No, the Indians play in Goodyear, not Surprise, this is more of the surprise you are used to.
After cutting off their pursuits of Jim Thome to play into their empty designated hitter spot and reportedly deciding to not commit that spot to one person, the Indians have potentially filled the spot.
Much to the surprise of, well, everyone, the Indians signed Jason Giambi to a minor league contract. A few months ago, Giambi was in the running to become the Rockies next manager. Now he's inking a deal to compete for a spot and his contract at the major league level is not guaranteed.
Colorado wanted Giambi as a coach, but he still wanted to play, and the Indians are going to give him that chance.
The former AL MVP has carved out a second, even third career, in Colorado as a pinch hitter. He's sitting at 429 home runs for his career after hitting one last season in 60 games with a .225 average. He's still valuable though, as Giambi had a .372 on-base percentage last season, and that's mostly as a pinch hitter.
Here's the deal though. Giambi is coming in to compete for a more than part-time designated hitter role. He's going to be hitting more than once or twice every few games. After several years in Colorado where he's been a part-time player, can he adjust?
And the Indians? Did they not cut off talks with Jim Thome because they did not want to commit a roster spot to a designated hitter? Kind of. Right now, they are not committing a spot to Giambi. They'd eventually have to if they want to keep him on their 25 man roster and have him make the team, but right now, there is no commitment.
It's a sneaky, play-it-by-ear sort of move. Bring him in to compete, give the young guys like Chris McGuiness, Yan Gomes, and Mike McDade some sort of experienced competition. Extremely low-risk, heady type of move by the Indians. For more on how this will play out in the spring, make sure you catch my Spring Training Primer coming up in the next day.
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