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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Giambi reportedly in great shape

Posted by: Peter Abraham - Posted in Misc on Feb 16, 2008 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Spent some time with Ian Kennedy this morning and he was telling me about his house in Henderson, Nev., right outside of Las Vegas.

Jason Giambi lives in Las Vegas, so I asked IPK whether he had hung out with the Big G this winter.

Turns out he didn’t. But he ran into a friend of Giambi’s who informed him that Jason has been working hard since November. The Big G has dropped a lot of weight, has been hitting nearly every day and will show up next week in great shape.

In other news, the Journal News has learned that Giambi is in the final year of his contract.

Whatever the motive, a healthy Giambi could be a force for the Yankees hitting fifth or sixth.

 
 

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54 Responses to “Giambi reportedly in great shape”

  1. Fran February 16th, 2008 at 10:30 am

    As you said Pete Giambi in in his walk year. That usually motivates players to be in great shape.

  2. Tidrow February 16th, 2008 at 10:31 am

    Why does it always take a player to get to the last year of his contract before he gets into great shape? The answer is obvious but nonetheless frustrating.

  3. Deryck February 16th, 2008 at 10:32 am

    I may be naive or a lush but I’m happy about this. I may also be a homerun whore but I like a healthy Giambi in my DH spot much more than a healthy Matsui.

  4. Clay Bellinger February 16th, 2008 at 10:35 am

    I won’t be keeping my hopes up on this one.

  5. Mark Alan February 16th, 2008 at 10:44 am

    I’ve to idly speculate whether Alex showing up at camp in superlative shape last year might have left an impression on Giambi. He knows what he can do if he prepares himself, so he’s giving it a shot.

    I’m with Deryck, in that I like some pop from the DH, (but we might also get that from Matsui, formerly “Godzilla.”) My memory tells me that Giambi was an great pinch hitter last year, albeit an expensive one.

    Nah, if Giambi can platoon at 1b and at DH, if he does have a good year, the offense will be that much more explosive.

  6. woodchuck February 16th, 2008 at 10:46 am

    Walk year is correct Fran. And look for Abreu, and Mussina to come in looking good also.

  7. J-Dawg--Veintisiete en '08 February 16th, 2008 at 10:56 am

    Giambi can still be a force in the lineup if he can avoid the injury bug. Making him the regular DH will do wonders for his health. If he has to play first base, then it is probably just a matter of time before he gets injured. Giambi gets a lot of press for his power, but I believe that his eye at the plate is underrated. He is an expert at getting on base by working the count and drawing walks.

  8. Patrick February 16th, 2008 at 10:57 am

    Money talks I guess..

  9. Brian February 16th, 2008 at 11:15 am

    For the lack of discussion on Giambi through the offseason (other than by route of steroids), this is awesome news.

  10. Guiseppe Franco February 16th, 2008 at 11:21 am

    I said months ago that the Yanks should use Giambi’s contract year to their advantage.

    He’s playing for a job next season because he knows damn well that he isn’t going to be wearing pinstripes in 2009.

    There should no lack of motivation from the Giambino this season. Let’s hope that translates into results.

  11. whozat February 16th, 2008 at 11:23 am

    The thing I like most is that he’s dropped weight. I remember last year he came in even more bulked up with muscle, which can’t have helped his joints, mobility or flexibility.

    I hope that he’s more limber than he’s been in past years, to avoid the assorted strains and joint injuries that have plagued him.

    Giambi won’t hit for average any more, but he’s still on base 40% of the time and can pull 30 homers out if he plays 130 games. I’m on board for that.

  12. Guiseppe Franco February 16th, 2008 at 11:24 am

    Of course, a lot of players have come to camp in great shape and have followed up with terrible or injury-plagued seasons.

  13. OldYanksFan February 16th, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Whether it’s the steroids, injuries or poor defense, I still think Giambi gets a bad rap from many fans. In his 6 years with the Yankees, even with ‘steroids withdrawal’, an unknown virus, a tumor and a bone spur, he has still managed a 6 years OPS of .930+. That ain’t too shabby, and is 2nd best on the team below ARod (who is around .970+).
    He has also had a sick OBP of around .410.

    In 2006, when Jeter had his ‘MVP Year’, Giambi may have been more valuable with his .970 OPS and 37 HRs.

    If he is healthy and gets 500 ABs, he turns an excellent offense into a brutal offense. You won’t see them pitching around ARod much if Giambi bats 5th.

    Time will tell, but I feel a healthy Giambi has us beating Boston.

  14. Yankee Bhoy February 16th, 2008 at 11:46 am

    My question is — how is Giambi going to get regular ABs?

