Tag: Aaron Rowand

San Francisco Giants: The Terrifying Truth About Hunter Pence

When the San Francisco Giants acquired Hunter Pence just before this year’s trade deadline, they took the first step toward repeating a horrible mistake. The second step of that process is already looking likely: there’s talk of signing Pence to a long-term deal.

The mistake referred to is sitting on his couch somewhere, still collecting the balance of a $60 million contract he signed with the Giants in December of 2007. That’s right, I’m talking about Aaron Rowand.

The similarities between Rowand and Pence are striking, and the Giants don’t seem to recognize them. If they can’t see that they’ve got Rowand 2.0 in right field, they’re doomed to repeat the same egregious error they made by giving Rowand $12 million a year.

It’s not just because both Pence and Rowand are former Phillies. And it’s not just because Pence and Rowand each joined the Giants a year removed from their best seasons.

The problem is pretty simple: the Giants don’t seem to see Pence and Rowand are virtually the same player.

Looking at Pence’s four most recent seasons (including this one) before becoming a Giant, his average OPS is .810. That’s a pretty good figure, but keep in mind that it could be artificially inflated by playing in Houston and Philadelphia, both hitter’s parks.

Now look at Rowand’s last four full seasons before becoming a Giant. In those years (two with the White Sox and two with the Phillies), Rowand’s average OPS was .818—slightly better than Pence’s. Rowand’s OPS also benefited from playing in hitter-friendly environments in Chicago and Philadelphia.

In terms of walk and strikeout rates for the four-year periods we’re comparing, Pence and Rowand are again extremely similar. Rowand struck out about 17 percent of the time, which is also true for Pence. Pence walked about two percent more often than Rowand in that span.

Need more evidence? How about WAR? In the four seasons from 2004 to 2007, Rowand was worth 17.5 wins above replacement. Since 2009, including his projected WAR of just 1.7 this year, Pence will have been worth just 13.6.

And that’s where things get ugly. The comparison between Pence and Rowand is no longer one that shows they’re similar. Now, we can look at the simplest data and know that Pence’s four most recent pre-Giant years have actually been worse than Rowand’s.

So, why are the Giants enamored with Pence and have designs on rewarding him with what could be a deal worth $13-14 million annually? They realize that’s even more than the awful deal they gave Rowand in December of 2007, right?

To be fair to Pence, he’s a little younger than Rowand was when the Giants dropped $60 million on him. And Pence is a midseason acquisition who is absolutely an improvement over what the Giants had in the outfield before the deadline.

There’s no question Pence makes the Giants better this season. But locking him up like the Giants did with Rowand would be a catastrophe.

Pence, like Rowand was, is a gritty, talented, hard-nosed free-swinger who hustles and endears himself to fans. And as was the case with Rowand, the Giants have a grossly mistaken perception of how valuable those qualities are.

GM Brian Sabean, who signed Rowand to that awful deal, should know by now that guys like Rowand and Pence don’t age well. He should also be smart enough to recognize that when the Giants acquired Rowand, he was actually a better player than Pence is now.

Finally, he should know not to sign Pence to a deal like the one that blew up in his face with Rowand, because based on the comparison between Rowand and Pence, this one could turn out even worse.

The terrifying truth about Hunter Pence is that the Giants can’t seem to see who he truly is.

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Philadelphia Phillies: Will They Try To Acquire Aaron Rowand Again?

Andrew Carpenter has been waived by the Philadelphia Phillies and was claimed by the San Diego Padres. This means that the Phillies now have an open spot on the 40-man roster and Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly speculates that spot might soon belong to Aaron Rowand.

Rowand was recently waived by the San Francisco Giants, so the Phillies could grab him for the rest of the season. He would provide some support off the bench as he is batting .286 against left-handed pitchers. Since this has been a weakness for the Phillies, this move does make sense.

Overall, Rowand is batting .233 with four home runs and 24 RBI.

