Jason Giambi has announced his retirement after 20 seasons in the majors, issuing a statement via the New York Daily News.
Giambi played until age 43 by hanging around as a part-time designated hitter/pinch-hitter/unofficial hitting coach, but he struggled to stay healthy for the Indians last season and last topped a .700 OPS in 2011 for the Rockies. It’s been seven years since he logged more than 400 plate appearances.
Giambi was in the running to become the Rockies’ manager two offseasons ago, but decided to keep playing and not pursue a coaching job when Colorado settled on Walt Weiss for the gig. If he wants to go into coaching now, there will be plenty of teams interested.
Oakland’s second-round draft pick in 1992, he played seven seasons for the A’s–including winning an MVP award in 2000–before leaving to sign with the Yankees as a free agent. He spent seven seasons in New York before moving on to Colorado and finished up in Cleveland.
Overall he hit .277 with 440 homers, 405 doubles, 1,366 walks, and a .916 OPS in 2,260 games, including a five-season run from 1999-2003 in which he hit .311 with a .444 on-base percentage and .596 slugging percentage while averaging 40 homers, 120 RBIs, and 120 walks per year. Giambi made five All-Star teams, won one MVP and finished runner-up for another, and ranks fifth in on-base percentage and eighth in OPS among all active players. Helluva career.
Eventually Jason Giambi will have to stop playing. He may not have his brain around it yet, but the guy will be 44 this year, so the end is nigh. Heck, the end was probably a couple of years ago, but his likability and presence in the clubhouse is valued enough to where the Rockies and then the Indians have let him keep playing.
In the likely event that he can’t snag a job as a player this year, though, he can still make it to spring training:
He’s turned down coaching opportunities in the past. Given that he has a .185 batting average in 157 games dating back to 2012, my guess is that he won’t turn them down much longer.
Two years ago Jason Giambi was considered for the Rockies manager job even though he was — and still is — an active player. Now another active player is on the list of candidates for the Rays job:
Raul Ibanez played 90 games between the Angels and the Royals last year. Unfortunately for him, it appeared a though his age finally caught up with him. He traveled with the Royals through the playoffs but was not on the roster.
He has been talked about possibly being a manager one day. Or a broadcaster. Last week it was reported that the Yankees were considering him for a coaching job. Any way you slice it, the next phase of his career is about to begin.
Maybe as the Rays manager.
Jason Giambi hung on for a 20th season at age 43 as sort of a player/coach for the Indians, spending most of the year on the disabled list and hitting just .133 in 26 games.
Yet when asked if he plans to retire, Giambi was unsure:
I’ve been playing this game since I was five years old. That’s your whole life. If you look at it, it’s 40 years of doing the same thing. It’s been unbelievable. It’s been fun. But, I still haven’t made a decision about what I’m going to do yet. Who knows? Maybe somebody’s looking for a broken down 44-year-old to kind of take a few extra hacks.
It’s hard to imagine the Indians or any other team wanting to devote a roster spot to a 44-year-old pinch-hitter who can’t really hit any more, since Giambi has a .185 batting average in 157 games dating back to 2012.
With that said, don’t expect the former MVP to stay out of MLB dugouts for long. He previously turned down coaching inquiries because he wanted to keep playing, so Giambi can almost certainly snag a big-league coaching gig as soon as he wants one.
The Phillies are old, but at least they have been mostly healthy for the majority of the 2014 season. Perhaps no stat better illustrates that than this one from the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Matt Gelb:
The Phillies, on Saturday, became just the second team since 1901 to have four 34-or-older players each accumulate 550 plate appearances. (The 2008 Yankees – Bobby Abreu, Johnny Damon, Jason Giambi, and Derek Jeter – also did it.) No major-league team has ever had four such players reach 600 plate appearances, a realistic milestone for these Phillies.
Those to reach the 550 plate appearance echelon include the three Phillies mainstays — Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard — as well as Marlon Byrd. Byrd also hit a home run on Saturday at Citi Field, setting a career-high with 25 on the season. It just so happened to be his 37th birthday as well.
According to Baseball Reference, the Phillies’ position players are 31 years old on average, nearly two full years ahead of the next-oldest team, the Dodgers at 29.4. As for pitchers, the Phillies’ 30.2 average is second behind the Giants at 31.8.
All four are under contract for at least the 2015 season. Byrd will earn $8 million and has a club option for $8 million 2016 that can become guaranteed by hitting a plate appearance threshold. Rollins guaranteed his $11 million option for 2015 in late July when he took his 1,100th plate appearance combined between 2013-14. Utley will earn $10 million next season before going year-to-year with $15 million vesting options between 2016-18. Howard will earn $25 million in 2015 and in ’16, and has a $23 million club option for ’17 that comes with a $10 million buyout.