So far this spring I've yet to hear much talk about Aaron Rowand around my office. I work in a place loaded with baseball fans, many of them rooting for the Phils.
There was a decent amount of hype in the area when we landed Rowand for Jim Thome before last season. It was official that Ryan Howard was going to be the one and only first baseman, and those of us who knew the sport looked forward to a guy with Rowand's talent coming in and taking over center field, a position that had kind of been in Limbo in Philadelphia over the course of the previous few seasons.
It was all set, Aaron Rowand was going to the be second coming of Lenny Dykstra, but offensive struggles in the beginning of the season were a bit of a head scratcher. Aaron just couldn't seem to get his swing together against National League pitching. He was a far cry from a guy who hit .310 and banged 24 homers in Chicago in 2004. Rowand was quickly becoming the odd man out until "the catch" against the Mets that saved at least one run and ultimately the game.
You saw "the catch", everyone saw it - a dead run, face smashing against the wall resulting in broken bones and heavy blood loss. Rowand was an instant hero in Philadelphia sacrificing life and limb for the good of the team.
Aaron returned from the injury to uproarious cheers and fan adoration followed by some more mediocre play. His season came to a crashing halt following another dramatic injury in a collision with second baseman Chase Utley in an effort to make another circus catch.
Rowand only played in 109 games last year, batting .262 with 12 home runs, not exactly Lenny Dykstra numbers, but my question is - Why are the fans around here so ready to let Rowand go? He was injured for almost a third of the season and it was his first year against National League pitching. I, for one, would like to see an outfield with Burell in left, Rowand in center and Victorino in right .
The latest rumors have Aaron potentially returning home to the White Sox in the not to distant future and I'll be a bit sorry to see him go, I still think he had a little bit of Dykstra in him. With two guys who can cover ground like Rowand and Victorino, you almost don't even need a third outfielder.