Marlins Sign Aaron Rowand Following Their Old Template

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The Marlins don’t really have a center fielder unless they’re willing to put Chris Coghlan out there again; Aaron Rowand has been a Gold Glove center fielder in the past; at 34 obviously he’s not as good as he was, but he can still play the position. Given that the Marlins signed him to a minor league deal and would be paying him the big league minimum if he makes the team (the Giants released him and will be paying the bulk of his $12 million salary), what’s the harm?

Rowand is also a hard-nosed tough guy who’ll be more than willing to get in the face of a teammate who’s either pouting or not playing hard. (See Hanley Ramirez.)

The “hard-nosed” reference is a fitting adjective after breaking his nose crashing into the fence in Citizens Bank Park against the Mets in 2006 to make a game-saving catch.

I’m a fan of Coghlan, but the Marlins demoted him last season because he wasn’t hitting and he seems to be on the outs with the organization. Emilio Bonifacio played some center field, but is more of a roving utilityman type rather than an everyday center fielder.

Why not see if Rowand has anything left?

The big question with him is whether or not he’s healthy; but the signing makes perfect sense considering the hole the Marlins have at the position and the personalities they’re accumulating in that clubhouse. If he’s able to play, Rowand can help them a lot and he’s costing them almost nothing.

I’m not sure what the critics want from the Marlins. For years they scrimped, saved and treated their players and fans like fools; they used political trickery to get their new ballpark built at a minimal cost to the organization and are now spending big money on players and are still getting criticized.

So what would happen if they were entering the new ballpark and conducted Marlins business as usual, scoured the scrapheaps and refused to invest in the on-field product? What would be said then?

They signed an All Star shortstop (Jose Reyes); a veteran closer (Heath Bell); one of the most durable starting pitchers in recent memory (Mark Buehrle); and made a legitimate offer to Albert Pujols.

Now they’re taking their old familiar tack—one that worked in finding the likes of Cody Ross, Jorge Cantu and Dan Uggla—and taking players that other teams didn’t want and seeing if they can get cheap production from them.

If the club thinks Rowand can possibly help them, of course he’s worth a look; and if he’s unable, they can release him at almost no cost.

Some think this is funny and I’m not understanding why.

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