Jason Giambi’s future as a baseball player was very much in doubt five months ago. His .316 wOBA with the Athletics was a confluence between poor luck on balls in play, decreased power, and the massive ballpark in which he batted most days. A switch to the National League and a .357 BABIP reignited the (now) 39-year-old, carrying him to a .445 wOBA with the Rockies over 31 plate appearances.
The former A.L. MVP with a gray-infested beard appeared in 19 games with the Rockies and averaged a little over one plate appearance per game, hitting well when called upon. Clearly the numbers are close to irrelevant. A week’s worth of plate appearances just isn’t worth much. We know that most hitters see their offensive numbers suffer as a pinch hitter relative to their full-time playing numbers. That makes it even more unlikely Giambi will come anywhere near his initial N.L. debut in 2010.
CHONE and Marcel expect wOBA of .344 and .340 next season, seemingly reasonable given his age but also a full-time role within a hitter’s park. Over the last three seasons Giambi has wOBA of (least recent to most recent) .349/.377/.327. Keep in mind sample sizes when looking at his decisively interesting platoon splits – he’s hit lefties better over the last three years – 290 at-bats leaves a lot of room for fluctuation and any projections heading forward should regress that total towards league average.
The deal is worth close to $1.8M which … never say never; after all, nobody saw Giambi finishing below replacement level last season. It’ll be interesting to see how many plate appearances Giambi can find behind Todd Helton and whether his Athletics’ stint was more to do with his age than his environment.