Tag:Oakland A's
Posted on: August 7, 2009 1:53 pm
Edited on: August 7, 2009 2:29 pm

Athletics release Jason Giambi

A lost season for the Oakland Athletics won't even come with the smallest of feel-good endings: The club released unproductive and oft-injured Jason Giambi on Friday, likely bringing to an end the career of one of the Athletics' most popular players in the late 1990s and early 2000s and one of the centerpieces of baseball's Steroid Era.

Giambi, a five-time American League All-Star and the 2000 AL MVP, was batting .193 with 11 homers and 40 RBI in 83 games this season. He was placed on the disabled list with a strained right quad on July 20. At the time, he had the lowest batting average in the majors among qualifiers and the fourth-lowest slugging percentage in the AL (.364).

"At the end of the day, where we were headed with some young guys and some guys we would like to see the rest of the season, we thought this was an opportune time to do this," Athletics vice-president and general manager Billy Beane said. "Jason struggled, and we thought it was time for us to see our young players."

One of those is Tommy Everidge, who has taken over as Oakland's everyday first baseman after a productive season at Triple-A Sacramento.

"Everyone knows Jason is a great guy," Beane said. "This is not something any of us envisioned. He was upbeat and, as he always does, he thanked us for everything."

Beane said Giambi indicated to him that he intends to continue playing. "I think Jason is one of those guys who will play as long as he possibly can," the GM said. However, given Giambi's lack of productivity, age (38) and nagging injuries, it's hard to see someone rushing to sign him.

There was very little interest in him on the free agent market last winter, and there was no interest in him at the trade deadline last month.

Giambi is a career .282 hitter with 407 homers (tied for 43rd on baseball's all-time list with Duke Snider). He spent eight seasons in Oakland (1995-2001 and 2009) and seven with the Yankees (2002-2008).

"This was difficult because of the person Jason is and his long, successful history here," Beane said. "He's somebody who everybody is very fond of, not just as a player, but as a person.

"These things are never easy."

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 31, 2009 1:30 am
Edited on: July 31, 2009 1:30 am

Twins remain at impasse with A's over Cabrera

The Minnesota Twins remained frustrated in their attempt to pry shortstop Orlando Cabrera from Oakland on Thursday night, according to sources familiar with the discussions.

In exchange for Cabrera, the Athletics were said to be asking for a high-level prospect plus that the Twins pay all of the roughly $1.25 million remaining of Cabrera's salary. The Twins, pushing to add help in their quest to catch Detroit and the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central, are balking.

Among those whom the Athletics have inquired about in a Cabrera deal are outfielder Aaron Hicks, rated the Twins' top prospect in 2009 by Baseball America, and third baseman Danny Valencia, whom the Twins think is their third baseman of the future.

The Twins also remain very interested in Toronto's Marco Scutaro but the Blue Jays so far have indicated that they will not deal some of their other players if they do not trade Roy Halladay.

Posted on: April 9, 2009 8:39 pm

Different Giambi set for Oakland home opener

Biggest difference between the 20-something Jason Giambi who played in Oakland in the 1990s and the 38-year-old graybeard whose encore performance there resumes in earnest with the Athletics' home opener Friday night against Seattle?

Probably the yams.

Yes. Yams.

"No more fast food runs," Athletics third baseman Eric Chavez says. "It's yams now. That's his big thing."

Like Popeye, Giambi yam what he yam in the twilight of his career.

"I've gotta stick around," says Giambi, whose fast-food drive-thru tales were legendary in his early days with the A's. "Those were the good old days. I'd get fast food and burn it off until it was all gone."

Whatever he's doing is working so far. When Giambi steps onto the Oakland Coliseum field for the first time since 2001 wearing the green and gold, he'll bring with him a .417 batting average and a .500 on-base percentage through three games. He's yet to have homered, and he has one RBI.

Booed lustily by the Bay Area fans whenever he'd return after signing as a free agent with the Yankees before the '02 season, the A's are expecting their home fans now to wrap Giambi in a giant, warm, standing-ovation hug during what undoubtedly will be one of baseball's emotional high points of the weekend.

