Two very good ball players who cover center field like wallpaper. Both just turned 30, and both can hit, although one is having an off year and the other a good year.
The Braves Andruw Jones is currently hitting .220, but has 25 home runs and 91 RBI. Aaron Rowand is hitting .313 with 26 home runs and 87 RBI.
Rowand leads in on base percentage .382 to .314 and in slugging percentage, .526 to .414. Rowand also leads in hits, 177 to 119 and runs scored, 101 to 77. He's clearly having the better year. Jones has been playing longer, starting his major league career in 1996, Rowand in ' 01.
Who do you think is the better defensive centerfielder? Their career fielding percentages are close: Jones: .991 and Rowand: .998. Rowand may have run through a wall for the Phillies, but over the long haul I'd take Jones. His arm is better, too.
Now here's the big difference: Money. In 2002 Jones signed a six year, $75 million contract with the Braves; he's making $13.5 million this year. To avoid arbitration Rowand signed a one year deal with the Phillies in ' 07 for $4.35 million. He was traded here for Jim Thome in ' 05.
Rowand only hit above .300 once in his career, in ' 04, .310. Last year he hit .262. Jones has never hit .300, but his home run and RBI production far exceeds Rowand's.
Now get this: Both players will be looking for big money, starting around $10 million for multi-year deals. The Phillies will have money to give away next season, but do they want to give it to Rowand? Or do they go after one or two rotation pitchers and a relief pitcher to set the table for Brett Myers?
With the likes of Freddy Garcia and Jon Lieber (and a few others) leaving town, the Phillies could have over $30 million to spend on free agents next winter. They can also move Shane Victorino to center and use Michael Bourn and Jason Werth in right, and still have a solid outfield.
Considering their current problems, e.g., no pitching, all those in favor of spending the money on pitching raise their hands.