With no financial incentives at stake, free agent Aaron Rowand could simply pick and choose from the situations he liked best this winter. On Monday, he made his commitment, signing a minor league deal to battle for playing time in the Marlins outfield.
Rowand hit .233/.274/.347 with four homers in 331 at-bats before being released by the Giants last season. The five-year, $60 million deal he signed with San Francisco still has one year left on it, so the Marlins will only be on the hook for the major league minimum if he makes the team.
The 34-year-old Rowand figures to battle Emilio Bonifacio and Chris Coghlan for playing time in center field. If he earns a spot, it will probably be as a fourth outfielder. Rowand still has an above average glove in center, but considering that he hasn’t been a good hitter since 2007 or an adequate one since 2009, he’s far from a lock to make a contribution in Miami.
The Braves have signed former football player and current outfielder Sanders Commings, an Augusta, Georgia native, to a minor league contract, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
Commings, 26, was a defensive back who played for the University of Georgia before being selected by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. He appeared in two games in the 2013 season.
Commings also played baseball for Westside High School and was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 37th round of the 2008 draft. He chose to attend the University of Georgia instead. When football didn’t pan out, Commings started training with Jerry Hairston, Jr. Hairston said he was “blown away” when he saw Commings hit for the first time.
Obviously, Commings’ path to success as a professional baseball player will be long, but it’s a no-risk flier for the Braves. The club has past experience with football players, including Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan.
The next task for the Braves will be to acquire Ryan Goins from the Blue Jays. That way, players will look at the lineup card each day to see if it’s Commings or Goins.
On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”
Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:
To that, Archer said:
For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.