There’s a lot surrounding Jason Giambi right now, which makes it a good time to buy low on him. To start, he’s only batting .268 after hitting .253 last year. He hasn’t hit over .300 since his first year with the Yankees in 2002. In addition, he has only hit 5 HRs through nearly two months of the season.
Next, he’s having trouble with a bone spur in his left heel. This is the problem I am most concerned with. This problem has kept him out of Yankee Interleague games being played in NL parks so far. Not healthy enough to play first base, Giambi has been relegated to sitting on the bench.
To top it all off, Giambi all but admitted on Friday to using steroids. His comments have allowed speculation to run rampant among reporters and speculators. Some have said that Giambi could be suspended. As far as I know, however, players can only be suspended if they have used steroids since 2005. Others have said that the Yankees might try and terminate Giambi’s large contract. Again, this seems doubtful at best. George Steinbrenner cares about one thing: winning. He doesn’t care how much money it costs or how ethically he does it (i.e. he doesn’t care if Giambi used steroids a couple years ago); he just wants to win. Giambi can help him do that. Giambi is one of the best players in baseball, and to think Steinbrenner will give him up so he can save a few bucks just doesn’t seem to be a likely scenario.
So where does all this leave Giambi’s fantasy value? In the gutter. Honestly, it’s already probably slipped through the gutter cracks and is being swept away down a sewage pipeline of grime. That makes this the best time to take advantage.
Preseason, I expected Giambi to hit around 45 HRs judging by his HitTracker numbers. While his power hasn’t been very impressive so far, and he has yet to hit a ball with a True Distance over 400 feet, I have to think that the power is still in there and will come out soon. His 78% Contact rate is the best it’s been since it was 80% in his 2002 season (the last season he hit over .300). His BB rate is down from its gargantuan 20% in 2005 and 2006, but 14% still ranks among the best in baseball. His career BB rate is 16.2%, so an increase is likely. His LD Percentage is a respectable 18.8%. All in all, I think his selectivity will allow him to hit .280. Plus, he hits for the Yankees, so a lot of RBIs and Runs should be a given.
My biggest concern with Giambi is his foot. I wish I knew a little more about how certain injuries affect players, but if you can get Giambi for cheap I think this is a risk that is well worth taking. If you get Giambi, just make sure you have a capable backup in case he can’t play in the next Yankee NL Interleague series. A guy like Dan Johnson would be more than adequate. Conor Jackson would work too.
This post originally appeared at http://saberoticians.blogspot.com/2007/05/buy-low-candidate-jason-giambi.html