With the Rockies falling out of contention, Jason Giambi could be on the move. The 40-year-old slugger told the Denver Post on Friday that he has talked with Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd about a trade back to the American League.
Giambi has been outstanding in limited action this season, hitting .266/.364/.638 with 10 homers and 23 RBI in 94 at-bats. With Todd Helton also having a bounce-back season, Giambi hasn’t seen much action at first base. He did get to DH against AL teams last month, though, and he went 7-for-23 with two homers and two doubles in six games.
The Rangers and Angels seem like the best fits for Giambi among AL contenders. The Rangers would prefer an outfield bat, but they do have Mitch Moreland capable of playing the outfield when needed. And Giambi would be an obvious upgrade over Russell Branyan in Anaheim.
Giambi would also be an upgrade over Jorge Posada as a DH against right-handers for the Yankees, but that’s a less likely match.
If the Rangers are willing to offer Chris Davis for Giambi, the Rockies should jump. Davis has been a failure in Texas to date, but he’d be a legitimate alternative to Ian Stewart and a suitable backup for Helton in Colorado.
The Blue Jays have released right-handed reliever John Axford from his minor league contract, per an announcement on Saturday. Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi speculates that the move could provide an avenue for the club to rework Axford’s contract, but the Blue Jays have yet to confirm or deny the report.
Axford, 35, was dealt a blow on Thursday after getting diagnosed with a stress reaction in the olecranon bone of his right elbow. Elbow soreness dogged the right-hander through much of his time in camp, and although he was scheduled for a follow-up examination later this spring, a definite return date had not been established.
Prior to the diagnosis, Axford was tabbed for a setup role with the team in 2019. He pitched to mixed results in 2018 (thanks in part to a late-season fracture of his right fibula) with a 5.27 ERA, 4.9 BB/9, and 9.8 SO/9 through 54 2/3 innings with the Blue Jays and Dodgers. Now, however, it’s not certain that he’ll return to the mound this season in any capacity.
Axford isn’t the only reliever the Blue Jays have lost to injury lately, either, as right-handers Ryan Tepera and Bud Norris have been sidelined with right elbow inflammation and forearm fatigue, respectively. Per Davidi, the Blue Jays offered Norris a $100,000 retention bonus to prevent him from opting out of the minor league contract he signed in February.