Jason Giambi didn’t exactly create a great legacy for himself with fans in NY. A steroid scandal certainly didn’t help, despite the vague apology he gave. He missed all of 2004, a season when the Yanks really needed him. But to his credit, he fought back and became a productive player again.
Steroids and missed time aside though, Giambi is representative of what the Yankees became in this decade: talented, injury prone, and one dimensional. Giambi at his peak was the perfect hitter. His patience at the plate was epic and when he did get something to hit, he drove it with authority. The Giambino was always a poor runner and a poor fielder, though, traits shared by many of his teammates.
Most fans characterize the “dynasty team” as 1996-2001; therefore Giambi is THE post-dynasty player – the first aquisition that started things in the wrong direction. The dynasty label, to me, is unfair and a bit absurd; the Yankees were most likely the best team in baseball in 02, 03, 04, and 06 (on a side note – kind of funny that the WORST Yankees team of the past 13 seasons was probably the 2000 team that won the World Series, isn’t it?).
But the bottom line is Giambi never contributed to a champion. That very fact has labeled him unclutch by some, though that’s not really fair either. Consider this: in the two biggest games of Jason Giambi’s life, Game 5 against the Yankees in 2001, and Game 7 against the Red Sox in 2003, he delivered. Sure, the A’s lost to the Yanks in ’01, but Giambi went 5 for 5 and I still remember thinking when he came up that “if we could just hold him to a single, we’ll be alright.” Now that’s a player. And in 2003, with a bum knee, The Big G hit two homeruns off Pedro to keep the Yanks close and allow the amazing comeback in what is probably the greatest baseball game ever played.
And now there are reports that Giambi wants to go back to Oakland, though he’s not really even a priority for them. Who knows how true all this is, but if Giambi is desperate for a deal, wouldn’t he be a great insurance policy on a cheap one year deal for the Yankees, especially if they don’t bring in another big bat, such as Teixiera or Dunn? I think so.
But it appears that the Yankees are content to cut ties with Giambi and put that part of their history to rest. I have to admit though, I’ll miss the Big G.