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.