In June, Aaron Rowand has hit .231/.268/.333. He’s walked once and struck out eight times in 39 at-bats. For the year, he’s hitting .245/.292/.362. Against right-handed pitchers, he’s hitting .187/.243/.276 in 134 at-bats. That’s all in a fairly small sample, so you might be tempted to think he’s just unlucky. But while it takes a while for BA/OBP/SLG to stabilize, the K/BB ratio of 50/8 is legit. Those stats stabilize quickly. That’s the real Aaron Rowand. He strikes out in over a quarter of his at-bats and he doesn’t take walks.
Aaron Rowand has started nine of the past 13 games.
The focus over the next month is going to be about who the Giants can get. They need hitters. Who can they get? Can they get this guy? What about that getting that guy? Get a couple of guys. Is Chris Getz available to hit cleanup? Get get get.
But the offense can also improve, even if just incrementally, if some of the tools are removed from Bruce Bochy’s toolbox. In this analogy, Bochy doesn’t have a lot to work with. He has a broken drill, a hammer with a wobbly head, and a roll of wet Scotch Tape. I get that. This isn’t an offense with just one or two players screwing everything up. But if Rowand is a tool in the tool box, he’s a metal stabtoaster, which is a tool that is used to dig pieces of bread out of toasters that are still plugged in. You probably shouldn’t use it.
It’s kind of sharp, though, so you can still use it to open up a blister pack or a box. It has its uses. But Bochy keeps using it to get bread out. He’ll keep doing it until you physicaly remove the stabtoaster and throw it away. They make plastic stabtoasters, you know.
When Mike Fontenot and Brandon Belt return, it will be interesting to see what Bochy does with Miguel Tejada. Even with the DH, Tejada only started one game in Oakland. He only started one game in Arizona. With Fontenot and Belt coming back to take infield starts, there will be even fewer chances to get Tejada in. There’s a chance, though, that as Brandon Crawford continues to struggle, Tejada will start again. He could be another metal stabtoaster. He's a part of this conversation too, but for now the focus is on Rowand.
So everyone is wondering who the Giants will get. Makes sense. But Bruce Bochy’s strength is not in picking the best hitters out of a group. It’s why Jose Guillen started until the very last day of the regular season last year. It’s why Rowand was the DH twice this weekend. A fifth outfielder who can play a decent center while hitting lefties? Heck, that’s not a bad guy to have on the bench. It’s not how Rowand is viewed by Bochy, though.
The Giants will almost certainly get another catcher. They just might get Jose Reyes or J.J. Hardy. The long-term ramifications of those moves are up for debate, but there’s no question that a pair of moves like that would improve the Giants greatly. They could get even better, though, by removing one of Bruce Bochy’s temptations. It’s not like the offense is bad because Rowand starts -- that’s totally simplistic and reductive. But it sure as heck doesn’t help, and right now this offense needs every bit of help it can get. It’s time to take Aaron Rowand to a farm that has a big field, where he can run around and play with other Vinny Castillas to his heart’s content.