Tag: Jason Giambi

Jason Giambi Should Enter Coaching Following Retirement from MLB

Age was just a number for Jason Giambi, as he continued to defy the odds by playing Major League Baseball well into his 40s.

The five-time All-Star finally called it a career on Monday, announcing his retirement after 20 MLB seasons as a member of four different clubs. Giambi released a statement through the New York Daily NewsMark Feinsand to officially declare his intentions.

Below is an excerpt from his announcement:

Ever since I was five years old, all I ever wanted to be was a Major League Baseball player. The Oakland A’s, New York Yankees, Colorado Rockies and Cleveland Indians were a big part of helping that dream come true.

To the managers, coaches and players, it’s been a tremendous honor sharing the field with you and thank you very much.  

To the writers, local and national, and to the broadcasters, I want to express my appreciation to the media for covering the game we all love. 

I want to thank the fans for being a part of this incredible journey. I especially want to thank the fans that gave me a second chance to let me show you the human being you see today.

Perhaps Giambi won’t step away from Major League Baseball entirely just yet, though.

The Cleveland Indians were the last team Giambi played for, and they left him an offer to work in a non-playing role in the event he retired, per CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman (h/t HardballTalk’s Craig Calcaterra):

Giambi is 44 years of age. Although he isn’t as nimble as he once was—a fact that likely played a factor in his decision to retire—the longtime slugger can still swing the bat.

And teach others to do so.

There’s little doubt about the passion Giambi has for the game, given how long he stuck with it as his skills waned. His statement even declares how he’s wanted to be part of Major League Baseball since he was five years old, so it’d be hard to envision him being completely out of the game in 2015 and beyond.

One asset Giambi brought to the dish was his keen eye at the plate, which helped him still draw walks and increased his value even when his physical tools were diminishing.

To be fair, Giambi has long been far removed from his heyday with the Oakland Athletics, where he peaked with a whopping 8.8 Wins Above Replacement in 2001. But to relay some of the thoughts he had when he was in that type of zone would be invaluable to younger players or even veterans trying to dig out of a hitting slump.

Giambi’s words from this last September, when retirement was still a concept he wrestled with, captures the type of personality and love of the game that make him an ideal coaching candidate, per The Associated Press, via ESPN.com:

I’ve been playing this game since I was five years old. That’s your whole life. If you look at it, it’s 40 years of doing the same thing. It’s been unbelievable. It’s been fun. But, I still haven’t made a decision about what I’m going to do yet. Who knows? Maybe somebody’s looking for a broken down 44-year-old to kind of take a few extra hacks.

Serving strictly as a designated hitter in his latter playing days would actually make for a logical transition to focusing on that element of the game if Giambi opts to occupy the dugout.

MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian took time to highlight how productive Giambi was at the dish:

With career numbers consisting of a .277 batting average, 2,010 hits, 440 home runs and 1,441 RBI, Giambi warrants at least some consideration for Cooperstown. He definitely has the resume fit to be a hitting coach or mentor an MLB club in some other capacity.

Regarding Giambi’s personality and how he’d contribute to a positive clubhouse culture, the following testimony from longtime Indians executive Mark Shapiro is telling:

Whether Giambi winds up as a Hall of Famer someday should depend on voters’ perception over time of his admitted steroid use—an issue that has tainted many players from Giambi’s era.

As a coach, Giambi could spin his difficult experiences into a positive. Dealing with off-field controversy is something he had to endure amid that scandal. It’s another area where he would be a tremendous asset as a coach.

Any team that would take on Giambi would be adding an animated veteran presence to the clubhouse, with a wealth of knowledge about hitting to boot. If he wasn’t well liked among peers, Giambi probably wouldn’t have continued getting calls to suit up when his playing career was on the decline.

Now Giambi has a chance to parlay his unique, two-decade legacy as a professional player to remain around Major League Baseball through coaching, which many of the sport’s enthusiasts would have to enjoy.

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Jason Giambi Retires: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

After a long, illustrious and at times controversial career that began in 1995 with the Oakland Athletics, Jason Giambi announced his retirement from Major League Baseball on Monday.