He is remembered best in Philadelphia for going all out every time he played, even though it did lead to some less than desirable results occasionally. He was loved in Philadelphia, so this could be a very popular move with the fans.

The downside to this acquisition would be that Rowand would not be eligible for postseason play. Nevertheless, he might be worth acquiring for a month.

This season, Carpenter appeared in six games for the Phillies and posted a 7.71 ERA. He had a 1.821 WHIP which translates to 12.5 hits per nine innings and 3.9 walks per nine innings—definitely not stellar numbers in the major leagues.

However, he was dominating in AAA Lehigh Valley. In 34 appearances there he went 5-1 with a 1.79 ERA. He also barely allowed any base runners as shown by his 0.978 WHIP.

The other reason for opening up this roster spot could possibly be to prepare for the return of Joe Blanton from the DL. Nevertheless, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said, “We needed some roster space–just in case.”

Amaro’s quote seems to imply that something unexpected and could happen, so the return of Blanton has been anticipated. We will just have to wait and see what will happen for the Phillies.

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San Francisco Giants: Ranking the April MLB All-Stars

Though it’s still too early to determine who will take the field in Phoenix for the 2011 MLB All-Star Game, it’s always worth a look back at who has played well in the first month of the new season.

The San Francisco Giants are looking forward to having their manager, Bruce Bochy, lead the National League All-Stars and to having the most All-Stars from San Francisco in nearly a decade.

Here’s a look at the Giants All-Stars from the month of April, ranked in order of their impact for the club.

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San Francisco Giants: Aaron Rowand Making Case for Continued Starting Role

Aaron Rowand has been a certified pariah since his first season in San Francisco.

His performance at the plate has not endeared him to the fans or management, and it showed with his reduced role in the latter half of the 2010 season.

Rowand was limited to 91 at bats after the All-Star break as the Giants outfield became overloaded. Between Pat Burrell, Cody Ross, Andres Torres and others, there simply was not room in the outfield.

It looked to be more of the same this season, that is, until Ross and Torres went down with injuries. An opportunity opened up, and Rowand has capitalized on it.

He is hitting .314 going into Saturday night’s game against the Diamondbacks, and an early-season start is not anything new for Rowand.

In April last season, he hit .304 before going on the disabled list after being hit in the head by the Dodgers‘ Vicente Padilla.

Rowand was not the same player after that.

If he continues to play at this pace, the question has to be raised: Does Rowand remain a starter when Torres and Ross return?

Bruce Bochy has done a masterful job of mixing and matching and, with no disrespect to the other players, Rowand has to play if he keeps up his strong play.

Pat Burrell has provided power, but has not been there otherwise. His .162 average entering Saturday is the lowest of any everyday player, but his team-leading four home runs have kept him in the lineup.

The bigger question is, who is sent to Fresno and/or designated for assignment when Ross returns?

Rowand was on the short list, but he now has value, and the Giants will not eat a large contract. Nate Schierholtz could be the unfortunate odd man out without another person hitting the disabled list.

The veteran center fielder still has much to prove, but if he does not have a significant break in playing time, Rowand could be a key piece in the Giants’ quest to repeat as champions.

Zack Farmer is a freelance sports reporter for the San Francisco Examiner and Patch.com.

Follow me on Twitter: @FarmboySports

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San Francisco Giants: The Aaron Rowand Effect on the Giants

The San Francisco Giants are going to have many decisions to make in the outfield. Cody Ross will return from a torn calf injury in less than two weeks. The biggest decision of all may be what to do with outfielder Aaron Rowand. 

Third baseman, Pablo Sandavol, leads all starters with a .440 average thus far into the season. The stat line most may not see is the fact that Aaron Rowand leads the team with a .600 average in 10 at bats. 

Rowand currently has a home run and 2 RBIs, including a game winning single in the 12th inning of the Giants home opener. The fact that Pat Burrell is still hitting a team-worse .174, may force the Giants to take Burrell out of the lineup. This is going to be a very difficult decision as Burrell leads all Giants’ hitters with three home runs. All three have been solo home runs though. 