"There's no doubt," says Chavez, one of Giambi's good friends on the team then -- and now.

"It's great," Atlanta pitcher Tim Hudson, recovering from offseason surgery and a former teammate of Giambi's during those glory days in Oakland, said this spring. "I was happy to see him go back. I know the fans and the people in Oakland are really going to enjoy him.

"He's got a lot of years left to play, and hopefully the rest of them will be right there. He was a great teammate there for me. One of the best teammates I've ever had. He was as great a teammate as a superstar could be. He makes everyone feel important.

"He's got a heart of gold, and he's a likable guy. I've never met anybody that doesn't like him."

Hudson chuckled at the memory of Giambi's old penchant for junk food.

"I've never been through a drive-thru with him, but he's brought me some in the past, that's for sure," Hudson said. "In Oakland, he was the kind of guy who came into the clubhouse with a sack of McDonalds and everyone would get what they wanted."

Giambi's new diet is completely fat-free. According to www.nutritiondata.com, one cup of yam cubes (136 grams) contains 158 calories, five grams of dietary fiber, two grams of protein, 27 percent Vitamin C and zero grams of fat.

He's even made dietary converts out of outfielder Matt Holliday, second baseman Mark Ellis and, yes, Chavez.

"Chavy was busting on Mark Ellis the other day, saying, 'Look at those guys -- they're in the trainer's room riding (exercise) bikes and eating yams," infielder Bobby Crosby says. "The next day, Chavy was mowing down some yams.

"Heck, I'll probably be doing it today."

Giambi brings 396 career home runs, 1,280 RBI and way shorter hair back to Oakland for his second tour, not to mention a stricter diet (thank goodness the tattoos haven't gone anywhere).

"Trust me," Giambi says. "I drive by McDonalds all the time and say, 'Oh, man. Those were the good old days.'"

Likes: Kansas City could have swept the White Sox this week, but for Kyle Farnsworth's first relief outing for his new team. ... Not that I wish bad things for the White Sox, because I don't -- I really like the team, manager Ozzie Guillen and the city -- but it's nice to see perennial doormats Kansas City, Cincinnati, Baltimore and even Pittsburgh get off to reasonable starts in the first week. ... Ichiro on his way back to the Seattle lineup soon. ... This GQ article on Lenny Dykstra. Shady, shady, shady. ... Mooning a train? Sounds good to me.

Dislikes: Sad, sad times in Anaheim for the Angels.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Days turn to minutes
"And minutes to memories
"Life sweeps away the dreams
"That we have planned
"You are young and you are the future
"So suck it up and tough it out
"And be the best you can"

-- John Mellencamp, Minutes to Memories



Posted on: March 31, 2009 2:32 pm
Edited on: March 31, 2009 4:24 pm

A's Crosby, Angels' Matthews hoping for trades

 Displaced Oakland shortstop Bobby Crosby isn't tracking the move of every team as late-spring roster moves intensify, but he still hopes to land elsewhere sometime in the near future.

He isn't alone. Los Angeles Angels outfielder Gary Matthews Jr. is among those hoping for a change-of-address in the final days of spring camp.

An extra part now that the beefed-up Athletics have installed Orlando Cabrera as their shortstop, Crosby, 29, is still hoping to prove he can be a valuable, everyday shortstop after hitting .237, .226 and .229 over the past three seasons. In two of those, 2006 and 2007, he played in fewer than 100 games because of injuries.

"They have obviously chosen to move on with someone else, and I hope they give me the same opportunity," Crosby said.

Crosby broke in as Oakland's everyday shortstop in 2004, filling the vacancy created by the departure of Miguel Tejada. He played in 151 games that season, but the injuries started in 2005. A stress fracture in his ribs, back trouble, a broken left hand ... all conspired to prevent Crosby from developing into the shortstop he and the A's hoped.

