It may seem somewhat far-fetched, but it could actually behoove the Yankees to pick up Jason Giambi’s $20 million option for next season.
First, remember that option also has a $5 million buyout, meaning the Yankees only “save” $15 million by letting Giambi walk.
Giambi has stated he is seeking a multi-year deal. It is worth extra money to get him to take a one year commitment, considering his age and injury history.
The Yankees should enter the offseason by exploring the trade values for Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon. Due to last season, Damon is probably overvalued while Matsui undervalued, at least as hitters, but trading Matsui makes more sense because Damon can avoid clogging the DH hole.
Statistically, Giambi and Matsui are pretty similar, with the edge probably going to Giambi. They both would have one more year contractually, Giambi costing the Yankees $15 million (as noted above) and Matsui costing $13 million. In the Yankees’ world, that’s pretty much a wash.
So if Giambi is more valuable than Matsui and you can get something in return for Matsui, don’t you have to do it? If Giambi is cut loose, the Yankees receive nothing.
Also, if Matsui is not filling the DH role, Giambi can instead and the Yankees can bring in a new first basemen (read: Hello, Tex).
If the Yankees pick up Giambi’s option before trading Matsui, it would give them more leverage in signing Teixeira, as they would have a viable first base option.
So as ridiculous as that option year has looked, never underestimate the value of a one year deal.
Now, if only the Yankees could find a taker for that one year option on Pavano’s deal…