The Giants defense has looked somewhat shaky in the early going and Pat Burrell is not helping the cause. Aaron Rowand won a gold glove back in 2007 and has pretty good speed. Rowand was in the starting lineup to start out the season last year, and was benched after getting hit in the head and suffering a concussion. This ultimately gave way to current center fielder Andres Torres.

Aaron Rowand is currently the third highest paid Giants player at $13,600,000. He only trails Barry Zito and Tim Lincecum, in that order. Rowand is getting paid way too much, that is a no-brainer. The Giants should take Burrell out of the lineup due to the fact that he is only a designated hitter this far into his career. Burrell can’t go everyday anymore and is only getting paid $1,000,000. 

The fact is that Aaron Rowand should have a chip on his shoulder as he did very little last season as the Giants went on and won the World Series without him. Rowand has come out hungry as he is 6-10 and has thrived in every situation that coach Bruce Bochy has placed him in. 

The solution to the Aaron Rowand effect has many possible outcomes. The Giants could throw Rowand into the lineup and let him ride out his hot streak to give their third highest player another chance. Another possibility could be that the Giants could try to shop either Pat Burrell or Rowand. Pat Burrell would be a perfect fit on any American League team as a designated hitter. The Giants may not be able to trade Aaron Rowand, but his hot streak could say otherwise. 

All the decisions the Giants are going to have to make are a great thing for a team that just won the World Series. This team has some serious depth, and that could power them to another playoff run. With Torres, Huff, Burrell, Rowand, Derosa, and Schierholtz all fighting for at bats in the outfield, the Giants have more than enough to re-create another magical year. 

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San Francisco Giants: Giants’ Sweet Torture Continues in Extra-Inning Affair

Aaron Rowand hits game-winning single in the bottom of the 12th inning and goes 2-for-3 in Giants’ 5-4 win.

Looks like things have not changed much since last year.

The San Francisco Giants continued their victorious but torturous ways, as a sellout crowd at AT&T Park witnessed one of the greatest, yet weirdest games baseball fans will ever see.

The game featured two dramatic ninth-inning rallies with two outs and nobody on, a strike zone the size of a golf ball at one time and an SUV at another, an unlikely hero two home openers in a row, and an extra-inning dogfight where the Giants stranded a runner at third with nobody out in the bottom of the 11th inning.

If you thought that was weird, the St. Louis Cardinals moved their left fielder and put five men in the infield in that bottom of the 11th inning—and it worked when Aaron Rowand lined a smash right to third base, which was manned by left fielder Allen Craig.

The Giants achieved their 5-4 victory and broke the 4-4 tie in the bottom of the 12th inning when Rowand roped a game-winning single off the left-center field wall with the bases loaded. Coincidentally, it was just last year on the Giants’ 2010 home opener when Rowand hit an RBI infield hit in the 13th inning to beat the Braves 5-4.

“This one was a lot easier than the last one trying to leg it out,” Rowand said.

The 12th-inning rally began off Cardinals lefty Brian Tallet (0-1) when Miguel Tejada hit a one-out single to left. With two outs, Andres Torres reached on a catching error by first baseman Albert Pujols.

Cardinals manger Tony La Russa elected to walk Freddy Sanchez to load the bases for an unlikely hero. Rowand promptly silenced the naysayers by coming through in the clutch for the second home opener in a row.

“It was a lefty in that situation, so I hope they got to me,” Rowand said.

The ecstasy at AT&T Park by the end of the 12th inning was nothing of the sort back in the top of the ninth inning. With the Giants up 3-2 and Brian Wilson looking for his first save of the year, Wilson lost the 12-pitch marathon battle with Ryan Theriot, as he singled in the tying and lead runs with the bases loaded. The inning started with two quick outs.

