I was nothing but skeptical and snarky when the Colorado Rockies signed Jason Giambi in 2009. In the time since all I have done is fallen under his spell, become a huge fan, rooted for him to return to Colorado year after year, pumped my fist at some late home runs, gone giddy over his sick bat flips, and made the case for him to be the Rockies manager. It has been quite a journey.
So there we were one year ago, realizing that the lovable Giambi was simply no longer a fit for the Rockies…as a player. As a coach? Possibly. As a manager even? Yes. It seems crazy, but things got serious and the Giambino was just about the manager of this team. Here is what I wrote on October 12th of last year:
Jason Giambi should be the team’s next manager because he is among the most beloved members of the team. His hiring would be something to get excited about in an otherwise dreary situation. After the veteran calm and wisdom he brought to the team when he first arrived in 2009, it is not completely irrational to think that he could find success because of the credibility he carries in the locker room and because of the way players will rally behind him.”
After the Rockies hired Walt Weiss, Giambi expressed a desire to play again. The Cleveland Indians expressed interest and eventually signed the big man. That’s a weird series of events. That has to at least create the potential for an awkward situation, right? The dude was almost a manager, with one foot out the door and his brain already starting to look at baseball from a different perspective. It takes poise and thoughtfulness to go back and forth like that. That is what makes Giambi a unique case.
He is the elder statesman in the league right now, and he still contributes a cool moment or two. In particular, check out these gems from the Giambino as the Indians streaked to the playoffs:
And with that, Giambi wanted to return again. The Indians call him “Big G,” and they will bring him back again, albeit on a minor league deal.
First move of the off-season is a fun one: Jason Giambi re-signs with Indians. The Big G back for more.
— Tyler Kepner (@TylerKepner) October 31, 2013
We know a couple things about Giambi by now: the arc of his career is impossible to predict, and whatever turns it takes, the Giambino will handle himself with class.