A's release Jason Giambi

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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.

Video: Phillies rookies dance to “Greased Lightning”

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As per tradition, towards the end of the regular season, veterans on baseball’s various clubs haze the rookies by making them dress up and do something a bit embarrassing. That used to include things like making rookies dress up like women and carry pink backpacks, but Major League Baseball banned that practice, so veterans had to get marginally more creative.

The Phillies had their rookies — including Rhys Hoskins, J.P. Crawford, and Nick Williams — dress up like characters in Grease and perform “Greased Lightning” at their hotel in Atlanta on Friday night. Not only did the Phils’ vets and other members of the crew get a free show, but so did employees of the hotel and nearby hotel patrons.

Video with sound is not currently allowed to be embedded, so click here for that.

As MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki explains, Hoskins was the inspiration for the gag as he has earned the nickname “Rhys Lightning.” (Rhys, for the uninitiated, rhymes with “Grease.”) Hoskins said, “You always hear about team chemistry. I think stuff like that let’s you get to know guys on a different level, when you’re not at the field. You just become more personable with people. The better relationships you have, there’s a different level of playing for each other. And I think that’s usually a sign of a good team.”

The Twins also had some fun at the rookies’ expense:

Video: Aaron Judge hits 47th, 48th homers, now one shy of tying Mark McGwire’s rookie record

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge went yard twice in Sunday afternoon’s 9-5 loss to the Blue Jays, bringing his season total up to 48. That leaves him just one home run shy of tying the single-season rookie record set by Mark McGwire with the Athletics in 1987.

After Sunday’s performance, Judge is hitting .281/.416/.610 with 48 home runs, 105 RBI, and 122 runs scored in 651 plate appearances. He has the AL Rookie of the Year Award on lock and is neck-and-neck with the Astros’ Jose Altuve, Chris Sale of the Red Sox, and the Indians’ Corey Kluber in the AL MVP Award race.