Wilson was angry, as he walked off the mound in the top of the ninth inning. He seemed to disagree with home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman’s strike zone and began shouting at him while he was leaving the field.

“I was a little pissed,” Wilson said. “Emotions are flying. It’s opening day. Oh well, that’s what happens.”

It appeared that the Giants’ opening day party, which included their championship flag being hoisted and set atop a pole forever at AT&T Park, was ruined by the Cardinals’ ninth-inning rally. However, the Giants returned the favor and started a two-out rally of their own, which concluded with a game-tying single to right by Pablo Sandoval.

It appeared the first baseman Pujols was out of position when Sandoval hit his hard ground ball to the right side, as he broke toward the bag as the pitch was being thrown by closer Ryan Franklin. Nonetheless, the Giants enjoyed every minute of it.

“The game was an emotional roller coaster, a great game,” said Bruce Bochy, Giants manager. “These guys fought hard. It was quite a ball game for a home opener.”

Lost in all the hoopla was a fine starting pitching performance by Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez. Although he threw a lot of pitches early, he battled through a first-inning jam and allowed just one run while striking out seven in five innings of work.

The Cardinals scored first on a Tyler Greene single in the top of the second inning. The Giants would tie the game on a third-inning home run by Miguel Tejada, his first as a Giant.

The Giants grabbed the lead on a Freddy Sanchez double in the second inning. They would tack on another run in the sixth inning on Pat Burrell’s third home run of the year, making the score 3-1.

For the most part, the Giants kept Pujols in check. The Cardinals slugger went just 1-for-6, with an RBI single in the eighth inning that cut the Giants’ lead to 3-2. Pujols’ average fell to .179 for the year.

Dan Runzler (1-0) pitched a perfect 12th inning to earn the win in relief. He was one of eight pitchers used by the Giants in the game.

Although the torture called Giants baseball continued, like last year, torture still never felt so good for the fans in San Francisco.

My Thoughts

This was just a great baseball game.

The Giants did something that all good teams need to do to be successful. That is to not quit, even when all seems lost.

When the Giants blew their 3-2 lead in the ninth inning, many teams might have felt so deflated and just rolled over—not the Giants. They roared back with a two-out rally. Rowand (2-for-3) got things started with a two-out single, and would eventually come in to score on Sandoval’s game-tying single.

Another instance where the Giants showed resiliency was after the bottom of the 11th inning. After Torres doubled and advanced on a wild pitch with nobody out, the Giants suffered a crushing blow. Victory was within reach, but the Giants stumbled.

Freddy Sanchez struck out, and then, Aaron Rowand hit a hard, low liner that the left fielder dove for and trapped at third base. La Russa moved the left fielder to third base, and it actually worked, as Torres was nailed in a rundown on the play. Mark DeRosa then struck out on some questionable pitches for the third out of the inning.

Again, the Giants could have rolled over and let the failure get into their heads. Fortunately for the Giants, this did not happen, as Runzler came out and pitched a scoreless top of the 12th, setting up the Giants’ walk-off win at the bottom of the inning.

Another thing to note: Bruce Dreckman’s strike zone was awful today. The one thing players ask for in a home plate umpire is consistency, no matter if his strike zone is high, low or wide. It seemed that early in the game, Dreckman’s zone was very tight when Sanchez was on the mound. Later on, his strike zone widened, especially during DeRosa’s 11th-inning at bat.

If the Giants are going to do this torture bit on their fans again, it should be another fun season in the wacky world of San Francisco Giants baseball.


The Giants are now 3-4 and have won three home openers in a row. With home runs from Burrell and Tejada, they now lead the National League in home runs with nine (tied with the Reds and Brewers).

Rowand got his second-straight walk-off hit in a Giants home opener.

Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday says he may play this weekend after having his appendix removed just five days ago.

Pujols has hit into five double plays in seven games so far this year.

