The Deal of the Year

I have enjoyed following the free agent market this year, and I’ve tried to put a value on most of the players who have signed contracts so far. While there are plenty of contacts yet to be signed, I’d like to give the award to the best signing to the 2007 offseason to the San Francisco Giants. The Giants signed Aaron Rowand to a five-year, $60 million deal earlier this month.

Now, $12 million a year sounds like a lot for a 30-year-old center fielder; however, in comparison to his free agent competition he’s a bargain. Both Torri Hunter and Andruw Jones signed deals worth about six million more per year than Rowand’s. Jones ended up with a shorter two-year deal, while Hunter also got a five-year deal. I think Jones is a better player than both Hunter and Rowand, but I see little difference between Rowand and Hunter. I have Rowand valued at $87.8 million over the course of his contract. Basically, the Giants are getting Torii Hunter for two-thirds of the price that the Angels are paying for him.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that signing Rowand to a long-term deal was a good idea. The Giants may need to do some more work internally before becoming competitive. But at worst, if Rowand continues upon his projected path and salaries grow as they have been, Rowand is someone the Giants can move for decent prospects at a later date.

24 Responses “The Deal of the Year”

  1. I don’t agree with that, Rowand’s deal is paying him for last season, if he goes back being a 90 OPS+ player with declining defense – eventually the ware and tear will take its toll – is he really an annual 12 million dollar player?

    Rowand has wildly inconsistent and his numbers – particularly BABIP / xBABIP – suggest he was lucky last year. I think he’ll definitely revert back to his days of being a slightly above average player.

    The Jones deal has a pretty good risk / reward factor, but I happen to think Jones will bounce back, if he doesn’t the Dodgers can wipe their hands of it in two seasons, unlike the Juan Pierre fiasco.

  2. JB says:

    Is this still a good deal if he is forced to shift over to LF in a couple years?

  3. aap212 says:

    I don’t buy it. Being a bargain compared to Tori Hunter does not necessarily make a good signing. Rowand put up a career year in a hitter’s park, and even if he repeated it every year, he might be the only legit positional building block in or near the majors for the Giants. If they were to put together a spectacularly quick and effective rebuild, they still wouldn’t be ready to compete until Rowand was another couple of years past 30. They need to focus on drafting well and unloading veterans to build around Cain and Lincecum.

  4. JC says:

    The projection is based on his performances over the past three years and the performances are adjusted for parks.

    If he shifts to left, this deal will not be as good, but it still will be good.

  5. Ken says:

    This isn’t as bad a deal as the Hunter signing but it’s still bad. Rowand will finally have to patrol a real centerfield which will expose him for the the BELOW AVERAGE fielder he really is. He consistently gets bad jumps on balls.

  6. Eric says:

    Terrible signing IMO, the Giants aren’t going to compete so why waste money on a soon to be over the top OFer. With the way he plays he is gauranteed to have a shortened career, and + he had a luck year. Rowand is no good.

  7. Blue says:

    Best-value OF signing will be Guillen. Bank on it.

  8. David says:

    I don’t like 5 years to a guy with a career line of .286/.343/.462, although compared to Hunter, that is a good deal, unless you buy the hype that Hunter’s the better defensive man.

    The Giants won’t be good for a long time, at least until they can get some position players out of their farm system that are at least as good as the guys they pay $5 million a year.

  9. YankeeCpt says:

    You’re nuts.
    AROD > Rowand

    ARod is a game changing player.

  10. YankeeCpt says:

    With the release of the Mitchell Report,
    ARod value becomes more evident.

  11. David says:

    With all due respect, the Rowand signing has got to be one of the 5 or 6 worse signings this offseason. We’re talking about a player who was good in 2004 and 2007 and pretty bad in 2005 and 2006. Since he’s 30, as you mention, it’s much more likely we’re going to see more 2005s and 2006s than we will the other two. Furthermore, he’s moving from a park where it’s easy to hit home runs to a place where it’s not so easy. Rowand has a career .795 OPS. Just because Hunter signed for more money doesn’t make the Rowand signing a good one. It’s still a bad signing. Rowand will be lucky to put up a .750 OPS from this point forward. I don’t see how a bottom half of the league CF (in the future) is worth what Rowand got.

  12. Rick O says:

    I’m from Philly so I’ve seen him play. He’s a solid player, who had his best year in 2007. Philly is a smaller park, granted, but remember, he had Rollins, Utley and Howard in the lineup. Who does SF have hitting around him? I rest my case.

