A's release Jason Giambi

Leave a comment

Earlier this week MLB.com beat writer Mychael Urban speculated that the A’s were debating cutting Jason Giambi loose after manager Bob Geren danced around a question about why they were delaying activating him from the disabled list. Turns out Urban was right on the money, because Oakland released Giambi this afternoon.
The move makes sense from an on-field standpoint, because a last-place team in full-on rebuilding mode has no real need for a 38-year-old who hit .193 with a career-low .697 OPS in 83 games prior to landing on the DL, but it was still probably a tough decision for Billy Beane and company given Giambi’s amazing, MVP-winning run in Oakland from 1995-2001.
In a perfect world Giambi would’ve returned to Oakland for one more season and hit .250 with a bunch of homers and walks while the team hung in contention into September, but the A’s playoff chances basically vanished in May, Giambi looks to be more or less washed up, and the team is better off cycling through young players with an toward the future.
Giambi should be able to latch on somewhere as a part-time player or bench bat if he wants to keep going, because 11 homers, 14 doubles, and 50 walks in 328 plate appearances show that he still has a little something left in the tank. However, his days of being an everyday player are almost surely over and given the aging sluggers who’ve struggled to find work recently it wouldn’t be shocking if this is the end of the line.
Giambi is one of 12 players to appear in over 1,000 games for the A’s since the team moved to Oakland in 1968 and during that time he’s the franchise’s only .300 hitter while also ranking first in OPS, second in on-base percentage and slugging percentage, third in doubles, fifth in homers and walks, sixth in RBIs, eighth in runs, and ninth in hits.

Report: Barry Bonds under consideration to be the Marlins hitting coach

Barry Bonds

This shouldn’t cause any controversy, lead to a lot of people saying dumb things or provide fodder for jokes at all. Nope, none whatsoever:

In what promises to be a bombshell move, if executed, all-time great slugger Barry Bonds is under consideration to become Marlins hitting coach.

Team higherups have quietly been discussing this possibility for weeks.

That’s Jon Heyman, who reminds us that Bonds has worked with the Giants in the spring in recent years. And who, no matter what else you can say about him, was one of the greatest hitters the game has ever seen. Also worth remembering that despite his controversial past, that greatness came not just from physical gifts, naturally or artificially bestowed. It came from his approach, preparation and strategy at the plate. No one can teach a hitter to hit like Barry Bonds, but you’d think that hitters could be taught to try to approach an at bat the way Barry Bonds would. And who better to do it than Barry Bonds?

That is, if Bonds is willing to drop his seemingly ideal retired life in San Francisco, move to Miami and work for Jeff Loria for nine months a year. Which, eh, who knows? But the possibility of it is pretty fascinating to think about.

Yadier Molina’s new backup: Cardinals sign Brayan Pena to two-year deal

Brayan Pena Reds
1 Comment

Veteran catcher Brayan Pena has agreed to a two-year, $5 million contract with the Cardinals, who’re investing much more than usual in their backup for Yadier Molina.

After bouncing around for a decade without getting even 250 plate appearances in a season Pena signed with the Reds and topped 350 plate appearances in both 2014 and 2015. His production didn’t improve any, as Pena hit .263 with five homers and a .652 OPS in 223 games as a regular.

Pena’s best skill is rarely striking out, which enables him to hit for a decent batting average, but he has very little power and swings at everything. He struggled to control the running game this season at age 33, but has a decent throw-out rate for his career.

Making a multi-year commitment to Pena suggests the Cardinals are no longer counting on Molina being the same type of workhorse behind the plate, which certainly makes sense given his age and injury history. Pena will replace Tony Cruz, who’s been Molina’s understudy since 2011 while hitting just .220 with five homers and a .572 OPS in 259 games.

While we wait for free agent signings: Andrew McCutchen stars in a one-act play

Andrew McCutchen
Leave a comment

It’s a pretty slow offseason so far. We’ve had a couple of minor signings. I guess Jordan Zimmermann is sort of a big deal. But it’s a lot more quiet so far this year than it was this time last year. I suppose there’s no real rhyme nor reason for it. Baseball offseason is long, there is no salary cap and thus there’s no rush to do things too quickly.

So, while we wait, here’s Andrew McCutchen doing his best to kill time until spring training starts:

Red Sox sign outfielder Chris Young

Chris Young Getty

Veteran outfielder Chris Young thrived in a platoon role for the Yankees this past season and now he’s headed to the rival Red Sox to fill a similar role, signing a multi-year deal with Boston according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.

Young was once an everyday center fielder for the Diamondbacks, making the All-Star team in 2010 at age 26, but for the past 3-4 years he’s gotten 300-350 plate appearances in a part-time role facing mostly left-handed pitching. He hit .252 with 14 homers and a .773 OPS for the Yankees, but prior to that failed to top a .700 OPS in 2013 or 2014.

Given the Red Sox’s outfield depth–Mookie Betts, Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Brock Holt even with Hanley Ramirez back in the infield–Young is unlikely to work his way into everyday playing time at age 32, but he should get another 300 or so plate appearances while also providing a veteran fallback option. And it’s possible his arrival clears the way for a trade.