    Presumably, the full-time RF/CF/LF = Abreu/Cabrera/Damon. Matsui may not play much outfield because of his apparent knee issues and anyway, he’s the fourth-best defensive OF of the bunch.

    So that leaves Matsui as the presumptive regular DH unless he gets platooned (which seems unlikely if he’s healthy). The only spot remaining is to play Giambi at first, at least against RHPs.

    Of course, all of the key players are lefty (Cabrera’s a switch-hitter), so a platoon really doesn’t make sense (other than to rest players).

    So the only way to put together the Yanks’ best offensive lineup against RHP — the majority of pitchers — on any given day is to play Giambi at first. And unfortunately, that can only end badly.

    Giambi was and can again be a great hitter, but with the 2008 roster as currently constructed, he doesn’t fit. Say what you want about Girardi vs. Torre, but at least on this count, I think Girardi’s the best person to figure out creative ways to utilize Giambi and maximize his potential contributions.

  15. Abuser February 16th, 2008 at 11:47 am

    Back on the juice ?

  16. Abuser2 February 16th, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Back on the juice ?

  17. henner February 16th, 2008 at 11:52 am

    when giambi is hot he gives the team a huge lift

  18. whozat February 16th, 2008 at 11:54 am

    “Matsui may not play much outfield because of his apparent knee issues and anyway, he’s the fourth-best defensive OF of the bunch.”

    On some of the days when Wang and Pettitte start, putting Matsui in LF and Damon in center (or on the bench for rest) would really not be the worst thing in the world. Then Giambi could DH those days, play 1B sometimes and rest other times.

  19. Jay February 16th, 2008 at 11:59 am

    Giambi has made approximately ten ba-zillion dollars from the Yankees. If he had the capability to get into a slimmed-down, strong good shape and didn’t and is now doing it only to get a new contract, then I lose all respect for him.

  20. Yankee Bhoy February 16th, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    whozat — interesting point (give up a bit of OF defense when the ground-ball specialists are on the mound).

    Of course, you’d probably want to be particularly careful about putting Giambi at 1B on those days because of the higher likelihood of more plays at (or at least throws to) first base. He’s probably best off at DH on those days, which leaves Damon on the bench or perhaps at first. And that’s the problem — playing Giambi sets off chain reactions in the lineup and/or on the field (e.g., sitting your leadoff hitter (Damon) or playing Damon out of position at 1B).

  21. george February 16th, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    I’m confused by Pete’s post, as it implies that Giambi has been out of shape the last few years. Is that true?

    I’d never had the impression that this was a problem; I watch a ton of games, and never thought he looked fat.

    And certainly it had never been reported that he was anything but a hard worker in terms of being in shape. I’ve never seen him with the “he’s eating too many doughnuts” look that, say, Damon had early last year.

  22. whoa February 16th, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    I would really like to see them trade Matsui or Damon.

  23. whoa February 16th, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    I don’t think that Giambi was out of shape, except when he came back after the treatment for the tumor. I think he’s just leaner and meaner.

  24. Fleas February 16th, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    A skinny Giambi does not mean anything. In fact, he has no choice to lay off the PED’s. Yes it’s his walk year, but he also has been known to use amphetamines (a.k.a speed) which makes you lose a ton of weight as well since it increases your metabolism trifold.

    Giambi has many monkey’s on his back and bat. He has been suffering from steroid detox, and also speed crashes. His body has been put through it and the injuries show this to be true. Does that mean he can’t rebound? Absoutely not, he can rehab just as well as the next if he is motivated and determined, and a walk-year just may be the thing that does it.

    Will have to see, I for one am not going to amazed if Giambi’s spoils are back at the plate like the last couple years. Though, I have not given up hope for him. Only time will tell.

    I can say this.. Jason deserves respect for being honest about everything. Jason can admit to steroid use, but when Andy does people act so shocked that ANDY did PED’s. I respect Jason for saying it like it is, but people need to stop acting like it’s a surprise when a player gets caught and admits PED use.

    When Jason said that MLB and Selig should just own their part in the Roid scandal, I totally agreed with him.. own your part, suck it up.. deal with the repercussions and move on. Instead we get a biased Mitchell report and more bull-dung to throw in the fire.

    Sheesh… Does anyone know what integrity is anymore?

  25. whozat February 16th, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    “Of course, you’d probably want to be particularly careful about putting Giambi at 1B on those days because of the higher likelihood of more plays at (or at least throws to) first base. He’s probably best off at DH on those days, which leaves Damon on the bench or perhaps at first.”

