Aaron Rowand certainly made a big splash in Philadelphia last season. After ramming her face into the center field wall and winning the praise of fans everywhere, he soon fell out of favor after successive injuries arose from his hard-nosed style play prevented him from being effective offensively. Now the indecisiveness in the field is also on display at the negotiating table. Both the Phillies and Rowand last week declined the mutual options for 2007 that were in his original White Sox contract. The potential 2007 deal concerned either a $3.25M player option or $5M club option.
It is likely though that Rowand will stay in Philadelphia under a new deal. "He’s going to be here," Gillick said. "It’s just that there’s a difference of opinion of what his compensation should be." In other words, Rowand’s 2007 contract will be decided by an arbitrator since he is now eligible for salary arbitration as a five-plus player. Now although Gillick said Aaron would return, he did not say for sure he would be starting in center field. Shane Victorino has shown that he is more than capable of playing and contributing everyday, so perhaps Rowand might be relegated to bench duty. This would not be such a bad idea despite the approximately $4 million salary he will be earning. It has often been said that Rowand’s biggest contribution to the team is his gritty attitude and playoff experience. A bench role would allow Rowand to continue this role while also preventing his reckless play. His offensive numbers were not stellar last year, but he still could provide some pop off the bench. It will be interesting to see what happens to him in the off season, not only in terms of his contract, but also because he has still not officially recovered from his broken left ankle.