George A. King III of the New York Post speculates today that free agent Jason Giambi could end up with the Rays as a left-handed hitting DH to replace Cliff Floyd. King does not list any sources. Rather, he is just matching needs. Also, keep in mind that the story is about the pressure on Nick Swisher to replace Giambi in the Yankees lineup. If Giambi were to sign with a divisional rival, the pressure on Swisher would be even greater, making for a juicier story for King.
Still, it is safe to assume that the Rays will be contacting the Giambino’s agent at some point. The Rays are going to show interest in almost every free agent that meets one of their needs.
This is how the conversation probably goes:
World B. Friedman: [picks up Blackberry, calls Giambi’s agent] Give us a ballpark number on what your guy is looking for.
Giambi’s agent: [covers phone, giggles like a school girl] OK. Let’s start at three years, $45 million.
World B. Friedman: [gulps] But…but your guy is old and we only had to pay Cliff Floyd $2.75 million for half of a season’s worth of work. Giambi is one-dimensional and baseball gloves probably should get a restraining order against him. Even PECOTA says he was only worth $9-10 million in 2008. How about two years, $12 million?
Giambi’s agent: Listen, my guy just posted an OPS+ of 130 which was just behind Vlad the Impaler and Miguel Cabrera and just ahead of Grady Sizemore, Magglio Ordonez and David Ortiz. That OPS+ was better than free agents Adam Dunn, Raul Ibanez and Pat Burrell. He is only 37, and have you seen him recently? I don’t want to say my boy is back on the juice, but have you seen his arms recently? He is bigger than when he got busted the first time…Uh, I mean the only time…or whatever it was that he apologized for and never admitted to…Three years, minimum. And he made $23 million in 2007. My client is used to a certain lifestyle.
World B. Friedman: [shrugs shoulders] Best of luck. have a nice day.
World B. Friedman: [scratches Jason Giambi off wishlist. Looks back in Blackberry for the number of Jeremy Giambi’s agent]
The Rays will kick the tires on all of these free agents. Friedman is not doing his job if he doesn’t. Unless Giambi wants to give the Rays a “I wanna stick it to the Yankees 19 times next season” discount, there is little-to-no chance of him signing with the Rays. Less when you consider the interest being shown by the A’s and the Jays.
HEAT’S ON SWISHER; GIAMBI MAY BE RAY [New York Post]