In November, the 42-year-old was actually believed to be the preferred choice of Colorado Rockies owner Dick Monfort and executive vice president Dan O’Dowd to fill their open managerial position.
Giambi had impressed Colorado’s brass with his preparation and leadership during his three plus years in the organization. He ended up taking several players under his wing, including shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, and in the process forged a number of strong relationships with his teammates. This led management to believe his influence at the top would benefit the team’s growth and make for a seamless transition.
Had he landed that job, Giambi was obviously content to call it a career, but then another former Rockies and Oakland A’s star, Walt Weiss, entered the running and ended up impressing enough during the interview process to land the job.
Despite that development, the Rockies held out hope that Giambi would accept the role of hitting coach. He declined, with Dante Bichette eventually getting the nod, and instead elected to seek other playing opportunities. That leads us to Saturday’s news.
According to the Denver Post’s Troy Renck, the 18-year veteran is on his way back to the American League on a minor league contract with the Cleveland Indians. It's a little-to-no-risk deal for Cleveland since it's not guaranteed. However, if Giambi, hits his way on to the roster, likely as their designated hitter against right-handed pitchers, he’ll earn $750,000.
Having watched most of his plate appearances over the past three seasons, it wouldn‘t surprise me if Giambi put together a strong enough spring to accomplish that. He’s still a powerful man. He still has a good eye and a great approach as his .375 on base percentage with Colorado would indicate, but I’m not sure there's enough left in his tank to produce beyond 150-200 plate appearances.
In fact, despite limited playing time behind the likes of Todd Helton, Michael Cuddyer and Tyler Colvin, Giambi has spent an awful lot of time on the disabled list the past two seasons. And he wasn't catching up to anyone's fastball by September, either. It could be a fun little short-term run though if he comes out swinging, and I'm sure the Indians would be happy to take whatever production they get.