Every manager dreams of having players who will literally run through a wall for them. Today, Ozzie Guillen signed a guy who will do just that and potentially more for him.
The Miami Marlins signed Aaron Rowand to a minor league deal today, a deal that includes an invite to Spring Training. All indications are that he’ll be given an opportunity to win a spot on the Marlins’ Opening Day roster, although where he fits in among the team’s crowded young outfield remains to be seen. Rowand becomes the second member of Guillen’s 2005 World Series champion White Sox to join the Marlins in the past week, right on the heels of Mark Buehrle signing a four-year, $58 million deal.
Rowand is coming off a disappointing season for the Giants that saw him hit .233 and post a career low OBP of .274 before getting released at the end of August. He was one of the bigger free agent disappointments in the team’s history, never hitting more than .271 after signing a five-year, $60 million contract prior to the 2008 season.
This is about as low risk of a signing as you’ll see the Marlins make given their expensive taste this offseason. Rowand is a proven winner, having been a part of two World Series champions. He also comes cheap, at the veteran minimum if he makes the Opening Day roster, with the Giants paying him $11.5 million in the final year of that awful contract. He’s known for being a good clubhouse chemistry guy and, perhaps most importantly, he knows Guillen and can help his younger teammates adapt to their new boss’s somewhat brash managerial style.
Of course, as Charlie pointed out in our editorial e-mails earlier today, he’ll likely be ticketed to Triple-A New Orleans and not the big club once camp breaks, where he’d be playing for former White Sox Greg Norton. In New Orleans, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to see if he can rediscover the stroke that made him an All-Star in Philadelphia and a fan favorite everywhere else he’s been. He’s a career .273 hitter in 11 big league seasons, posting a career fielding percentage of .989 and WAR of 20.2, so if he pans out, this goes down as a solid reserve signing.