A's Players Campaign for Jason Giambi

Jason Giambi

Who said you can't go back home again? While Derek Lowe pines for a return to Boston, it seems some of the Oakland A's are hoping for a reunion with Jason Giambi, who's once again a free agent after seven years in the Bronx.

Mark Ellis, who just signed a two-year extension, lobbied for Giambi on Saturday, and Eric Chavez seconded the idea on Sunday. From Susan Susser of the San Francisco Chronicle:

"I think it's a great fit," Chavez said. "I don't know if it will happen or not, and I don't know what the shape of the team will be, but Jason has had productive seasons in New York and there's no doubt he could still be a good hitter. And he'd be a big hit in the clubhouse.

"Every time I watch him, it seems like he comes up with a big hit or a home run."

I hate to pluck the same low-hanging fruit as Steve Lombardi from Was Watching, but what was Chavez watching? Giambi had a fine season by traditional (32 home runs, 96 RBI) and non-traditional metrics (130 OPS+) alike, but if there's one thing he didn't do was shine in the clutch: he hit just .216 (.707 OPS) with two outs and a runner in scoring position and .155 (.596 OPS) late and close.

Even so, a Giambi homecoming makes sense. Yes, he turns 38 in January, but he obviously still has some pop in his bat, which is something few of the A's hitters can say. Aside from Jack Cust (33 homers), nobody on Oakland's roster hit more than 13 home runs last year; not surprisingly, the A's scored the fewest runs in the league by a wide margin.

Besides, where else could Giambi go and be welcomed with a hero's welcome? In most cities he's still regarded as a poster child for the Mitchell Report, even if he's one of the few players who's tried to apologize for his past indiscretions. Any GM who pursues him will be roasted on the talk radio circuit, but my guess is that fans in the Bay Area have suffered enough "steroid fatigue" (BALCO! Barry Bonds!) over the years to feign outrage over old news.

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