In his statement published by the New York Daily News, Giambi thanked his family and friends for the support over the years before turning to the folks in baseball who helped him along the way. Here is an excerpt:

Ever since I was five years old, all I ever wanted to be was a Major League Baseball player. The Oakland A’s, New York Yankees, Colorado Rockies and Cleveland Indians were a big part of helping that dream come true.

To the managers, coaches and players, it’s been a tremendous honor sharing the field with you and thank you very much.

To the writers, local and national, and to the broadcasters, I want to express my appreciation to the media for covering the game we all love.

I want to thank the fans for being a part of this incredible journey. I especially want to thank the fans that gave me a second chance to let me show you the human being you see today.

Lastly, to the game of baseball: I started playing you when I was a kid and I’m leaving you a man. Thank you.

Giambi spent 20 years in baseball, hitting a lifetime .277 with 2,010 hits, 440 home runs and 1,441 RBI. He was a five-time MLB All-Star and won the American League MVP award in 2000. The first baseman also won the Silver Slugger award in 2001 and 2002.

He last suited up for the Cleveland Indians in 2014 but only appeared in 26 games during the season before entering free agency in October.

His career was marked by some controversy amid the steroid era, however. In 2004, it came to light that Giambi admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs to a federal grand jury in 2003. He didn’t publicly admit he took steroids until 2007, when he chastised Major League Baseball and its players for not apologizing for the steroid era.

Howard Bryant of ESPN favorably remembers how Giambi handled the controversy:

It’s hard to say what Giambi’s legacy will be going forward, as is the case with many of the players who were entangled in the steroid controversy. But all things considered, he was one of the finest hitters of his generation and a truly dominant player from 1999 to 2003.

History will decide whether the numbers he posted—and the numbers posted by his contemporaries—can be trusted. For a stretch during his prime, though, there were few players in baseball better than Giambi.


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Jason Giambi Signing Signal No Jim Thome for Indians?

According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, the Cleveland Indians are close to finalizing a minor league deal with former Rockies slugger Jason Giambi.  The contract would also include an invitation to spring training.  

The 41-year-old Giambi will be competing for a spot on the bench as a left-handed designated hitter and would give the Indians depth at first base.  

The 18-year veteran had a dismal year last season, batting .225 with only one home run, eight RBI and seven runs scored in 89 at-bats.  However, this was following a year where he hit .260 with 13 home runs, 32 RBI and 20 runs scored in only 131 at-bats playing part-time off the bench.  

Giambi is a lifetime .280 hitter, with 429 home runs, 1,405 RBI and 1,203 runs scored in 7,021 at-bats.  The former 2000 American League MVP is also a five-time All-Star, a two-time Silver Slugger and has received MVP votes seven times in his career, but has also never won a World Series ring in seven postseason appearances.  

Though Giambi is obviously way past his prime as far as a day-to-day player is concerned, he’ll still add valuable left-handed power off of the bench. If he can stay healthy, will almost certainly reach double digits in home runs, RBI and runs scored.  

However, does Giambi’s signing mean that the Indians will not be pursuing fan favorite Jim Thome?

Even though Giambi’s potential deal comes at very low risk to the Indians, from a fan and marketing perspective, they should have brought Thome back and let him retire in an Indians uniform.  

And though Giambi had a decent 2011 campaign, both he and Thome project to have the same kind of offensive significance going into 2013.  Both are massive left-handed power threats off the bench, so why not sign Thome over Giambi?  

Though fans may be disappointed that Thome will not be returning, this deal can only benefit the tribe if Giambi is able to stay healthy.   

Stay tuned…

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Cleveland Indians Sign Jason Giambi to Minor League Contract

It’s been a busy offseason for the Cleveland Indians, and even with spring training coming up fast, it seems general manager Chris Antonetti has no intentions of slowing down.

The newest move: signing Jason Giambi.

It was reported Saturday night on the Cleveland Indian’s Twitter account that the team has agreed to sign first baseman/DH Jason Giambi to a minor league deal, with an invite to spring training:

As MLB.com’s Dan Plesac reported, Giambi’s deal would pay him $750,000 if he makes the team’s major league roster:

Giambi heads to the Tribe with a career 429 home runs and 1,405 RBI. His .926 career OPS ranks 46th all time. This will be his 19th major league season.

