Giants cut ties with Tejada, Rowand
Seeking shakeup, club activates Burrell, adds Fresno's Pill
SAN FRANCISCO -- As the Giants head toward September in an offensive rut and quickly sliding out of postseason contention, they decided a roster shakeup was in order.To that end, the club designated veterans Aaron Rowand and Miguel Tejada for assignment on Wednesday morning, activated Pat Burrell off the 15-day disabled list and purchased the contract of Brett Pill from Triple-A Fresno. General manager Brian Sabean said he would try to trade Rowand and Tejada by Wednesday night's 9 p.m. PT deadline so they could continue their careers and join a contender's postseason roster. If they can not be dealt, the veterans have 10 days to accept their assignment or be released. "We're at a spot in the season where we have to do some damage control with the roster, and a couple things played into it. In both cases, there was diminished playing time, diminished roles," Sabean said. "As we go forward and have a chance to add a Pill or moreso bring some of these young guys in the clubhouse, there's only so much room. "After much deliberation, including a long night last night and sleeping on it, we felt that this was the right time to set them free. We appreciate their efforts. Sorry it didn't turn out, but again, it's about managing the roster. There's only 40 spots. It's a lot to do with that, including giving somebody like Pill a chance." Rowand, still owed $12 million from the Giants in 2012, batted .233 (77-for-331) with four home runs and 21 RBIs in 108 games. He had four hits in his last 40 at-bats (.100), and he has struck out 26 times since July 5 without drawing a walk. Sabean said he discussed Rowand's contract status with club ownership -- he is owed roughly $14 million between this year and next -- and it wasn't an issue. The outfielder never turned into the offensive player the Giants hoped he would be when they signed him to a five-year, $60 million contract, never batting higher than .271 or posting an OPS above .750. His role greatly diminished this season with regular time given to outfielders Andres Torres, Cody Ross, Nate Schierholtz, Brandon Belt and Carlos Beltran. "He was brought here for a reason. He fulfilled his obligation as a professional, to try to put us in a spot to help us win a World Series, and he did just that," Sabean said. "We learned from his work ethic and his commitment and his passion. As I told him, there's no regrets. Did it turn out the way we wanted to in the end? Obviously not. But it's time for both parties to move on." "I wish things would have turned out differently," Rowand told MLB.com via text message. "I thank the Giants for the opportunity. I'm gonna miss my teammates and I wish every single one of them the best."
Tejada saw his role equally diminished this season, losing time at shortstop to Mike Fontenot, rookie Brandon Crawford and Trade Deadline acquisition Orlando Cabrera. With Pablo Sandoval holding down third base, Tejada rarely received starts at that position. The 37-year-old former American League MVP even volunteered to play second base earlier this season, and got his first career starts there, just to keep himself in the lineup."Everybody knows what I can do in this game, what I can do in a baseball field," Tejada told the Spanish blog, Beisbol por Gotas. "I would have liked it [to try to help the Giants to win]. It just did not happen."
But Tejada's lack of production was just as noticeable as Rowand's. He batted .239 with a .596 OPS. Most recently, Tejada appeared to represent an attitude problem, even though Giants manager Bruce Bochy nixed that idea. Tejada was asked to lay down a sacrifice bunt on Sunday and appeared reluctant, later explaining he wasn't happy with the request, but he went through with the order and later apologized to Bochy and bench coach Ron Wotus."He came in yesterday and owned up to his mistake and said he did not mean to disrespect Ronnie by any means," Bochy said. "He said he was trying to be honest, but it should have been done in a different way. ... But that had nothing to do with the moves that were made. He owned up to it, and I respect him for that. I respect him as a person and a player." Asked whether the move surprised him, Tejada replied, "Never thought this would happen."
Burrell, who has missed 43 games with a mid right foot strain, played in four rehab games with Class A San Jose and Fresno, going 3-for-13 (.231) with two RBIs. Burrell has hit .233 (40-for-172) with seven home runs and 21 RBIs in 80 games for the Giants this season.Pill is having one of the best offensive seasons in Fresno Grizzlies history, ranking in the top five in the Pacific Coast League in most offensive categories, including hits (167), RBIs (107), doubles (36), extra-base hits (64), total bases (284) and at-bats (536). Bochy said he planned to use the first baseman as a right-handed bat off the bench, occasionally giving him a few starts. But if the Giants -- the lowest-scoring team in the Majors -- continue to struggle at the plate, Pill and a slew of younger September callups could see even more time. If Wednesday's roster moves were a signal that Sabean and Bochy were ready to turn the page, the Giants will have to fight their way back into contention to make sure the book on their World Series title defense isn't already closed. "Obviously we know that it can't continue. If it keeps continuing, we're going to be really, really behind the 8-ball," pitcher Matt Cain said. "We've already put ourselves in a bad situation, playing the way that we have. I guess they just felt like this was the move that needed to be made or something. We're just kind of going with it, really." "It's never easy. I appreciate the efforts of both of these guys. They played hard. They gave you everything they have," Bochy added. "I know it's frustrating on their part because they weren't out there every day. We're trying to mix and match, and we have a lot of guys that are accustomed to being out there every day. "But it comes down to production, too. We were lacking there, and we feel like now we've got to make a change. We've got to get better. It was time to turn the page."
Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Beat reporter Chris Haft contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.