Back at the beginning of the offseason, the huge fear was that the Giants were going to give Mike Lowell a four-year contract for too much money. Instead, the team shored up that gaping hole in center field, and they signed Aaron Rowand to a five-year contract for too much money. Maybe it's a market-value contract, but it's too much money for a team that didn't exactly need a center fielder.
Would you have preferred the following alternate reality?
2B - Durham/Frandsen
CF - Winn
3B - Mike Lowell (4/$48M)
RF - Schierholtz
C - Molina
1B - Whatever
SS - Vizquel
- Schierholtz gets regular time. That's a big deal, and the worst part about the Rowand signing.
- Winn gets to prove he's a capable center fielder, which would boost his trade value if the Giants somehow shock the world by falling out of contention.
- Mike Lowell has more power than Rowand and he plays a position that, oh, I don't know, the Giants actually needed to fill.
- Lowell is three years older than Rowand, and derives much of his value from his "old man skills" -- patience and power. According to Bill James, those kinds of players age worse than players who are valuable because of superior athleticism. It would have taken a fourth year to get Lowell away from Boston (if it was ever possible), and that would have been a disaster by 2011.
- The Giants' defense is better with Rowand in center than it would have been with Winn.
- With eight center fielders, the Giants are only two stamps away from a free center fielder with their Center Fielder Club Rewards Card. Lowell wouldn't have helped the cause.