A lot of folks are wondering if there’s anything to the rumored swap of Jon Garland for Aaron Rowand. Todd Zolecki from the Philadelphia Inquirer said it best:
1. Garland has a 6.04 ERA.
2. He just signed a three-year, $29 million contract in December. He makes $10 million in 2007 and $12 million in 2008. Phillies GM Pat Gillick has talked often about payroll flexibility. It’s doubtful he would take on such a contract, especially for a pitcher who is slumping. Garland’s contract also includes a no-trade clause.
3. Perhaps most important, the Phils love Rowand.
Everything Zolecki says here is spot on. The proposed deal here would be a huge win for the White Sox but the Phils could do better if they wanted to unload Rowand and replace him with Shane Victorino.
Garland succeeded last year because he sliced his walk and home run rates from previous levels. His sharp control and low strikeout rate has been on par with the rest of the White Sox pitching staff, but he’s got the worst home runs allowed rate in all of baseball (over 2 per nine innings). Also not helping is a hit rate over 11, third worst in baseball. Can’t blame it on BABIP, which sits at a reasonable .310.
One would expect Garland to keep his ERA under 5 for the life of his contract, but he doesn’t figure to be worth more than three wins a year from here on out.
Aaron Rowand figures to be a bit more valuable, maybe 3.5 wins per season for a while. His current .301/.345/.509 line resembles his breakthrough 2004. Rowand also has highly-rated defense, but that depends on which metric you use.
If the White Sox are looking to bring in a center fielder, names like Eric Byrnes, Kenny Lofton, Ken Griffey Jr., Ryan Freel,Torii Hunter, Matt Lawton, Joey Gathright, and Juan Pierre might be available. Pierre and Griffey are players to which the Sox have been linked in the past. Another option would be to shift Scott Podsednik to center and bring in a left fielder like Alfonso Soriano, Carl Crawford, Pat Burrell, Raul Ibanez, Luis Gonzalez, Jose Cruz Jr., Cliff Floyd, or Shannon Stewart.