The Mockingbird

Dudes Love Scrap

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Name Age Career AB Average OBP SLG
Reed Johnson 31 2083 .281 .342 .410
Aaron Rowand 30 2664 .286 .343 .462


Uncanny, isn’t it? Rowand has the edge on slugging, but then he’s been playing in the most HR friendly park in the majors. Reed hasn’t “proven himself” because he’s only had one above-average year while Rowand has had two. Rowand plays a great center field while Reed could but has been blocked by Vernon. Whatever. They’re both scrappy, quick-but-not-fast outfielders who have a little pop and play full-out.

The real difference is that Reed is a fringe starter right now. The Blue Jays considered not offering him a contract, but last night offered a one-year, 3-ish million dollar contract for him to platoon in left field next season. The Giants, on the other hand just handed Rowand a 5-year, 60 million dollar contract to bolster the middle of their lineup. The mind boggles.

It should be someone’s job to follow around GM’s with a nerf bat and bludgeon them senseless every time they start signing guys based on “grit”, their last season, or fan appeal based on one play endlessly repeated on highlight reels. Whatever his salary, that guy would be a bargain compared to the ridiculous long-term, big-money center field signings of the last two years (but then I guess Juan Pierre and Gary Matthews Jr. don’t really count as center fielders because they were both replaced in that capacity this very next season).

This signing also officially puts the Rios-Lincecum swap to bed, but then we really knew that for days now, right? Sounds like Sabean was even a little embarrassed by the reaction to the trade:

“With this move, we will no longer listen to any offers for Cain and Lincecum,” Sabean said. “We know the value of both individuals believe me, maybe more so now that we’ve gone through this exercise. They might be the hottest two names in baseball.”

Now if only the Giant’s fan base would mobilize as loud and clear to help him spend money on the free agent market as they did to prevent him from trading away another young elite arm to the Jays, they might climb out of the basement sometime this decade…

Written by halejon

December 12, 2007 at 11:59 pm

14 Responses

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  1. […]  You probably get the idea. [Read on] […]

  2. Is Reed really that good of a fielder? Never realized.

    The SLG advantage isn’t something to scoff at, though. And has Johnson ever been part of a platoon before? That would bump up his numbers.


    December 13, 2007 at 12:35 am

  3. Hmm, forgot about the platoon. Yes he has, though it wasn’t really that extreme. I don’t know if Reed would be a gold glove (err…make that “excellent defender”, stupid subjective awards…) in CF, but he’s definitely would play there on another team and has a strong arm.

    You’re right, 50 points is significant. But that’s the difference between an elite, top-dollar signed long term free agent and a 4th outfielder struggling to keep his job?!


    December 13, 2007 at 1:24 am

  4. Definetly an interesting analysis. I don’t like how you devalue Rowand for being in a hitters park – Johnson isn’t exactly playing in a pitchers park either.

    For what it’s worth, in his career Rowand has hit .025 or so OPS difference between home and away. Johnson, on the other hand, is nearly .100 points better @ home over his career. So the home and away argument hurts Reed more than Rowand. 2007 was significantly better for home games, but in 06 he was better away.

    Rowand also doesn’t have the same platoon splits as Johnson (still struggles against RHP but not nearly as much, even over his career) and he’s better against LHP over his career.

    I get what you’re saying, and it’s a stupid signing, but Rowand is still significantly better than Reed. But not 60 million bucks worth.


    December 13, 2007 at 2:41 am

  5. Yah, that was the point I was really going for. No question Rowand is a better player. And I don’t really like comparing career numbers anyway. But 60 million bucks? Until he’s 35?! Especially for a team like the Giants who have admitted they’re not one piece of the puzzle away from contending.

    Q: If Reed had put together a .275/.340/.425 season last year, would he have been “proven”? And how much would the Jays be signing him for right now?


    December 13, 2007 at 7:36 am

  6. Something to root for next season:

    The Tao of Stieb has pledged the consumption of a pound of raw bacon if Rowand hits 20 dingers in SF. You mean we don’t need to launch our kayaks into McCovey Cove every time he’s at the plate? WTF?

    So what’s our over/under on Elijah Dukes stading at? Impregnated any more relatives lately?


    December 13, 2007 at 3:22 pm

  7. We should start a “bacon tracker” or something. I’d take that over/under on Rowand, though. That park is huuuuuuge.

    For Elijah, on what? Brawls started? Umpires punched? Threats made? The list goes on…sorta need some mesh of all of them, like runs created. Maybe Felonies amassed?


    December 13, 2007 at 7:55 pm

  8. Looking at UZR, Reed comes out as an excellent left fielder, about +20 per 150 games. But in his short stints in RF and CF, he’s mediocre to bad.

    Rowand’s raw stats might go down because of his new home ballpark, but that doesn’t effect his value, since run scoring goes down overall. His good glove will become more valuable in a larger park, though.

    All free agents are overpriced, but Rowand’s deal was one of the more reasonable contracts this off-season, I thought. I agree it’s not what Sabean needed, however.

    If Reed’s undervalued, then good for the Jays.


    December 13, 2007 at 8:25 pm

  9. Lets do it! The bacon pants tracker and maybe a dukes terror watch – where we can have colours graded to his current situation and status.


    December 13, 2007 at 8:36 pm

  10. I’m not sure I agree with that- there’s not always a direct correlation between HR allowed in a park and the scoring environment. This year the parks Rowand is moving between were very similar in run scoring but on opposite sides of the spectrum in HR. If you have a guy whose one standout stat is HR’s and he goes to a park that squelches them specifically then it affects his relative value more than it would a singles hitter who really doesn’t care how far away the fences are.


    December 13, 2007 at 8:51 pm

  11. OMG that is such a fantastic idea I don’t know what to say. Start thinking of the categories…”mostly harmless” -> “incident imminent”…


    December 13, 2007 at 8:56 pm

  12. My best team of monkeys is on the case:

    Current Status: Elevated – Hulk Mad Rage Growing


    December 13, 2007 at 9:50 pm

  13. Sigh…it seems the general consensus was Rowand wouldn’t sign for less than 13-15 million. And there were a bunch of teams in the hunt (but there’s no way he took a discount for the Giants, right? Or maybe to get 5 years because he knows he’s going to break himself sometime soon?). Just great, my most popular post of all time is me shooting off my mouth about something I really don’t know anything about.


    December 13, 2007 at 11:43 pm

  14. The saga continues:

    Time to raise ‘Dukes terror alert’ to ‘dead dawg’.


    December 18, 2007 at 8:05 pm

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