Thursday, December 6, 2007

Aaron Rowand Seen Running Towards Los Angeles, the Land of Opportunity for Centerfielders

By last count, there were two baseball teams in the Greater Los Angeles area. Now that Andruw Jones has signed a 2-year, $36 million deal with the Dodgers, those two teams have handed out four large contracts to big name free agent centerfielders in the past 380 days. By the way, if you had held a gun to my head 381 days ago and asked me to name which of those four centerfielders would get the shortest, least lucrative deal, my answer would not have been Andruw Jones. You?

Not that it was a bad move by either Los Angeles team to sign the guy they did in 2007. The key to whether the Dodgers and Angels are smart, however, lies in what they do with their mistake signings from 2006 -- Gary Matthews Jr. and Juan Pierre -- next season. The Angels have a greater margin for error with Matthews, but if I'm a Dodgers fan, and Ned Colletti doesn't manage to turn Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier into Johan Santana or something, I will be sorely disappointed to see Pierre manning left field. Heck, that would disappoint me even if they did deal Kemp.

Anyway, as a Braves fan this deal has me wondering why, exactly, the Braves decided to so thoroughly and decisively wash their hands of Anduw, inasmuch as his deal from the Dodgers represents a mere $9M over two years more than the Braves just got done paying him. You telling me that Atlanta couldn't have found $4M laying around this year? That next year, once Mike Hampton's contract comes off the books, they couldn't go $18M for a one-and-done?


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