLG of .515 isn't bad, and even is his 27 HRs dip at AT&T Park and the rest of the pitchers parks in the NL west, he's good for a ton of doubles. He's also an above-average defensive OF, with the skills to handle the SF outfield.
I like the signing. He didn't cost us any young players via a trade, he can hit third, he brings his glove to the ballpark and I've never heard anything negative about his attitude.
$60 million for 5 years is a bit pricey, but if you consider that the Giants will likely need that long just to rebuild, money really isn't a major issue. It's like Zito... he may cost too much, but hey, who's he taking playing time away from and how would his money be better spent? By overpaying another guy in this horrible market?