Aug
13

Giambi raking his way back into the lineup

By

Back when Jason Giambi was placed on the DL in early June, many Yankees fans turned on him. That they started winning some games at that point only made things worse. People were even saying ridiculous things, like Miguel Cairo being better for the team than Giambi. He hadn’t done a whole lot lately — of course, because of his injury — so people began to write him off, as Yankees fans are wont to do.

In 10 plate appearances since returning, Giambi has four hits, two of which were freakin’ crushed. On one of the six outs he’s made, he hustled his fat ass down the line and beat out a double play ball — one that he certainly wouldn’t have beat out last season.

The only question now is how to get him into the lineup regularly. Damon has been hitting .291/.395/.398 over the past month, which is just fine for a leadoff hitter — actually, it’s almost ideal. The power comes from other outlets, making Damon’s only job getting on base and swiping the occasional bag.

If you want both Damon and Giambi in the lineup, you have to sacrifice. You could put Giambi at DH and Damon in the outfield, but that means sitting Matsui (.350/.390/.667 in the past month), Melky (.361/.392/.597) or Abreu (.336/.395/.586). Another solution would be to play Giambi at first over Andy Phillips (.270/.303/.342). That would provide a significant offensive upgrade, but you’d be punting some valuable defense.

So we have the question: Do you play Giambi less, thereby reducing his potential impact? Or do you play him at first and hope his offense outweighs his defense?

Categories : Analysis

20 Comments»

  1. Ron says:

    At this point, the Yanks don’t need his offensive production, so Joe must walk a fine line, getting Giambi enough at bats (10-12/wk?) to keep him sharp for if and when they need his offense.

  2. The Scout says:

    I think Torre has it right, and he’ll adapt as he goes along. Giambi will take most of the DH at-bats, with Damon the odd-man out. If one or the other gets hot, he’ll get most of the at-bats. Likewise, if Phillips goes stone-cold at the plate, Giambi may get some work at first, though Betamit is probably ahead of him. Putting G-man in the field increases his inury risk and weakens the defense significantly.

  3. Frank says:

    Before we hear the Torre trills for Mancaveitch, I’d like to see Giambi get some starts at 1B then they could always swap in Phillips for defense if the game is close in the 7th inning.

    Then Damon is the DH or LF with Matsui the other slot.

    I’d also like to see Duncan get some starts in RF/1B especially against the tough LHP like Bedard and even Robertson/Miller could pitch very well against a lefty heavy Yankee lineup.

  4. Frank says:

    Never underestimate the pull of Mancaveitch. If Phillips continues to slump, Torre will be pushing for him behind the scenes. And I’d much rather not have Mr. Mancaveitch anywhere near the field in September or, most especially, October.

    I hope the rational side of the Yankee ship wins out on this one.

  5. anon says:

    Damon or Matsui to 1B, Giambi at DH, Phillips as LIDR. Duncan spells Abreu from time to time, like against Bedard. Betemit in for Jeter/Arod/Cano to rest them & let Jeter heal up. Now the hard part: getting Damon or Matsui in to 1B….

  6. Kyle says:

    The way they are doing it is perfect. Giambi is old, beaten down, and injury prone. Get him 3-4 starts a week and keep him fresh all year. Get Damon 4 or so starts between DH, LF, and occasionally CF.

  7. Count Zero says:

    Agree with Kyle on Giambino.

    And there is no freakin’ way Mkldfcz should see even 40 ABs for the remainder of the season!!! If he stays on the DL till after the rosters expand, he can have a roster spot just so he can sit on the bench and wear a Yankee uni and have a small chance to pick up chicks.

    Other than that…he’s DFA material. In fact, he should probably be DFAed just to protect JT from his own stupidity.

  8. Joseph M says:

    Giambi when he is healthy is a force in the line-up no one can question that. Phillips is like many solid bench players, spotted in certain roles they can be very effective but the more exposure they get the less effective they become. I’d rather see Damon in there everyday leading off so I support the idea of leaving Damon at the top of the order and working a platoon with Phillips and Giambi at first (Phillips could be used for that inning defense.

    I would use Duncan on a once a week basis as a DH to spell Damon.

  9. Mike K says:

    At best, Mientkiewicz is a late inning defensive replacement, a role which Andy Phillips can serve considering that Mientkiewicz can’t hit his way out of paper bag. He is a fine 1B and can get a job somewhere else in the league, but whoever’s roster spot he will be taking (this side of Farnsworth) would not be justified if he comes back. DFA away….

    As an aside, anyone else a little wary of the next four games?

