I'm actually coming to terms with Jason Giambi being an Oakland A again. It's tough at times because I still feel like the jilted lover, but at least he's made things right in the end. Granted, it's because he probably didn't have any other options, but it's still good to think of Giambi donning the green and gold.
Before last year started, the biggest thing I was excited about with the A's was to think of getting a chance to see the kids playing regularly and see what they had. It was pretty exciting at times to see Carlos "Mr. Double" Gonzalez. He played some excellent center field. Kurt Suzuki became an absolute joy to watch behind the plate. He called an excellent game but he also developed into a damn good hitter too (he wound up being the second highest position player on the team in terms of VORP). On the other hand, watching Daric Barton and Travis Buck was sort of like diving into the shallow end of a pool with no water (sorry, Daric). You were excited going in, but damn if it didn't hurt a lot. But that's what happens with younger players. They're Forrest Gump's box of chocolates.
The thing with Giambi is that he has a proven track record of success. And Beane has always told me that the best indicator of future performance is past performance and even though that isn't an exact science, it's the best of what is available. Giambi was fifth on the Yankees last year with his 30 VORP rating. He had a .373 OBP and .502 slugging. And I still believe that he can be a better hitter. I do buy into the theory that he adjusted his swing for Yankee Stadium and tried to pull the ball a lot more. When G was with the A's, he focused on going to all fields because the Coliseum demanded it. Now I'm not sure how easy it will be for Giambi to adjust back considering his home/road splits from last year (.929 OPS home, .826 OPS road) but Giambi has always seemed to hit well in the usually hitter unfriendly confines of the Coliseum. I anticipate him picking that right up again immediately.
So while I don't really have a statistical argument as to why G will have a great 2009, I think that the fact that he's returning to a park where he always seemed to hit well and that he won't be trying to pull for a short porch any more will lead to a great year. Well as long as he can stay healthy that is, which is the standard clause invoked whenever talking about an Oakland Athletic. I am really excited about the A's offense for the first time since maybe 2001 or 2002. Matt Holliday, Jack Cust and Giambi, with hopefully a healthy Eric Chavez will be a lot of fun to watch. Maybe it's just me being nostalgic, but I'm still really excited and think G will combine with Holliday and Cust to provide some runs for a run-starved team. What do you think Giambi will provide for the A's in 2009? Do you think he'll be better or worse than his last year in New York?