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?