Friday, January 18, 2008

25 Days, 25 Players. Spring Training Here We Come!

There are exactly 25 days left until catchers and pitchers report for Spring training and seeing that there are 25 players on a major league roster, today seems like the best day to start the "Respect Jeter's Gangster" blog player break down. Between now and when spring training starts, we will write about one player per day, likely to be on the active roster on opening day.

Jason Giambi

Today we start with DH/1B Jason Giambi. I can't imagine he'll be playing first base on a daily basis, but with more than one player vying for at bats as DH, Giambi may need to play more first than his physical makeup will allow. Giambi is no Mientkiewicz at first base, but he's also no Mientkiewicz at the plate either. Giambi can still crush the ball, and he can work walks. He's the perfect DH candidate. Its hard to imagine Giambi making it through a whole season without missing time with an injury. If he can log 500 at bats next season its not inconcievable for him to knock out 30 homeruns with 80+ RBI's. The man will make $21 million in 2008, and has a $5 million buy out for the 2009 season. He will be playing for a contract, which is often enough motivation for a player to perform (See Posada, Jorge). Speaking of contracts, buy outs have to be a ball players best friend. Its basically having a team pay you to not play for them that year. If only we could all be so lucky.

I for one think that Giambi will have a good season. I don't think he will miss as much time for injuries as he did last season. If he can log 400 at bats, he will help this team win. Hopefully someone sends him a memo reminding him that this is his walk year so he shows up to spring training in good shape and ready for baseball. Although his last season stats were awful, he did bat .322 with 17 rbi's and a .402 OBP in April, the only month he was really healthy and playing regularly. He tried to play through a foot injury, and his numbers suffered. When he came back after missing two months, he was used sporadically which further hurt his production. I'm curious to see what Giambi will do this season.

UPDATE: It looks like I miss counted the actual number of days until spring training. Where I originally reported it to be 25 days away, it is really 27 days away. This actually works to our benefit, since the "Respect Jeter's Gangster" blog has been long time proponents of the 27 man roster. We will continue per usual naming the 25 players, and as an added bonus we'll report on 2 players who deserve to be on the roster but probably won't be there.

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