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.

Two mystery teams are talking to Manny Machado

Manny Machado
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The Phillies and White Sox have dominated much of the conversation around free agent Manny Machado this winter, but Andy Martino of SNY says that they may have some stiff competition as the clock winds down to Opening Day. Two mystery teams have been recently linked to the slugger, and Fancred’s Jon Heyman adds that one of them currently has the high bid, though they’re not considered his “preferred landing spot.”

There’s little sense in putting any stock in these kinds of rumors, of course, but it’ll be interesting to see how Machado’s camp responds in the weeks to come. The 26-year-old’s father, Manuel, added some fuel to the fire on Friday after taking an interview with Z101 Digital, saying, “I believe that the team you will probably less think about is the one that’s going to sign Manny Machado.”

Whether that’s in reference to the Yankees, who are apparently still in the conversation, or a true unknown team remains to be seen. Machado has given little, if any indication that he’s leaning toward a particular club, but is generally expected to be more receptive to whichever suitor feels inclined to meet his 10-year, $300 million asking price. At the very least, Manuel’s comments may help light a fire under the Phillies and White Sox as they continue to mull over a potential deal with the four-time All-Star.