Aug. 31, 2011
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So ends the Aaron Rowand Era in Giants baseball history seven months before it was supposed to, and 24 months after it went wrong.
Rowand and Miguel Tejada were both designated for banishme . . . er, assignment before Wednesdays Giants-Cubs game, an indication that there really was monetary figure that management would be willing to eat. 14 million, as it turns out, give or take.
Rowands career in San Francisco ended badly, on the business point of a 1-for-24 slump and finished with a strikeout at the hands of Carlos Marmol. One last flail in a stay dominated by too much talk about his contract and universal frustration that he never made his production match it.
He had his moments, to be sure, contributing to the postseason drive that seems now to have happened 40 years ago. Like all other Giants on the roster, he kicked in with big plays at timely moments that nearly rehabilitated him with a fan base that never took to him from the moment Peter Magowan hauled him in for the bargain price of 60 million over five years.
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But they never let him up for that month of glory because they were too invested in the contract and the lack of performance that came with it. His batting stance annoyed them by its seeming awkwardness, and his low power and inadequate secondary statistics combined with diminished playing time and trust from the management to create a Giants experience he will largely regret.
In short, unhappy and unproductive campers could be endured in good times, but not in bad ones, and this has been one bad good season. Thus, when Brian Sabean decided too much of nothing was enough, he opted to eliminate his Tejada gamble (a time-killer until Brandon Crawford could find a major league stroke) and the Rowand error (which surely had to be cleared with the up-aboves, who are still on the hook for one more full season at 12 million plus the balance of this season).
Will it change the Giants situation viz. The 2011 postseason? Probably not, unless Pat Burrell is ready to recreate his best Philly days and Brett Pill is the new Buster Posey, which is a fairly unfair standard for anyone.
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And let us be clear, Rowand and Tejada were not the causes of this extraordinary hitting failure, but consistent with the symptomology. They were handy scapegoats in a field full of goats worthy of scaping, but they could no longer make a case for staying and probably wouldnt have if theyd been asked to. They were miserable here, and while they both believe they have more to give the game, they are probably as happy to be done with the Giants as the Giants are to be done with them.
So no, this does not usher in a new era of good feeling. People lost jobs today, and the team is probably not markedly better or worse for their departures. But there was no compelling to reason to keep their leaky buckets while the entire ship was taking on water and needed every bilge pump at full capacity and power.
In other words, it was time for this to happen. Miguel Tejada, we hardly knew ye. Aaron Rowand, heres for services rendered in the pursuit of a World Series ring nobody believed would ever exist. Wish it had ended better, but its Darwins world and were just trying to float through without too much scarring.