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Jason Giambi: how many games at 1B; how many as a DH?

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  • Jason Giambi: how many games at 1B; how many as a DH?

    Since he's not necessarily the best fielder out there, as both Tony Clark and John Olerud were better defensively than himself in 2004, but he's still the big bopper, as he's managed to turn the page of his illnesses with his pituitary gland, etc.

    Presuming he's loosened up from the "deer-in-the-headlights" thing from his "apology" press conference a year ago, I figured he's going to be back to his old self, at least mentally. Hopefully slugging as well.

    Now then, since he mashes the ball better when he plays the field than when he sits in the dugout when the other team bats, how would you balance the number of games played at 1B with the number of games as a DH, when Andy Phillips plays 1B?

    Should Giambi play for 7+ innings, and after his AB in the 7th or 8th, then be swapped for a defensive replacement? What about in a tight game where we could still use his bat? Then how long do you keep him in?

    Here's a nice article about this somewhat:


    One theory is that many of Jason Giambi's
    at-bats as a DH come when he is banged up
    and isn't healthy enough to play in the field.
    (Robert F. Bukaty/AP)


    Notes: Field work helps Giambi's hitting
    Yankees slugger has higher average as first baseman than DH


    By Mark Feinsand / MLB.com

    TAMPA, Fla. -- Jason Giambi may not be the best first baseman when it comes to his fielding, but his bat becomes a lot more potent when he gets the opportunity to play the field.
    Last season, Giambi hit .319 with 24 home runs and 65 RBIs in 238 at-bats as a first baseman. In the 175 at-bats he had as a designated hitter, his average plummeted to .211, and he hit just eight homers and knocked in 22 RBIs.

    For his career, Giambi is a .312 hitter when he plays first base and a .252 hitter as a DH.

    "They're just glaring; when I DH, my numbers are terrible," Giambi said. "I don't know what it is. ... When I play first base -- maybe it's [attention deficit disorder] -- it gives me something to do. If they want me to be that player -- to do the things I did at the end of the year last year, driving in runs and hitting big home runs -- that's the way to go."

    One theory is that many of Giambi's at-bats as a DH come when he is banged up and isn't healthy enough to play in the field.

    "It probably has a lot to do with it," Giambi said. "I've never really sat down and mapped it out, but it does go hand in hand with being healthy."

    While that may have factored into the equation over the past few years, Giambi also points out that in 2002, his first year with the Yankees, he hit .344 as a first baseman and .271 as a DH, and he was completely healthy.

    "I don't know if it's a mental block," Giambi said. "I've never been really good with it, even when I was in Oakland. Maybe as I get older, it's something I'm going to have to work on and think about, but right now, I feel healthy and I'm excited to get back out there."

    "I think the problem DH'ing for him is a routine between at-bats. That's what causes the inconsistency," said manager Joe Torre. "It's uncomfortable, especially when you're used to playing all the time. But there are certain nicks and bruises that he can play with DH'ing that he can't play with in the infield."

    Both Giambi and Torre are hoping that it won't be an issue, and that he will be able to play first base for a majority of the year. With Giambi at first, Torre can use Bernie Williams in the DH spot, or give Gary Sheffield or Hideki Matsui a day off from playing the outfield.

    * * *
    Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting. 2007-11 CBA
    Rest very peacefully, John “Buck” O'Neil (1911-2006) & Philip Francis “Scooter” Rizzuto (1917-2007)
    THE BROOKLYN DODGERS - 1890 thru 1957
    Montreal Expos 1969 - 2004

  • #2
    I think a lot of it depends on Andy Phillips. If Phillips can hit, I expect Giambi to be DHing fairly often.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by DoubleX
      I think a lot of it depends on Andy Phillips. If Phillips can hit, I expect Giambi to be DHing fairly often.
      I'm not too sold on that by itself. If Andy Phillips can bat, say, .265 and can field as well as Tino, Olerud and Clark have, then I believe he'll be a useful 1Bman. In that case, he can spell Giambi, who he obviously isn't outhitting (not by a longshot).