    Um…did you finish reading my post? I talked about all of the things you just said, except I also mentioned possibly playing Johnny in CF and sitting Melky sometimes, which is another option that would be acceptable with a groundballer on the mound.

    Also, Jason is fine at picking throws, it’s fielding and throwing he’s a disaster at. So, when Pettitte (a lefty) is on the mound, there will probably be mostly righties in the opposing lineup, and so the effects of Jason at 1B would be even further alleviated. You’re not going to get a lot of hotshots at 1B off a righty bat with a lefty on the mound.

    anyhow, the main point here is that having two groundballers and Jason capable of playing 1B sometimes and Matsui capable of playing LF sometimes creates enough options that I think ABs can be found for everyone. All the following setups are options:

    CF: Melky
    LF: Johnny
    DH: Matsui
    Bench: Jason

    CF: Johnny
    LF: Matsui
    DH: Jason
    Bench: Melky

    CF: Melky
    LF: Matsui
    DH: Jason
    Bench: Johnny

    CF: Melky
    LF: Johnny
    DH: Matsui
    1B: Jason

  26. Y's Guy February 16th, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    i think a healthy giambi (or matsui for that matter) makes great trade bait at the trade deadline for some BP help (just when current thinking has joba switching back to starter!)

  27. whozat February 16th, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    And, you can always reconfigure the D late in games. Sure, sometimes you’d want to give guys full days off, but swapping johnny or melky into the OF for Matsui on a day when the former started on the bench would be totally fine most of the time.

  28. jmo February 16th, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    if giambi, matsui, damon, melky and abreu are all healthy, shelly duncan is the odd man out except for an occasional start against a tough lefty. I know the yanks are RH deficient but there is not question that of that group, shelly’s the weak link. plus with abreu, damon, matsui and giambi getting older a rotating day off woulud be great and still leave each guy getting an off day every week and keeps one big bat on the bench every game. but giambi has to be able to play 1B for this to work

  29. whozat February 16th, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    “i think a healthy giambi (or matsui for that matter) makes great trade bait at the trade deadline for some BP help (just when current thinking has joba switching back to starter!)”

    I think Matsui makes better trade bait, personally, since I think people consider him less of an injury risk. And I think an NL team would be willing to cope with him in LF. Jason…I don’t think anyone would think he can play 1B every day and stay on the field. So…I’d probably rather trade Jason, especially since he’s leaving at the end of the year. But…I think Matsui is a lot more tradeable.

  30. Jay February 16th, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    Hmmm, apparently now everything I write on this blog gets deleted — even when it has noting to do with Pete. Whatever. Anyway…

    “A skinny Giambi does not mean anything. In fact, he has no choice to lay off the PED’s. Yes it’s his walk year, but he also has been known to use amphetamines (a.k.a speed) which makes you lose a ton of weight as well since it increases your metabolism trifold.”

    Okay, fact-check time. He hasn’t been able to use PEDs (outside of HGH, which we have NO knowledge that he did) since 2003. You might want to go back and look at the fact that MLB denied the story about him getting busted for a stimulant. And while speed decreases appetite and increases metabolism (which is why speed was sold as a diet pill in the ’70s and ’80s) you have to be using it all the time, like an addict, and Giambi’s physique clearly shows he was not addicted to it (and if he had been busted more than once — and he actually wasn’t “busted” at all — he would have been suspended).

    “Giambi has many monkey’s on his back and bat. He has been suffering from steroid detox, and also speed crashes. His body has been put through it and the injuries show this to be true. Does that mean he can’t rebound? Absoutely not, he can rehab just as well as the next if he is motivated and determined, and a walk-year just may be the thing that does it.”

    So you just pull this stuff from your backside? There’s no such thing as “steroid detox.” You cycle on and off steroids all the time — your body becomes less strong, you slim down a bit, but it’s not like heroin — you don’t sweat and vomit and have a physical and mental detox. And again: he never did speed — or, at the very least, MLB denied the story. And there’s been no suggestion he was snorting speed in the clubhouse bathroom. He wasn’t some crank-head doing the stuff and staying up for two weeks in a row. You really seem to be confusing the greenies players pop with the meth on the street.

  31. jmo February 16th, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    Isure would make things alot easier if matsui or damon would learn how to play 1st. I know its not easy (Dimaggio sure didnt take to it) but these guys are athelets and if they can put thier ego aside and see how much it would help the team, they might be willing to give it a try.
    Matsui could certainly extend his career that way he certainly puts up #’s that would fit at 1B and his OF defense is deterioratin.