    This is a bad signing, but SF had to show that they were doing something…anything!

  13. David says:

    I should first say I’m the David in 8, not 11.

    It’s worth noting that while they have similar career slugging percentages, Rowand has about a .020 higher career OBP than Hunter. And sure, compared to Hunter, not bad.

    What we should remember made this a remarkable career year for Rowand was that he actually stayed healthy all year. He’s probably above average, but is often thought of as less valuable because his counting stats like HR totals are much lower due to his health. The downside of this contract is not the potential of paying him to sit on the bench, but rather to sit in the trainer’s room.

  14. tom says:

    I don’t agree with you at. He is only going to give you 12 to 15 homeruns at most at that stadium

  15. Bob Warja says:

    Rowand is not as good as he showed last year, offensively. He will likely revert back to something more normal, such as a .270 avg with 16 homers. And he isn’t fast and he won’t take a walk. Defensively he is overrated. Probably due to his penchant for running into walls, but overall, he’s league average. A good 4th outfielder is not worth the money they spent on him. Bad signing.

  16. Gamelist says:

    As a CF over an age of 30,Ichiro also got 80m/5y before all star break too

  17. Vernon Dozier says:

    Having watched Rowand everyday during his two seasons in Philadelphia, I’d say he is one of the most overrated players in baseball (especially defensively). He has the speed and range of an average LEFTFIELDER, and is definitely a liability in CF. People see the guy running into a fence on SportsCenter will get the impression that he makes those plays all the time. My lasting impressions are of balls flying over Rowand’s head and just beyond reach of his outstretched glove. I’ve never seen as many misplayed flyballs as I did the past two seasons. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to the Victorino in CF this year for the Phillies. Sabean follows the worst signing last year (Zito) with the worst signing this year – how much longer will he have a job??

  18. Dave says:

    What’s the difference between the outfield fence and a cutoff man? Aaron Rowand occasionally hits the OF fence. To say this is a great signing simply because it’s less expensive than the other two is like telling someone whose house got burglarized that they’re lucky because their neighbor’s house got burglarized AND burnt down. Sure, you’re better off relative to the neighbor, but you’re not in a very good spot either way. Ask the Giants fans how great a bargain this is when he’s a 17 HR-hitting LF in two years and the Giants eat some money to move him.

  19. Justin says:

    Look up Rowand’s splits at CB Park and on the road.

    Your answer will change completely.

  20. JD says:

    Not sure why all the talk about Rowand being overrated defensively. He gets better jumps and takes better angles than just about anybody in the league. UZR loves him, and I happen to find that better than any other metric (by a long shot). He’s certainly a better overall player than Hunter.

    Compared to the free agent market, this is a great deal. Eric Byrnes signed a 3/30 extension during the season. Name something other than stealing bases that he does better than Rowand.

  21. Aaron says:

    I just think it’s pointless to sign a guy who is as enigmatic and inconsistent (offensively) as Rowand to a long-term deal. Add that to the fact that the Giants still don’t have an impact power bat and it looks like the Giants paid someone for a downgrade in CF and a bat somewhere along the line of Randy Winn and Bengie Molina.

  22. andy melamed says:

    sorry guys.. it seems we are stuck in a deeep hole needing two more very good position players at the corners, and three good bullpen guys.. thats five more players, with no one worth trading except the unexpendables of our future.. if we can just buy out kline, aurilia, durham,.. and chuck chulk, and even hennessey and keep wilson and sanchez and mirsch we would still be at a loss cuz on one is worth buying and and minor leaguers are 1=2 years away.. rebuild with the youth.. and unfortunately by the time they come around aaron rowand will be in the pasture.. soooo the 12million does not look good.. (a long way to say it, but its the truth)..and we can blame it on the barry fiasco of winning for him for the moment…instead investing in the future.

  23. JD says:

    In response to post 21:

    A downgrade in center? Defensively? I don’t see how. He’s a much better defensive player than Dave Roberts, Randy Winn, or any of the other players who got significant time in the outfield for the Giants last season. He’s also been better than Winn (and, by a lot, Molina) offensively for his career.

    Giants fans are going to be pleasantly surprised by this deal.

  24. Frank says:

    Rowand may work out fine for the Giants expenditure on him, but I think the Prior deal may be the deal of the year. The Braves pissed away 750k on Tanyon Sturtze last year and the Pads now get Prior for 1m plus incentives. A risk well worth taking.