The slugger has had major drop-offs in production since 2008, his last season with the New York Yankees in which he hit 32 home runs.

Over the last four seasons, Giambi has split time between the Oakland Athletics and Colorado Rockies. In that time, he’s served predominately as a pinch-hitter or bench player.

In those same four years, he’s averaging less than 80 games and 10 home runs a season.

If Giambi does make the team, he’ll mostly likely become a DH candidate. As it stands, the Indians are lacking any serious contenders outside of Matt LaPorta and prospect Chris McGuiness.

At 42 years old, Giambi would instantly become the oldest member of the 2013 Indians roster. The next closest would be Nick Swisher and Brett Myers, both of whom are 32 years old.

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MLB: Former Players Destined to Be Managers

In the past decade, a trend has taken over major league baseball front offices as they try to perfect their World Series formulas and put together the perfect baseball team. 

One of the most important decisions a general manager makes is not only who will play which position, but also who will reign over the team on a daily basis, make lineup changes, decide who pitches and control the clubhouse. 

Managers of baseball teams are given much of the credit when their team wins, and take most of the blame when their team loses. Some would argue that the manager is the most important man on the payroll. 

Among most of the recently hired managers, many are former players and are recent retirees. Robin Ventura, Joe Girardi (when he was hired in 2006), Mike Matheny and Dale Sveum lead a list of former players who are landing gigs as a skipper of a team rather than playing. 

What other former players will manage in the MLB one day?  

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Philadelphia Phillies: Are They Interested in Jim Thome or Jason Giambi?

After acquiring Hunter Pence from the Houston Astros just yesterday, it looks like the Philadelphia Phillies have no intentions of slowing down.

Jayson Stark tweeted earlier that the Phillies may be interested in another power hitter, specifically Jason Giambi or former Phillie Jim Thome. The tweet stated:

Next #Phillies move might not be for an arm. Still have interest in HR threat off the bench like Jason Giambi. Even asked on Thome.

When everyone in the lineup is healthy, the current bench players include: Ben Francisco, Brian Schneider, Wilson Valdez, Michael Martinez and Ross Gload.

There isn’t much power there.

Considering Schneider is the backup catcher, the Phillies probably want to replace Gload, who has just six RBI this year with no home runs.

The Phillies were rumored earlier in the week to be interested in Giambi and he “appeared almost certain to go to Philly” according to Troy Renck, who covers the Rockies. But Thome is a brand new name.

Although Giambi and Thome are both 40 years old, I think they would be solid fits for the Phillies. 

Giambi is used to the “bench-power guy” role with the Rockies and has done a great job with it by hitting 10 HR and knocking in 24 runs so far this season.

Thome, on the other hand, has been a valuable DH for the Twins. In just 52 games this year (he suffered an injury this year), he has seven home runs and had 25 last year in just 108 games.

Both of these guys still have some pop in their bat and could become valuable options for the playoffs. Just think of them as playing the same role Matt Stairs did in 2008.

If the Phillies can get one of these guys for cheap, I say go for it. Besides, wouldn’t you want to see Thome hit his 600th home run in a Phillies jersey? 

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MLB Steroid Scandal: The Case for Barry Bonds

The fate of Barry Bonds appears to be close at hand.

On Monday, Bonds’ former mistress, Kimberly Bell, recounted that the former Giants star told her in 1999 that he had taken steroids to recover from elbow surgery.

The next day, slugger Jason Giambi took the stand and stated that he had received a shipment of testosterone from Bonds trainer, Greg Anderson, in 2002. When asked by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Nedrow if he understood what he had received was a steroid Giambi simply replied, “Yes.”

Wednesday, the prosecution called scientists from Qwest diagnostics to testify about the 2003 MLB series of drug tests, in which the Feds claims Bonds’ sample tested positive. It was damning evidence and it proved absolutely…nothing. Zilch.

Look, we all know by now that Barry Bonds is not a real nice guy. We didn’t necessarily need to hear the threatening, psychotic voicemails he left on Kimberly Bell’s answering machine to confirm that notion. Most of Bonds’ insecurity and surliness was already recounted in Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams’ excellent Game of Shadows.