Tomorrow, Matt Cain will look for his second win of the year against the Cardinals’ Jaime Garcia. The game will start at 7:05 p.m. to accommodate the Giants’ ring ceremony.



  1       2















  0       1















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W: D. Runzler (1-1)

L: B. Tallet (0-1)


Vinnie Cestone is a Baseball/San Francisco Giants Featured Columnist for The Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand or from official interview materials from Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

Stats and other information came from ESPN.com and MLB.com.

This article was featured on the blog Talking Giants Baseball.

Follow me on twitter @vintalkingiants.

Questions or comments? E-mail my blog mailbag at vc4re@yahoo.com. Your questions may be answered on my blog.

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San Francisco Giants: The Competition In Left Field

It’s not a bad problem to have, but Bruce Bochy has admitted it, the San Francisco Giants have a competition for the starting spot in left field.

This is something the Giants haven’t experienced in some time, what with Barry Bonds being the left fielder in the past.

But the Giants should be happy with this. Bonds is gone and they have three viable contenders to start in left field with each bringing their own unique pros and cons to the lineup.

For the sake of the argument, I am going to eliminate the Brandon Belt possibility from the equation.

No matter how hard he tears up spring training the rest of the way, all signs point to the Giants starting Belt in AAA-Fresno and not San Francisco, just like they did with Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, Pablo Sandoval and the rest of the gang.

The system has proven to work. So why change it?

Come midseason, or whenever the Giants decide to call up Belt, this argument never happened.

Aubrey Huff moves to left field and Belt starts at first base. It’s a done deal.

Until then, we may have a game of musical chairs going on in left field.

Here are the three main players to be considered for the left field starting job.

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MLB Spring Training: 10 Players Whose Slow Starts Are Nothing to Worry About

Spring Training is a great opportunity for teams to find out what type of talent they’ll have on their side as they prepare to embark on a 162-game journey.

Players are excited to get back into the swing of things, and the slates are wiped clean as every team is in preparation mode.

It’s hard to look too deeply into statistics during spring training, as this time is more often used to fine tune habits and learn how to work with new teammates.

That said, here are a few players whose slow starts this spring won’t likely be an indicator to their regular season successes.

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San Francisco Giants’ Incredible Four Year Turnaround

In 2007, Bruce Bochy became the Giants’ manager.  In that season, the team won 71 games and finished last in their division.  In each season since then, the Giants have improved their win-loss record while finishing higher in the division. 

Four years ago the Giants were a mess.  They were old, they were brittle, and they were overshadowed by Barry Bonds’ tainted journey to a record nobody outside of the bay really wanted to see broken.

In 2007, the Giants extensively used Ryan Klesko, a then 36-year-old veteran.  In 116 games, he hit only six home runs while batting .260.  Also, at first was Rich Aurilia, who barely mustered an OBP over .300. 

Then you had Dave Roberts, then 35, in centerfield.  Like Klesko, he managed to hit .260 while making $5 million that year.  In addition, Omar Vizquel was the starting shortstop, but even at age 40, it’s hard to throw him aside.  Though his offense was well below average, his defense was strong enough that he could have been an asset had there been solid hitters surrounding him in the lineup.  There weren’t.

The Giants’ average age was 33.1 in 2007, and no starting position player was under the age of 32.  Fast forward to 2010, and the Giants’ average age fell to 29.6 with no starting position player over the age of 33. 

In those three years, the Giants became younger and stronger.

Their homerun total rose from 131 to 162 with a 21 point increase in OPS.  In 2007, the Giants were last in the National League in slugging percentage and OPS.  They were sixth and eighth this past season, respectively.

Even though the Giants’ offense was not intimidating even this last year, upgrades were made to be competitive.  Then their pitching, the strength of the 2007 team, took an even bigger step forward in the three years after.

Back in Tim Lincecum’s rookie year, the Giants had three starters with an ERA of 4.00 or below (Matt Cain, Noah Lowry, Lincecum), and only Cain threw more than 200 innings.  The team ERA of 4.19 was good enough for fifth in the NL, yet the offense held the Giants to their 71 wins.

