Urban: Giants' shakeup a no-brainer

September 1, 2011, 1:46 am
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Aug. 31, 2011


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Mychael Urban

SAN FRANCISCO -- Desperate times call for desperate measures? Fine.But what was so desperate about the Giants cutting ties Wednesday with Aaron Rowand and Miguel Tejada? Nothing.These weren't desperate moves by any stretch. You could make the case, in fact, that they were no-brainers. Rosters can expand to 40 men on Thursday, and Brandon Crawford will be on the roster when the Giants reconvene Friday after taking a day to enjoy their sole victory over the Cubs. He'll get plenty of playing time, too. Nobody's given the Giants jack offensively out of the shortstop position, so they might as well focus on run prevention over run production there, and as underwhelming as Orlando Cabrera's time in orange and black has been, it's been less underwhelming than Tejada's.
NEWS: Giants DFA Tejada, Rowand; Burrell reinstated
Underwhelming doesn't really start to describe Rowand's time with the Giants. The five-year, 60 million deal he got as a free agent was panned the day it was announced, and less than four years later, said panning has been more than justified.
Rowand wasn't a bad Giant in terms of intangibles -- professionalism, work ethic and class; he's flat-out a good dude -- but let's be honest here: he was a bad Giant in the batter's box, and you don't pay the kind of glue Rowand got paid for intangibles.Why Wednesday? Simple. Tejada, as noted above, would have represented redundancy come Friday, and because you have to have a player on your active roster before Sept. 1 to have him eligible for the postseason, designating Rowand for assignment had to happen early on Aug. 31 at the very latest.RATTO: Rowand Era ends seven months early
The thinking likely was that if there was a team out there looking to add him as an extra outfielderpinch hitter for the stretch drive and playoffs -- he's got two rings, you know -- that team might be willing to take on some of the 14 million or so the Giants will be paying him to go away.Not much of it, mind you. Maybe as little as 1 million or 2 million. But you save where you can, and it's easier to choke down 12 million or 13 million than it is to choke down 14 million. So there's the why. Next question: What does it mean?It means plenty.It means that what we saw late last season, when Rowand was planted on the bench and Barry Zito was left off the playoff roster, wasn't an aberration.
Wednesday's move made it clear that money really does take a back seat to performance. Tejada and Rowand weren't getting it done, so they're gone. And if you don't think that sent a message to the rest of the Giants' handsomely compensated veterans, give some thought to what Mark DeRosa had to say after Wednesday's face-saving win over Chicago.RECAP: Bumgarner brilliant, Giants hit and beat Cubs
"Nobody's safe," DeRosa offered. "The team expects a certain level of play, and they haven't been getting it. And when you don't get it, these are the types of things that can happen."Whether that message is what prompted Wednesday's win, DeRosa couldn't say. Madison Bumgarner carving the Cubs like a tender young turkey had an awful lot to do with things, to be sure."It's not like Tejada and Rowand were cancers in this clubhouse," DeRosa said. "They weren't. At all."But they weren't curing anything that ailed the Giants, either. And while the players who took their places on the active roster, Pat Burrell and prospect Brett Pill, didn't factor in the victory, the aforementioned message just might have.It was time for a change. It was time for a statement. It was a time for a win.
And hey, embrace the result for the next 24 hours or so. Brian Sabean went 3-for-3 on Wednesday, and when's the last time anyone associated with the Giants did that?

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