We all know that Bonds is a former steroid user, as well. He already admitted to using them, albeit unknowingly, in his testimony to the BALCO grand jury. But that’s not the underlying basis of the US Government’s case against one Barry Lamar Bonds.

Bonds stands on trial for false statements he made to the BALCO grand jury, chief among them being that when Anderson administered the designer steroids known as the “cream” and the “clear” to him, Bonds was under the mistaken belief that he was ingesting flaxseed oil and arthritic balm.

In other words, the government must prove that when Barry Bonds said he didn’t know he was taking steroids, he actually did know he was taking steroids. The only two who can testify to Bonds’ knowledge are Bonds himself and Anderson, neither of which appear ready to talk.

What we, the viewing public, have received instead has been a steady stream of individuals testifying that they heard Bonds say he was using steroids, saw him disappear into a bathroom with Anderson and even how much the slugger’s testicles shrank. All of which proves nothing other than the fact that Barry Bonds is prone to disappear into bathrooms with friends and apparently has a size problem between his legs.

It’s impossible to prove that Bonds is lying when he says he didn’t know what he was taking unless he himself comes right out and admits it. Bell’s eye measurements regarding Bonds’ nether regions prove nothing other than it was probably a really cold day and simply because Giambi understood what he was taking, doesn’t necessarily mean Bonds did.

I know, that’s a ludicrous statement as the preponderance of the evidence indicates that not only was Bonds aware he was ingesting PEDs, but was actively involved in how they were administered.

But this is a criminal case and a preponderance of the evidence is not the standard under which the government must make its case.

The government must prove that Bonds lied beyond the shadow of a doubt, and that’s just not going to happen, which means that this entire courtroom circus is a monumental waste of time.

This entire case has become nothing more than an exercise in ruing an already tarnished reputation and seems aimed at nothing more than embarrassing Bonds and declaring a set of truths the entire world is already well aware of. That’d be fine and dandy if it didn’t cost so much taxpayer money.

According to most estimates, the government has already spent a staggering $50 million investigating and trying Bonds. Think about that for a second. $50 million to prove that 762 is not as significant as 755, and that, outside of Fisherman’s Wharf, 61 is still better than 73.

$50 dollars to prove that Bonds is a really, really big jerk. It’s such a waste of time and money and it’s fair to question just why the government is going through with it.

I mean really, let’s face it, was what Bonds did really that bad? It’s not as if he murdered anyone. He’s not a sex offender. Does he really deserve to be facing down a significant stretch of time in a federal penitentiary?

Some of you out there are screaming that he cheated the game, but let me ask you, does that really justify a stint in the slammer? In my opinion, what Bonds did pales in comparison to the actions of Shoeless Joe Jackson and the 1919 Black Sox who, you know, only threw a World Series and may have cavorted with members of organized crime.

There’s also the fact that the steroid scandal in baseball wasn’t merely isolated to Bonds and Anderson. It didn’t start and it certainly didn’t end with them. Sure, the games cleaner now that they’ve been exposed, but does any really doubt the ubiquity of PEDs in American Sports? More importantly, does anyone really care?

Admit it, you don’t really care about steroids in sports. The American public certainly doesn’t care, as baseball attendance has increased since the steroid scandal broke, and that bastion of steroid use, the NFL, is so wildly successful that those involved are threatening to kill an entire season because they can’t learn how to share the enormous revenue stream that game generates.

People don’t really care about steroids. What really raises their ire is the righteous indignation displayed by certain individuals who get caught.

It’s why A-Rod isn’t afraid to show his face off the diamond, it’s why Rodney Harrison can smile at us from the TV screen before Sunday Night Football and why Andy Pettite is still respected by the baseball establishment. They’re among those athletes who showed contrition when they were caught using.

It’s also why the public reacts with such vitriol when the name Barry Bonds is mentioned. He reacted with disbelief and maintained his innocence even as the evidence began to pile up. He lashed out at his accusers and taunted the media.

Remember how “tired” Bonds was of the accusations? It also doesn’t help that Bonds was and is renowned as being one of the biggest jerks in the history of sports. Who cares?