    Tonight: Guthrie vs. Wang. Both pitchers struggling and its entirely conceivable that Guthrie outpitches him and steals a win.

    Tomorrow: Karstens vs. Cabrera: Cabrera is feast or famine, as we know and if he is feast vs. an unremarkable (to this point) Karstens, the Yanks will be in trouble

    Wednesday: Bedard vs. Hughes – Should be great, but the edge has to go to Bedard at this point because of the experience.

    Thursday: Verlander vs. Stanford’s Mike Mussina – Verlander scares me, frankly.

    Maybe its because the media is slurping the Yanks a LOT today and I think they are due for a fall. Maybe its because I am dreading listening to the miserable Baltimore broadcasts here in Delaware for the next three days. Maybe I’m amazed at the way you love me all the time…but I am a little a-scared of a letdown.

  10. barry says:

    I see one solution as putting melky in leadoff and bench Damon, Damon is one yankee i’ve given up on. It was tempting to give up on Giambi but I remembered how many times he was the hero, I just couldnt turn on the Giambambino. But overall I’d rather see Damon riding the bench over every other Yankee at this point, his performance even in left is disgusting, how many balls has he simply misjudged and have flown right over his head I don’t know but I just dont see how anyone could defend his lineup spot.

  11. steve says:

    “At best, Mientkiewicz is a late inning defensive replacement, a role which Andy Phillips can serve considering that Mientkiewicz can’t hit his way out of paper bag”

    neither can Phillips, unfortunately.

  12. Mike K says:

    Phillips can’t hit his way out of a plastic bag. Paper, I think he can handle

  13. Mike R. says:

    Phillip’s has been hitting well this year and unless he were to go into a Will Nieves-like slump his job at first is safe. Torre has gone on the record saying as much.

    I think Torre got so burned last year with the Sheff at first fiasco, that he has decided that he is not messing with what works. He should just keep doing what he has been doing, switching Damon and Giambi in the DH spot and using Damon to rest Abreu/Matsui/Melky. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

  14. jon says:

    We’ve basically got Duncan, Abreu, Matsui, Phillips, Giambi, Damon, Cabrera, and Betemit for 5 positions (LF, CF, RF, 1B, DH). Betemit would also get the odd start at SS/3B (and maybe 2B?).

    I think it should go something like this:

    LF – Matsui 75%, Damon 30%
    CF – Cabrera 90%, Damon 10%
    RF – Abreu 80%, Matsui 15%
    1B – Phillips 60%, Betemit 20%, Giambi 15%, Duncan 5%, Damon/Matsui?, Mientkiewicz?
    DH – Giambi 45%, Damon 30%, Duncan 20%, Matsui 5%

    That means that the players play this % of the time:

    Matsui: 95%
    Cabrera: 90%
    Abreu: 80%
    Damon: 70%
    Phillips: 60%
    Giambi: 60%
    Duncan: 25%
    Betemit: 20 %

    Looking at those numbers, the only thing that’s really wrong is that Abreu should be playing a bit more (85-90% of the time).

    Thoughts?

  15. Mike R. says:

    I don’t want to be “That guy”, but you have 105% in LF and 95% in RF.

  16. barry says:

    lol i was gonna do that, i dont think damon should be playing 70% of the time I would rather have him play 60% and up duncans time

  17. Rob_in_CT says:

    Giambi should be the primary DH, and Damon should generally be the 4th OF. Against LHP, you could play Duncan at DH or (depending on the park) RF.

    As much as I’d love to put Giambi’s offense at 1B, not only is he a poor defender but playing D seems to mean he’ll get hurt. Granted, he can hurt himself DHing too, but the best shot at keeping him healthy is to keep him off the field.

    I’d like to see more of Betemit at 1B.

  18. steve says:

    “Phillip’s has been hitting well this year and unless he were to go into a Will Nieves-like slump his job at first is safe.”

    i am not trying to pick on you, but where is this notion that Phillips is hitting well coming from ??

    i keep reading this everywhere, and it’s simply not true.

    is it b/c he was hot for a week when he first started playing and first impressions are hard to shake?

    serious question.

  19. jon says:

    Re: percentages – oops :) Thanks.

    Philips: I think people look at his numbers and simply see that his average is close to .300

    DH: I think Duncan should be very close to the everyday DH vs. lefties. I think Damon should get some time there too (maybe a bit less than what I wrote above). Agree that Giambi should absolutely get more time at DH than Damon.

    Really, the ideal thing would be to have Damon or Matsui at first, but we saw what happened with Sheffield last year.

  20. Mike R. says:

    Phillips is batting .282. Is he a candidate for the Silver Slugger? No, but he is not Doug M either.

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