Outstanding contract alert! Outstanding contract alert! Just a day after Pat Burrell and Milton Bradley inked deals, Jason Giambi returns to Oakland. Giambi returning to the place where he was lionized as one of baseball's best sluggers during the past decade. It's an appropriate reconciliation, and comes on a contract with a base of one-year and 4.5 million. A club option for 5 million in 2010 isn't quite what Giambi was reportedly hoping for (a three year contract), but then again, perhaps Oakland was the exception to that demand.
The A's endured a somewhat disappointing Daric Barton campaign in 2008, but will now have a bit of a quandary on their hands. Neither Giambi nor Jack Cust should ever wear non-batting glove, but now one will have to in order to utilize both. Giambi seems like the lesser poison at first base, might the Athletics implement a platoon based on their pitcher's tendencies? For instance, when Dana Eveland is pitching (a heavy fly ball pitcher) play Cust at DH and field your best outfield defense. When a groundballer is playing, let Cust mosey in the outfield and put the plus-defender Barton get some reps.
In any matter, the contractual expectation of Giambi is to produce 0.8 wins. Worth 2.6 last season, 0.5 in 2007, and 3.4 in 2006 Giambi is up for the task. Of course Giambi was also worth 36 batting runs in 2006 and that's simply not happening in 2009, but even if we average his past two seasons Giambi averages ~1.5 WAR, which seems like a safe bet for 2009. If that does indeed come to pass, Giambi will earn the Athletics three million in gain.