Jason Giambi might just finish his career where it began more than a decade ago.
The free-agent first baseman was nearing a deal Tuesday to
return to the Oakland Athletics nearly 14 years after making his
debut with the club, according to a person familiar with the
The person spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated
Press because the contract hasn't been completed. The addition of
Giambi would be the second big offseason acquisition by general
manager Billy Beane, who made a trade with Colorado for star
outfielder Matt Holliday back in November.
Giambi, who turns 38 on Thursday, spent the past seven seasons
with the Yankees. New York declined its 2009 $22 million option for
him after last season.
Oakland announced in early November that Bob Alejo would become
its new director of strength and conditioning - a sign Giambi might
be next to come back and return to his roots. Alejo served as the
A's strength and conditioning coach from 1993-01 and followed
Giambi to the Yankees, working for Giambi personally and for the
team during some years.
Giambi won the AL MVP for Oakland in 2000, then left for New
York following the 2001 campaign. He enjoyed each return visit to
the Bay Area, seeing old friends and making trips to the popular
California chain of In-N-Out Burger. He said he tried to open an
In-N-Out in New York to no avail.
Giambi, a second-round draft pick by the A's in 1992, is a
career .286 hitter in 14 big league seasons. He made his major
league debut for Oakland on May 8, 1995.
Giambi batted .247 with 32 home runs and 96 RBIs in 2008 for the
Yankees, who missed the playoffs despite their $200 million payroll
after a run of 13 consecutive postseason appearances. That's just
one shy of the record set by the Atlanta Braves from 1991-05.