  32. Albany Joe February 16th, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    Fleas, great post.

    re Giambi/Matsui as trade bait @ deadline: Both have full no trade clauses.

  33. whozat February 16th, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    “but these guys are athelets and if they can put thier ego aside and see how much it would help the team, they might be willing to give it a try.”

    Damon already has. The team needs a LFer, and he’s the best one we got, so…what’d be the point?

    As for Matsui, he’s said he’s willing to give it a shot, but he’s been recovering from knee surgery all offseason. When, exactly, would he have been doing this learning?

  34. OldYanksFan February 16th, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    Well…. being out of shape doesn’t always mean being fat. And there is being in shape and being in better shape (Jeter?). So lets hope that both Giambi and Jeter are in ‘better’ shape.

    I don’t know if Mats can play RF, or if JD can play RF. Melky can play RF. We know Mats can play CF in a pinch. JD and Abreu can both stand to be rested from playing the field 20 games each, and Melky 10. So that could be 40-50 starts for Matsui in the OF. Jason can play 1st 20-40 games? Those are DH starts for Mats. Rest Giambi altogether another 30 games and those are DH starts for Mats. So Jason could start 120-130 games and Matsui could start 110-120 games, depending on health and output.

    I like Matsui, but I wonder if we would be better off with him on the Dodgers and having AJax or Gardner up. We would lose some offense, but gain defense, flexibility and speed.

    Especially in 2009, there is a question if JD or Mats is expendable. If we get Tex for 1st base, do we really want to take up the DH spot with a ‘full time’ guy who doesn’t run or field particularly well. Certainly by next year, AJax or Gardner could be our 4th OFer. With 1 year at $13m, Matsui is VERY tradeable to plug whatever hole is needed (BUC, BP help, etc).

    Plus, somewhere along the way, if we want Po to be able to stand upright for 4 years, he will need to DH quite a bit over that time, so maybe a better BUC, who can start 50-60 games is a good idea.

    Anyway, this year, it’s a little of a jungling issue, but
    not that bad. Plus, until we see that his knee is not bothering him, and he can prove he’s good for a .850 OPS or better, we still don’t know what Mats offers. If Jason is healthy, he is a far mosre danger hitter than Matsui, so I’d rather Matsui sit then Giambi… until Giambi gets injured.

    In any event, it’s a good problem to have.
    Also… depending on what Giambi sees for his future, if he has a good year, the Yankees could consider giving him a 1 yr contract for around $10m? My guess is whatever Giambi is worth as a FA, he would much rather stay a Yankee, win a ring (or another ring) and I believe we give us a big time discount.

    That’s a lot of IFs, I know. But still, if he proves he can stay healthy, he’s worth 1 more year as a DH.

    These days, a .900 OPS guy is worth $15m+ as a FA.

    In case you can’t tell, I both like and respect Giambi. I hope he can have a few more good years.

  35. OldYanksFan February 16th, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    Fleas – A skinny Giambi does not mean anything. In fact, he has no choice to lay off the PED’s. Yes it’s his walk year, but he also has been known to use amphetamines (a.k.a speed).
    ———————————————————-
    Dude – You are absolutely as annoying as a…. well, a Flea.
    Giambi posted a .970 OPS AFTER his steroid recovery year. Last year, he had a heel bone spur. You think a bone spur is related to PEDs? And “also has been known to use amphetamines”… you have some documentation for this? Although, at one time, 90% of MLB players used some kind of uppers, so who knows how prevalent they still are.

    One McMoron on this site is enough. If you have allegations against a player, how about backing it up with some links.

  36. whozat February 16th, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    “having AJax or Gardner up. We would lose some offense, but gain defense, flexibility and speed.”

    Well, in the case of Jackson, you’d also be depriving him of development time that he needs. He’s had ONE good half-season — in high A ball, because he’s still raw talent. He is NOT ready for MLB pitching.

    Gardner is fast. That’s about it, unless he shows that his eye and slap-hitting can make him a legit leadoff candidate. Given that Matsui won’t play D that much, I don’t see what value Gardner would bring over Matsui other than removing the need to juggle guys for ABs.

    As for next year…I think that it’s time to cut Jason loose. Matsui can play D enough that he doesn’t need to be a full-time DH, just part-time. And I’d be loathe to trade his power bat after letting Jason’s go.

    Johnny, on the other hand…I’d be willing to trade him next year and move Jeter back to leadoff — or Melky, if he’s gotten his OBP up. Bring Gardner up, or sign a guy like Kielty to spell the OFers against lefties and give matsui days off. Then you don’t block Jackson or Tabata if they’re ready in 09 or 10.

