Friday, October 3, 2008

A Look Back At 2008: Jason Gaimbi

It's October and for the first time in 13 years the Yankees won't be playing baseball this month. It was a disappointing season to say the least. Over the next few weeks, I'm going to be taking a look back at the individuals that took part in the 2008 Yankees campaign, offering up some opinions and assigning each person a grade. I hope to do at least one person a day so make sure to check back. And please feel free to add your own thoughts and comments.

Today's look back at 2008 is Jason Giambi.

Several times throughout last season I heard people, mainly the YES crew, remark that Jason Giambi was having a good year. Sure he had his moments but for the most part, Giambi's season, much like all of his previous seasons in Pinstripes, didn't meet my expectations. Giambi was the man in Oakland. In New York, not so much. He had a great year his 1st year in Pinstripes, hitting .314 with 41 bombs and 122 RBI. Since then his average has never topped .271. His lowest average in 6 full years in Oakland was .291. His career numbers, which are benefited by the great years he had in Oakland are .286 with an .408 OBP and a SLG % of .942. Giambi's 2008 #s were all below his career average.

Giambi finished the year hitting .247 (13 points below his career avg in NY) with an OBP of .373 and a SLG % of .502. I don't remember if teams put the shift, or the "martini glass defense" as Michael Kay stupidly calls it, on Giambi in Oakland. His #s have definitely taken a hit because of the shift. My favorite Giambi moment of the year was when he singled through the shift against Baltimore and the YES cameras caught him flipping off someone on the O's defense, my guess being Brian Roberts or the RF. Giambi was able to 32 HR and knocked in 96 RBI. Not bad but I'd expect better considering the guys that hit in front of him and the fact that the stadium is built for LH power hitters. Giambi only hit .213 (32-150) with an OPS of .692 when runners were in scoring position. In his last "full" season, which was 2006, with RISP the Big G hit .271 (36-133) with an OPS of 1.147. Giambi's numbers with RISP were definitely lacking and his performance was one of the many that resulted in the Yankees scoring 179 fewer runs than they did in 2007. Had the Yankees scored those runs, I likely wouldn't be writing these look backs yet.

In the field, Giambi as expected was atrocious. His fielding percentage was .990 which ranks him 10th out of 11 for all qualifying AL first basemen. The lowest in the league was .988. Giambi's glove/arm has never been his strong suit. Any time he has to make a throw is an adventure. It seemed like every time he had to make a throw to 2nd he botched it, looking awkward in the process. It would have been nice to DH him more but Giambi for some reason performs better at the plate when he plays the field. The Yanks also really had no room for him to DH with having an extra OF most of the year.

Giambi's contract is up if the Yanks don't exercise the team option on him. If they pick him up his 2009 salary would be about $22 million. The Yankees can buy it out for $5 million. I like the Big G and all. He's one of the nicest guys in the game. But the Yanks are better off buying him out for $5 million and using what's left over to pick up someone else. You can get a lot for $17 million. I'm not sure what's available but one would think you could find a guy to put up those same numbers, if not better, for $17 million or less. I'd roll that $ into a contract for Mark Teixeira myself. It's ultimately Cash's call. Hope he makes the right one and cuts Giambi loose.

Jason's overall season was pretty much par for the course. I've always expected him to do better than he does and he always comes in about the same. His numbers with RISP definitely hurt the team. J-Boogie's 2008 final grade for Jason Giambi is a C-. Feel free to post your own grades or comments.

If you want to check out any of the previous 2008 look backs, click on this link "2008 Look Back." It'll take you to my previous look back posts. Next up: Robbie Cano

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


6 comments: said...

I'd give him a D. Yeah, he hit some game-winning homers, but as you point out his record with RISP was abysmal. And his defense was equally bad. And let's not forget the "lost steroid year" when he shrank in size and went on the DL with a mysterious illness that turned out to be a tumor on the pituitary gland (maybe). He came back from that, but it'll always taint his legacy in NY.

Joe said...

Tex will be sought after though. So if the Yanks cannot sign him, or choose not to, then what would you do? said...

Somebody's got to have a good first baseman we can sign/trade for. Juan Miranda is not the answer, and I don't think there's anyone else in the system.

J-Boogie said...

If Tex weren't available i'm not sure what I'd prefer. Not sure who's on the market. Giambi might not be bad but only if the salary is drastically cut. I'd almsot prefer to see them move Posada to 1st base and try to find a catcher. Or sign Abreu and move Damon/Matsui to 1st and land an OF/DH. Who knows? Giambi may ned up being the best option when all is said and done. said...

I don't want us to have a "makeshift" first baseman. No Posada. No Giambi. No Damon/Matsui. If we've learned anything, it's that we need a guy who can show up everyday and catch the ball, never mind throw it.

J-Boogie said...

I have to think Posada is eventually going to first or DH. His arm is going to be way too big of a liability behind the plate. I'm not sure what's out there at first other than Teixeira. They might not have a choice. I suppose a trade for anyone is possible but I'd hate to see them part with a lot. I wish I knew what Cash was thinking/targeting.