Giambi and Colorado reach deal

Jason Giambi and the Rockies have agreed to a one-year contract worth $1.75 million. The 39-year-old slugger will be used as a pinch hitter and occasional first baseman.


He hit .292 with two homers and 11 RBIs in 19 games for the Rockies last September, when he had two game-winning hits and helped Colorado win the NL wild card.

He was a huge hit in the clubhouse, mentoring young players and veterans.

General manager Dan O’Dowd said he gained a fuller appreciation for Giambi’s clubhouse contributions during meetings with his staff, manager Jim Tracy and his coaches last week.

“It became very clear to me how much of an integral part he was in leadership and accountability and the standards of what we’re trying to become here,” O’Dowd said. “I think that was probably first and foremost in the decision to bring him back.

“And then, two, we think he can be a very, very productive player in the role that he will be used in, which is to complement Todd and to get a lot of big hits for us when called upon to do that,” O’Dowd said. “And then with interleague play, we’re adding a legitimate bat into the middle of our lineup.”

After a dismal return to Oakland, Giambi performed well with his new team in Colorado. He can be a clutch pinch hitter, though I don’t think he should play first base too often, as much as Todd Helton welcomes the possibility. Considering the Rockies are supposedly toying with the idea trying Brad Hawpe out at first base, they are certainly handling Helton’s breakdown.

Nevertheless, Giambi’s experience is an invaluable asset at the very least.

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Massarotti: What’s next for Ortiz?

Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe throws out an intriguing question about Red Sox slugger David Ortiz and what his next step is after reports surfaced that he tested positive for PEDs in 2003.

Here are the questions we all need to ask: Will anything short of a full admission from Ortiz be enough to satisfy those of us who generally are cursed with cynicism? Or is he simply doomed, regardless of what happened, because there are certain things we need to hear?

Fans don’t appreciate being lied to, so there will still be a ton of people who will forever be upset with Big Papi no matter what he does or doesn’t admit to. But fans are also forgiving in nature as long as an athlete is honest and completely upfront with his omission.

Take Andy Pettitte, Jason Giambi and to a lesser extent, Bronson Arroyo (who recently admitted to using androstenedione and amphetamines before they were both banned in 2006) for example. All three of those players admitted that they had taken PEDs in the past, apologized for it and immediately showed regret for what they had done. Do you hear any of their names being mentioned with the likes of Bonds, Sosa, McGwire, Ortiz or Ramirez? Nope.

If Big Papi comes out and completely admits to what he did, then fans will be less forgiving. Granted, we’re not going to just forget that he ever took PEDs, but we’ll certainly be more forgiving of him when we throw stones at the players who did cheat.

Top 5 MLB surprises and Top 5 busts in 2009 so far

We’re approaching Memorial Day and are already about a quarter of the way through the baseball regular season. Some players historically take a while to get going, and some start off blazing hot and then cool off. Here we take a look at five pleasant surprises, and five busts through the first 40 or so games of the 2009 season.

Top 5 Suprises

1. Zack Greinke, SP, Kansas City Royals—One of the reasons the Royals are off to a great start is that Greinke has found his rhythm, to the tune of 7-1 with a 0.82 ERA, as well as 73 strikeouts and 12 walks in just 66 innings. Greinke has given up a microscopic six earned runs so far. Six! It’s not like the kid wasn’t talented, but his career record before 2009 was 34-45 and his ERA 3.96.

2. Jason Bartlett, SS, Tampa Bay Rays—Before this season, Bartlett was a career .285 hitter with 16 career home runs. So far this season, he’s off to a wicked start–.376 batting average, 6 homers, 23 RBI, 9 doubles, 12 stolen bases and an OPS of 1.004.

3. Raul Ibanez, OF, Philadelphia Phillies—This is looking like the free agent signing of the off-season. Or maybe coming over to the world champs from soggy Seattle was a good move. Ibanez was a respectable .288 hitter and was averaging 22 homers and 95 RBI, but so far in 2009 he’s hit 15 home runs and driven in 40 runs, while hitting .349 with 10 doubles, 4 stolen bases and a .724 slugging percentage. You think the Mets should have made a run at the guy instead of wasting all that money on P Ollie Perez?

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Top 10 active RBI leaders

You want a telling statistic in baseball? How about the good ol’ run batted in (RBI)? This is a stat usually dominated by home run hitters, but it’s also a good indicator of productivity at the plate. The guys on this list have been doing it over time, as well, whether they have been chemically enhanced or not, and to qualify, they must be currently on a major league roster:

1. Ken Griffey, Seattle Mariners (1774)—I can’t think of a classier player in the last 20 years. And how about these numbers….from 1996 to 1999, the last four years of Griffey’s first tenure with Seattle, he had 567 RBI. That’s an AVERAGE of 142 per season. Just sick.

2. Manny Ramirez, Los Angeles Dodgers (1738)—For all the fun we poke at Man Ram for being a goofy, lazy, eccentric superstar, we always temper our joking with “but the guy sure can rake.” You want sick numbers? From 1995 when Manny began playing regularly (okay, it was technically 1994 but that season was cut way short) through 2008, he has averaged 111 RBI per season. Think about that.

3. Gary Sheffield, New York Mets (1634)—It’s hard to believe this guy has been in the big leagues longer than Griffey. And unlike some of the other guys on this list, Sheffield’s 1634 RBI is more about longevity, as his career high is only 132.

4. Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees (1606)—A-Rod is almost a lock to pass 2000 RBI, and when you hear the other three names that have done that, it will blow your mind….Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, and Cap Anson.

5. Carlos Delgado, New York Mets (1504)—Another guy with a nice, long career, and he’s topped 100 RBI nine times….so far.

6. Jim Thome, Chicago White Sox (1498)—38 years old and he’s still mashing. I know I’ve written this before, but it’s hard to believe the Indians had Thome and Man Ram in the lineup as well as Albert Belle and Eddie Murray, and didn’t win like five titles.

7. Chipper Jones, Atlanta Braves (1378)—Come to think of it, it’s hard to believe the Braves didn’t win more than one World Series after winning fourteen straight division crowns. But don’t blame Chipper.

8. Garret Anderson, Atlanta Braves (1292)—He’s lost some pop the last few seasons, but still a solid, productive player.

9. Jason Giambi, Oakland Athletics (1285)—He juiced, he admitted it, and everyone still loves this guy. Maybe that’s because he didn’t lie about it. And Giambi’s 32 homers and 96 RBI last year at the age of 37 proves he didn’t need the juice to begin with.

10. Vladimir Guerrero, Los Angeles Angels (1271)—Another freak of nature type hitter who has averaged 117 RBI per season over the course of his career. And Vlad is still only 34.

P.S. Did anyone else notice there are no Red Sox players on this list?

Source: Baseball Reference

2009 MLB Preview: #15 Oakland A’s

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Offseason Movement: In one of the biggest trades this offseason, the Rockies’ dealt outfielder Matt Holliday to the A’s in exchange for Carlos Gonzalez, Huston Street and Greg Smith. Oakland also brought back Jason Giambi, who played for the A’s earlier in his career, and signed free agent Orlando Cabrera.

Top Prospect: Trevor Cahill, RHP
Some would say that LHP Brett Anderson deserves mention here, but his ceiling isn’t as high as Cahill’s and he suffered a forearm injury in spring training, which probably cost him a roster spot this year. Cahill has a chance of landing in the starting rotation now that Anderson and Gio Gonzalez have been sidetracked by injuries. He has the potential to be a future ace and even if he doesn’t make the Opening Day roster this season, he could be called up at the All-Star break if the A’s our out of contention.

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