Jason Giambi celebrates with teammates after scoring in the ninth inning against the Detroit Tigers during the 2014 season. Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
After Jason Giambi played an important role in the 2013 playoff push, the Cleveland Indians thought it wise to bring back the then 42-year-old veteran. He signed a one year deal with the club on November 1, 2013, but he barely saw the field in 2014.
Giambi’s injury plagued, 20th big league season began its derailment during Spring Training. His playing time was limited due to a broken rib, and he began the 2014 season on the disabled list due to the ailment. His first appearance with the big league club came on April 21.
Over the course of his first two months, Giambi managed just nine April plate appearances and only 21 in May. When the calendar flipped to June, the Giambino was seeing fairly regular playing time at DH, but a knee injury landed him back on the DL. Originally placed on the 15-day DL before eventually being moved to the 60 day, Jason did not see the field again until September 1.
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Despite being available for the entirety of September, Giambi played in just one complete game. While Tribe fans hung on every pinch hit at-bat, certainly due to his 2013 September heroics, the magic was not there during this year’s stretch run. He recorded just two hits in 13 September at-bats, one double and one single.
Giambi finished 2014 with his worst career stat line, hitting just .133/.257/.267. He had just eight hits and 11 walks (two intentional) in 70 plate appearances, slugging two home runs and knocking in five.
But the season was not simply an accumulation of career low-lights. On August 2nd, the Tribe celebrated Jim Thome, including unveiling a statute of the slugger and signing a one-day contract that allowed Thome to officially retire as an Indian. Giambi, who has worn Thome’s 25 since he signed with Cleveland, surprised Thome on the field and relinquished the number. This goodwill gesture between two of the game’s big-bat fraternity was certainly appreciated by Thome, as he discusses in this interview.
“The biggest thing that I came here to do was help the young kids,” Giambi said. “I never lost sight of that.” Quote from Sept. 28 post from Jordan Bastian; Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
And, it is important to note that Giambi was not brought in to rack up offensive numbers. Giambi was in Cleveland to be a mentor, as he acknowledged in a September interview with MLB.com writer Jordan Bastian. With the Tribe using a number of young players, Giambi’s experience was certainly invaluable.
Giambi has not declared his intentions for 2015, but certainly he will have a job in baseball if he desires. However, whether that job will be swinging a bat or yielding a pen and filling in a lineup card is yet to be seen.