This past season, the Giants jumped to the league lead in ERA at 3.36, and four of the Giant starters not only had an ERA below 4.00, but also below 3.50. 

Since Bruce Bochy arrived in San Francisco, the Giants have literally gone from worst in the division to first.  This cannot be attributed solely to Bochy, or GM Brian Sabean, but to a new movement in the organization.

Since the start of the 2007 season, the Giants have drafted Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey, two key pieces of last October’s memorable run.  Barry Zito and Jonathan Sanchez improved in that same time span, though Zito has more or less remained stagnant in his San Francisco career. 

You won’t see Ryan Klesko hogging up a spot in the middle of the order or Dave Roberts at the top of the lineup.  The Giants have learned to avoid bloated contracts that handcuff the organization.  The only exception is the deal to sign Barry Zito, which, surprise, occurred before the 2007 season. 

Since that Barry Zito deal, the only truly awful contract has been given to Aaron Rowand, but even his $60 million deal appears cheap compared to other regrettable contracts (think Alfonso Soriano). 

If anything, the Giants have found a way to play around the contracts of Zito and Rowand.  Rowand’s contract lasts for only two more years, with Zito lasting three more.  Once that money is taken off the books, the Giants will be able to lock in their younger, more reliable players including Buster Posey, Lincecum, Cain, and other young studs. 

The starting lineup is now built around young stars in Posey, and yes, Pablo Sandoval too.  Brandon Belt is projected to arrive in San Francisco next summer, and the rest of the lineup complements the growth of these young hitters.

Still, the biggest upgrade has been in the pitching department.  Much has been made of the Giants’ homegrown success on the mound, and it cannot be understated. 

With a stronger farm system and the foresight not to get locked into unreasonable free agent contracts, the Giants have discovered their own little way to win.  It’s that simple.  

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Aaron Rowand: Will He Return to the Phillies?

The Phillies made two moves on Tuesday that may indicate a few deals are in the works at the Winter Meetings.  Pitchers Jesus Sanchez and Yohan Flande were released from the 40-man roster, likely to make room for a few additions.  One of those additions is rumored to be ex-Phillie Aaron Rowand.

Rowand has two more years and $24 million left on his contract with the SF Giants.  After a down year in 2010 and losing his starting spot, the Giants have implied that Rowand is no longer in their plans going forward.  If the Giants are willing to eat most of his salary, Rowand could possibly return to Philly.

Best known for smashing his face against the centerfield wall at Citizens Bank Park to make a game-saving catch in 2006, Rowand was also the leader in the clubhouse and well loved by players and coaches alike.  He was never afraid to call out a teammate who was slacking. This kind of fire is what Charlie Manuel loves about Rowand.  It may also be motivation to bring him back.

In 2007, Rowand had a career year with the Phillies, batting .309 with 27 homers and 89 RBI.  He also made the All-Star team that year.  Since departing for San Francisco, Rowand’s numbers have steadily declined.  At the time, critics said the move to a larger ballpark might affect his production and that appears to be the case.  On the flip side, a return to the smaller confines of Citizens Bank Park may give new life to Rowand’s bat.

In addition, Rowand will have something to prove wherever he lands.  This is a guy who plays the game hard and takes pride in his performance.  Losing his starting job may have been the kick in the backside he needed. 

Another upside is that Rowand can play either center or right field, just as Jayson Werth was able to.  Neither Domonic Brown or Ben Francisco would likely be effective in center in the event that Shane Victorino is hurt or needs a break.  And right now, Victorino is the only true centerfielder on the roster.  Even if it is just coming off the bench, Rowand could fill that role while Brown and Francisco patrol right field.

Whether or not the Phillies decide to work out a deal with the Giants for Rowand is still unknown.  But if the price is right, Rowand could be a real asset and maybe inject new life into this Phillies team.

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