      I can't see Phillips having much use unless he's got quite a good glove. I'll take a .250 hitter if he's merely a defensively replacement (look at Mientkiewicz in his Twins and Boston years), but that glove has to sparkle. If he's athletic like Nick Johnson was prior to the several injuries, I'd be very interested.

      If his glove is as stated, then he'd definitely be able to come into the 8th inning on a regular basis. If we have a rally and his bat doesn't kill it with a GIDP, he can drive a few guys in to turn a 2-run lead by the opponent into only 1 run, then I'm all in favor.

      Basically, given that Giambi has a good year, similar to what Sheffield had last season, then it all depends upon Andy Phillips.

      Now if only we'd have kept Tony Clark. (yeah, sue me for the last one)
      Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting. 2007-11 CBA
      Rest very peacefully, John “Buck” O'Neil (1911-2006) & Philip Francis “Scooter” Rizzuto (1917-2007)
      THE BROOKLYN DODGERS - 1890 thru 1957
      Montreal Expos 1969 - 2004

      Comment


      • #4
        Giambi will get the majority of the time at 1B regardless of what another player does. I don't think Phillips will have a blow out season to warrent him starting everyday at 1B or being in the line-up everyday. Unless Giambi turns into the mess he was at the begin of last season, Giambi should have the bulk of starts at 1B next year since he's more productive with the bat while on the field oppose to being the DH.

        Yeah, I aware his defense leaves a lot to desire, but you can't remove Giambi's bat unless it's completely need. Similar to putting a defensive replacement in LF for Manny Rameriz in close and late inning game. You still don't want to remove the bat from the line-up. I don't think Giambi will be replaced often for a late inning defensive replacement.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hasn't Giambi stated that he hits better when playing first than DH'ing? His defense leaves a lot to be desired but it's not as though he's Alfonso Soriano playing first. Phillips will see some time at first just to keep Giambi and Bernie healthy but anyone who thinks he will see a lot of time even if he plays well is fooling themselves.

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm not sold on Andy Phillips at first base. Giambi has (before, during and after "health" crisis) proved he hits better when he fields. And we're not talking a few points, we're talking a sizeable gap. It makes sense, one thing no one can take away from Giambi is his work ethic, the way he pounded through his slump with Mattingly can attest to that. He obviously gets into a zone when he's playing the field and has to get up every inning as opposed to every time through the lineup.

            Plus Andy Phillips isn't really that much better defensively.

            From Sporting News Scouting report (for those who haven't read it yet)
            Giambi -
            "Offense: Had a lot of trouble handling the ball inside and had some decline in bat speed early in the season. Handled low balls better, which is the pitch he can drive. Likes to pull the ball. Is an extremely patient hitter. Doesn't run well and can clog the bases.
            Defense: Can catch what he gets to but doesn't have a lot of range. Has an accurate arm to start the double play. Doesn't have a really flexible lower body to shift well around the bag.
            Outlook: He is healthy now and is able to establish a firmer base at the plate, which increases his bat speed and power. He is more of a streak hitter now but still is a quality run producer.
            Grade: 8.1"

            Phillips -
            "Offense: Can punish pitches over the plate if he can extend his arms but can be pitched inside and forced to pop up. Commits early and pulls balls foul. Swings through high fastballs and breaking balls away. Waits for mistakes and works counts. Is a slow runner.
            Defense: Has limited range but has learned the position well enough to not be a liability. Is adequate at handling throws. Has an everage arm.
            Outlook: He has proved himself at the minor league level and is best suited for a DH role.
            Grade: 6.3"

            Doesn't seem like he'd be much of an defensive upgrade from Giambi for a late inning swap. That being said, I expect Giambi to play at least 110-120 games at 1st. And I don't think he comes out till after his 7th inning+ at bat when they're winning by 3 runs +

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