Friday, December 17, 2010

Rowand for Fukudome? Yes, Please.

First of all, I'm gonna apologize for not posting anything over the last couple of weeks. With finals going on for both of us, we decided to take a break. But we're back and ready to go with the news this morning that the Giants and Cubs have discussed an Aaron Rowand-Kosuke Fukudome trade, according to Jerry Crasnick of

It's no surprise that Rowand is being shopped - he has a huge contract, isn't good, and as the roster currently stands, it doesn't seem like there is room for him. And this particular rumor is especially appealing because almost everything about Fukudome is better than Rowand. His 2010, which wasn't too far off his career numbers (.259/.368/.410/.778), looked like this: .263/.371/.439/.810 in 429 PAs. Fukudome strikes out quite a bit (20.8% career) but his career walk rate (14.7%) is very good. Rowand had an OBP under .300 last year and has a career walk rate of 5.6%. It's pretty clear who the better offensive player is.

I've always assumed that when getting rid of Rowand, the Giants would have to pay most of the salary and get nothing back in return besides a crappy reliever. As I mentioned above, Rowand pretty much has to go because the Giants have too many outfielders - Burrell, Torres, Ross, Schierholtz, Rowand, DeRosa, Huff/Belt. Getting rid of Rowand for nothing would solve the outfield overcrowding problem. But adding another OF like Fukudome means another outfielder would have to go, most likely Schierholtz. Luckily, Fukudome isn't terrible on defense and defense is really the only reason Nate is still around. As a right fielder, he's fared pretty well according to UZR, with scores of 6.0 in 2008, 7.8 in 2009, and dropping off a bit in 2010 at -4.4. He is 33 and isn't likely to improve much on defense, but he won't clog up the outfield either.

I thought maybe the only other player the Giants could get in return for Rowand would be one with a bad contract. While Fukudome does make $13.5 million (way too much), it's only for one more year and his contract is actually better than Rowand's, which has 2 years and $24 million left. For this reason, I can't understand why the Cubs would do the deal. Crasnick does say the trade is a long shot. Maybe the Cubs want to save money this year? The Giants would probably throw some money into the deal, but it still seems weird. In the end, all the evaluations of Fukudome as a player don't matter because we know these two things: he's a better player with a better contract. And Rowand would finally be gone. Please make it happen, Sabez.

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