Poor Jason Giambi. He went from being an important role player on the Rockies to a candidate for manager to a candidate for hitting coach to the guy saying “I have no idea what I’m doing next” in the space of a couple weeks. I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure I could handle that kind of jerking around.
On the other hand, Giambi always seems to take change in stride, and his comments to the press during this whole roller coaster have been nothing but classy. He was thrilled when Walt Weiss got the manager job and seemed to really mean that whole line about it being an honor to have been considered. And he took himself out of the running for hitting coach, explaining that he felt he might have been a distraction in Weiss’s first year as manager. Weiss hasn’t been given the kind of stability Jim Tracy was promised; he only has a year on his contract, and Giambi didn’t want to create conflict in that environment. Giambi also talked about how he looked up to Weiss when he was just starting out with the Oakland A’s, so it seems clear that the respect he claims to have for Weiss is real.
So there’s no sour grapes. But the question remains, what will Giambi do? I’d love to see him remain with the Rockies for another year or two and then transition seamlessly into an open coaching job. Even bench coach would be a good fit for him. He’s good at motivating other players, and he’s a skilled enough hitter that making in-game decisions should be no problem. My fear is that because the Rockies weren’t able to find a place for him for 2013, he will go elsewhere to play those last couple years and then belong to another franchise. It doesn’t necessarily work that way, of course, but now seemed like his best chance to take on a leadership role within the Rockies’ organization. And as skeptical as I was of Giambi back when he first joined the team in 2009, I’ve been nothing but impressed with him since, and I’d like to see him around as long as possible.
Chances are, a team like the Yankees or Phillies will pick up Giambi to add depth at first base and have a left-handed pinch hitter on hand for clutch situations. But should the Rockies find it in their hearts to re-sign him, perhaps we’ll see him make his career transition in the right uniform after all.