  37. jmo February 16th, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    whozat, the yanks have had a need for 1B help for parts of the past 3 seasons (wasnt that gary sheffield i saw there in the PS a couple of years ago? this problem didnt just pop up at the end of last season.

  38. Boston Dave February 16th, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    I’m glad Giambi will be in shape…

    BUT

    it makes me sick that players arent in shape every year. you cant always avoid injuries, but you can avoid being out of shape.

    it’s quite possible that Giambi’s injuries (certainly the plantar fasciitis) are a result of being overweight.

    either way, go Giambi in 08.

  39. fleas February 16th, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    OldYanksFan,

    Don’t be bitter at me because you claim to be a Yankee fan and the last one to the party. In other words, most of us *true* fan read ALL and EVERYTHING that is printed by credible sources regarding our team.

    You call yourself an “OLD” Yanks fan and slept pass everything mentioned about Giambi and drugs last year?

    Wow, that’s not missing a start by Igawa in the minors “Old Man”.

    And for the fact that you personally attack me.. well, let’s just say thanks for showing your true colors. Some of us are intuitive enough to measure the intellect of those that post here.. and you for sure are in the top 5 for the *most* clueless.

    Want proof?

    Try this smarty-pants..

    http://www.nydailynews.com/spo.....speed.html

  40. whoa February 16th, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    You can’t trade Giambi. Besides making $21 million this year, his buyout is $5 million for next year. So at the AS break he is still owned $15.5 million.

  41. whozat February 16th, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    “wasnt that gary sheffield i saw there in the PS a couple of years ago?”

    As a way to get his bat in the lineup, yes.

    But, in 05 and 06, Matsui and Damon were slated to be full-time OFers. Why should they have been learning 1B? They were needed in the OF. Then, Johnny DID start learning a little 1B for 07. They didn’t ask Matsui to…what should he have done? He expressed the willingness to try whatever the team wanted.

  42. whoa February 16th, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    Torre was opposed to moving OFers to 1B, which he told M and the MD every time the idea of moving Bernie to 1B came up (Sheffield was an exception because he came up as an INFer). Perhaps Giradi will be more flexible. They should start by working Matsui out at 1B to assess his aptitude for the position.

  43. whozat February 16th, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    “Torre was opposed to moving OFers to 1B,”

    Well, being opposed to doing it in season I can understand.

    Also, given that Matsui’s going to be taking it slow this spring, this might not be the ideal time to do it either.

    Also, given that they have what, five guys that need to see game action at 1B so that the team can evaluate them…I really don’t see how they could logistically get enough Matsui reps over there to put him at 1B during real games.

  44. jmo February 16th, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    whozat

    of course it was to get shef’s bat in the order, which is exactly why i proposed putting matsui there.

  45. Sean Serritella February 16th, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    I’m not sure Giambi will be a force this year. Most likely, when you take steroids, you break down from it when you stop and my prediction is that he doesn’t hit 25 home runs this year. I’ll take the under. Any takers? Also, I’m new to this forum, well, not exactly, I came in here one day and posted a link which was uncalled for but you won’t see that again.

  46. Aram February 16th, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    Im sure Jason will have his best year since 2001 this year. If he does, lets hope the Yankees only to a 1 or 2 year contract after that.

  47. NYPD113th February 16th, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    Maybe Jason got a package from Andy PEDitte’s father.

  48. NYPD113th February 16th, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    Sounds like Jason got a shipment from Andy PEDitte’s father.

  49. Mike February 16th, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    “In other news, the Journal News has learned that Giambi is in the final year of his contract.”

    HUH?

    “LEARNED”? One would think that anyone who follows the Yankees would “KNOW” this.

    Also, if you’ve read my blog over the off season, there are at least 2 mentions of why Giambi would welcome a trade so he can go and get more playing time in his WALK YEAR.

  50. hmmm (kinder, gentler version) February 16th, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    Mike, you completely missed the joke.

    it was a good one, too.

  51. hmmm (kinder, gentler version) February 16th, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    “Sounds like Jason got a shipment from Andy PEDitte’s father.”

    this was just as unfunny the second time, but thanks!

  52. Travis G. February 16th, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    ^ lol

    not surprised by Giambi’s ‘contract year’ fitness program. one of the cons of baseball’s guaranteed contracts. thanks to Marv Miller. but at least his motivation should be at its highest.

  53. Mike February 16th, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    Yup, I missed it.

  54. FYI February 16th, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    A healthy Giambi will become a key to the Yankee season… Lets hope he’s in baseball shape


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