Originally Posted by Foulke You
Rowand got 5 years and $60 million from the Giants. No way would the Sox have come close to paying him that and rightfully so. (The Sox did kick the tires on Rowand when he became a free agent after his season in Philly and took a pass when they heard the asking price) The Giants took a bath on the back end of that Rowand contract as he started to decline in a hurry and became a really expensive 4th outfielder for them.
The Giants overpaid Rowand, no question, but the decline wasn't all that quick. Rowand was in his third year with the Giants in 2010 and was leading off. He had been an everyday player in his first two seasons, although he didn't have the All-Star season he had in his free agent year in Philadelphia. He actually got off to a great start in 2010, but in a late April game against the Dodgers, he was hit in the face by a Padilla pitch in a 10-8 loss, sidelining him for two weeks. When he came back, he was having trouble making consistent contact, striking out enough that Andres Torres ended up taking his place as the everyday centerfielder and leadoff man, relegating Rowand to the fourth outfielder role, although he did start the clinching game of the World Series against the overmatched Rangers and for the second time in five years was in center in Texas for the last out of the major league baseball season.
Rowand was mostly a fourth outfielder in 2011, although Torres faltered, and was unhappy with his lack of playing time. In an interview with a Chicago newspaper, he said he had been very happy with the White Sox. The interview wasn't taken well in San Francisco, and it seemed to be the final nail in his coffin.
In defense of the Giants releasing him and eating his contract, Rowand never played with another professeional team after the Giants.
Thome provided more offense than Rowand would have for the Sox in 2006. The story is that Konerko re-signed after 2005 because the Sox signed Thome. The problem for the Sox in 2006, though, was the pitching, particularly late in the season.
The real history changer is the Giants offering Rowand so much more than he was worth when it appeared he was going to sign with the Sox after his All-Star season in Philadelphia. Unable to sign Torii Hunter and then Rowand, the Sox traded for Nick Swisher.