Bruce Bochy is taking the blame for Aaron Rowand's dip in offensive production in 2008. The Giants' manager says that he overworked Rowand last season, and plans to find more opportunities for his center fielder to rest.
There's nothing wrong with a manager shouldering blame for a player's performance, but let's hope no one is taking him seriously.
Rowand actually played in nine fewer games in 2008 than in 2007, and actually played the field in 149 games as opposed to 161 the previous year. His plate appearances also declined nearly ten percent from '07 to '08. Rest is not the issue.
There's no questioning Aaron "I Fought the Wall and the Wall Won" Rowand's dedication, desire, and all-around hustle. He simply is what he is (apologies to Dennis Green). 2007 was an aberration for Rowand.
He did his hitting in cozy Citizen's Bank Park amidst a lineup of players like Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Pat Burrell. Prior to 2007, he had never been selected to the All-Star Game, won a Gold Glove, or received a single vote for MVP. His numbers last season are very close to his career averages, with a slight drop in home runs and batting average, and a modest increase in doubles.
The only serious dip is in runs scored, which can be attributed to the failure of light-hitting teammates to drive him in.
Rowand is a good player, but not a great player. The Giants overpaid for his career year. Rest won't make him the player he was in 2007, but surrounding him in the batting order with some good hitters would help.
Of course, given the current state of the Giants, rest is probably the only realistic option.