Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Rowand's Fall From Grace

The guess here is the Chicago White Sox rumored ardor for reacquiring Aaron Rowand has cooled considerably if, indeed, it was ever hot. That would be too bad because, frankly, the Phillies’ ardor for him has also cooled.

Rowand’s fall from grace has to be the most rapid and precipitous in Philadelphia sports history. Following The Catch, he was the toast of the town and his teammates. No one could ever fault him for courage, determination and hustle. That said, his performance at the plate and in the field has hurt the club.

Rowand has a major hole in his swing. He hits nearly everything to the opposite side, often weakly. A typical Rowand at-bat could become the Wikipedia definition of a humpback liner. He stands too close to the plate and frequently pays the price as pitchers consistently jam him inside. He shows little patience. His average has steadily declined since his return, falling roughly forty points.

The bigger surprise is his defense. Lauded prior to his arrival here as nearly the second coming of Gary Mattox, Rowand has played just as shallow a centerfield as the Secretary of Defense, but with far less ability to go back on the ball. When I first saw him live at Citizens Bank Park, I was struck just how shallow he played. I assumed he positioned himself to compensate for his weak arm, which still might be the case, but I was unprepared for how many balls are hit over his head.

Rowand may be one of those guys you want in your foxhole, but in the more narrow sphere of baseball, he is not the answer to the Phillies outfield problems.


RickSchuBlues said...

Rowand strikes me as a guy who might be a more effctive player if used as a fourth outfielder, maybe playing 110-120 games. He is somewhat flawed as a player, and his defense has left something to be desired as well - after all this time, still no one gets it through his head to hit the damn cut-off man? Why do they bother having coaches if they're too reluctant to correct recurring mistakes like that? Moreover, why do they keep having him try to bunt in crucial situations when every single time he pops it up? Anyhow, he seems worn down somehow, like he's just not sharp. He's definitely not on his game and hasn't been since he returned from the DL.

I would like to see him remain a Phillie, in spite of all this. As I've previously stated, they need more players like him on the roster, not fewer. I just don't know if they could convince him the team would be a better one with Victorino playing two-fifths of the games in center, but I think it would be.

dane said...

I agree this team would be much better with Victorino playing 2/5ths of the games in center. I don't think Rowand will be back unless the Phillies pick up the 5 million club option. He doesn't seem to be enjoying himself.

RickSchuBlues said...

I fail to see how anyone could be enjoying themselves on this sinking ship of a team. It's one of the most miserable seasons I've ever suffered through, and with this team, that's saying something.

Caught a glimpse of Sal Fasano on the ESPN a Yankees uniform and shorter hair, he looks like a dead ringer for Rick Cerone.

Anonymous said...

Garry MaDDox....check the phils wall of fame.

Tom Goodman said...

Thanks for it were. Maddox it is!!