The government, apparently, because that seems to be the only reason why they’re pressing ahead with this case. He didn’t cower when confronted with the evidence and didn’t wet himself when confronted by super agent Jeff Novitzky and that seems to have really ticked off the Feds.

But being annoyed by Bonds’ defiance is not a sufficient basis for a fruitless criminal trial and it is fruitless because as already stated without Anderson’s testimony or a confession from Bonds the government has no case. They can’t prove he lied.

The government needs to cut its losses and declare defeat. We get it. He did it, we all know it, but they can’t prove he lied about it. So please, stop wasting our time and let this miserable cretin slink away to some gated mansion to live the rest of his life in ignominy. We’d all be better for it.

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15 Former High-Priced MLB Stars Now Proud to Play for Peanuts

Some of the former big names of baseball still linger in the sport today, even if it is just some time in the minor leagues. Some people say that these players should hang up their spurs, because those players do not know when to walk away.

Some of the players who took the biggest contracts in baseball, or at least had an extremely expensive market price, are now contracted to play for mere fractions of the contracts that they were once signed to. This has allowed some players to get good play time for teams who are in desperate need of a rebuild. It also reunited Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez, but some other players are making chump change playing for a minor league team, at least in comparison to what they once made.

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Andy Pettitte Just May Be Baseball’s Favorite Cheater

Andy Pettitte is that soft spoken lefty with the slow Texas drawl. A man dedicated to his faith and his family, tenacious, unflappable in the moment.

He may be among the best pitchers the New York Yankees have ever seen. But he’s also a confessed cheater.

People find it easy to forget that. After all he’s ‘Andy Pettitte’, a good old boy just as likely to read a bible as a scouting report but it is a fact nonetheless. The most shocking revelation to come out of the Mitchell Report, the most easily excused and dismissed of all the PED indiscretions in an era marred by them.

The apologists sang that it was merely HGH and not steroids. They said he was only trying to heal faster in an effort to help his team win games. Sportswriters weakly jabbed when they could have gone in for the kill and his teammates stood beside him without exception.

No player before or after has ever received the public support of the fans and other players more than Andy Pettitte on the day of his repentant press conference, not Alex Rodriguez, and certainly not Jason Giambi. A press conference that felt more like a wake and a rally to help him get through the hard times.

The championships, the post season dominance, a two time 21 game winner, and three time all-star, the first word that comes to mind when I think of Andy Pettitte isn’t “cheater” and I wonder why. I wonder why that isn’t the case with Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Palmeiro, and Roger Clemens. I wonder why they don’t get to hide from their tarnished legacies the way Andy Pettitte does.

Andy Pettitte may never make it to the Hall of Fame and his PED use may play a part in that. Exceptionally good but not great, Pettitte wasn’t a baseball God like the others. He was hardly ever featured on the cover of magazines, never the story, never “the guy”. He was a grinder, not a star beyond our reach.

Even now we understand Pettittes decision to leave the game at a relatively young age. We understand that the man doesn’t want to be away from his family anymore and we empathize in a way that we never do with pro athletes. Andy Pettitte was authentic even when he wasn’t; he was never presented as the perfect player, or the perfect guy, never packaged.

No the first word I think of when I think of Andy Pettitte isn’t “cheater” its “throwback”, and that’s why his cheating stings a little more.

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Rafael Palmeiro: Deny Him the Hall of Fame To Protect the Game

On paper, Rafael Palmeiro is a sure-fire Hall of Famer. Unfortunately, in the real world he is not. He is the poster boy for the steroid era, and he in turn sullied the game the same way others like Rose and the Black Sox did.

Despite vehemently denying the use of steroids, he failed a steroid test, was named by Jose Canseco as a user and he was also named in the Mitchell Report. The amount of evidence against him is staggering, and because of that evidence, Palmeiro must be kept out of the Hall of Fame.

So far, the Hall has been able to keep itself uncorrupted from all the problems and illegalities that have plagued the game over the last hundred years. Letting Palmeiro into the Hall of Fame sets a precedent, allowing all other steroid users in, and justifying baseball’s gilded age. For the sake of the purity of the game, we must keep Palmeiro and all other steroid users out of the Hall of Fame.

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