Finally back on track last summer, Crosby's batting average was seventh-lowest in the American League and his .296 on-base percentage was worst in the AL among regulars and third-worst in the majors.

Enter Cabrera.

"Right now, there's nothing I can do about it," said Crosby, who was supposed to play second base in Oakland's Cactus League game against Kansas City on Tuesday but was scratched before the game. "I think everyone kind of understands where I'm at. I want to be a shortstop somewhere. That's not going to change.

"I said it right when they signed Cabrera and I'll say it to the end. But for the time being, all I can do is work at the other positions and get as good as I can and be ready."

Matthews, meantime, met with Angels officials earlier this spring, after the club signed outfielder Bobby Abreu, and expressed his displeasure at the prospect of reduced playing time. The club essentially delivered this message: Do something about it on the field during camp.

But on Sunday, manager Mike Scioscia informed Matthews that he stands fifth on the outfield depth chart, behind Torii Hunter, Vladimir Guerrero, Abreu and Juan Rivera. Matthews has requested a trade, and the Angels gave him permission to leave camp for a day earlier this week to come to terms with his situation.

The Angels, though, owe Matthews roughly $33 million over the next three seasons and have not found a taker. Two obvious candidates, the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees, have decided to fill their center field spots internally, the White Sox appearing set to go with Dewayne Wise and the Yankees announcing this week that Brett Gardner has won the job.

In the cases of both Crosby and Matthews, their personal unhappiness has been tempered to a degree by their good relationships with teammates. So far, neither player's situation has created bitterness or tension in the clubhouse.

"The guys here have been awesome," Crosby said. "Those are the guys I want to go and play hard for, because I love these guys in the clubhouse.

"Almost everyone on the team has come up to me, especially the guys I'm close with. Jason Giambi came up and asked how things are going, and told me if I ever needed to talk. ..."


The San Diego Padres, still searching for starting pitchers, have not been able to work a deal for Tampa Bay right-hander Jeff Niemann. The Rays, who optioned David Price to Triple-A Durham because of a glut of starting pitchers, are investigating the trade market because two others vying for the No. 5 starter's slot, Jeff Niemann and Jason Hammel, are out of options.

Discussions with the Padres have not gained traction, according to a source with knowledge of the talks, because San Diego so far has not indicated a willingness to trade first-base prospect Kyle Blanks, a 6-6, 285-pound first baseman who has been the standout of the Padres' spring. Though Blanks' path to the majors is blocked by All-Star Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego is considering trying him as an outfielder.

Likes: Roster decisions coming swiftly in these final days. Gary Sheffield, gone in Detroit. Geoff Jenkins, gone in Philadelphia. DeWayne Wise, in as the Chicago White Sox's leadoff man and center fielder. Kevin Gregg, in as Cubs closer. ... Oakland's equipment truck packed and ready to pull out. ... Michigan State in the Final Four. What a great story, what a great coach (Tom Izzo), what a nice thing for the struggling folks in Michigan, whose 12 percent unemployment rate leads the nation. ... The Pollo Cubano at the Havana Café on Camelback Rd. in Phoenix. ... The Pad Thai at Thai Elephant in Tempe.

Dislikes: Too much hotel time these last seven weeks. Man, it will be nice to get home in a couple of days.

Sunblock day? The locals love it, but I've about had it with the chilly mornings and evenings here in the desert. Where's the heat? Mid-70s or so during the day is beautiful, and yes, I suppose you need sunblock, but as spring training closes, it's been chillier in the Cactus League than usual.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Raise a toast to St. Joe Strummer
"I think he might've been our only decent teacher
"Getting older only makes it harder to remember
"We are our only saviours
"We're gonna build something this summer"

-- The Hold Steady, Constructive Summer



Posted on: November 10, 2008 3:32 pm
Edited on: November 10, 2008 9:14 pm

Oakland acquires Holliday from Colorado

The ever-unpredictable Oakland Athletics have acquired slugger Matt Holliday from Colorado, sources with knowledge of the talks have confirmed to, CBSSports.com, pending the outfielder's passing a physical examination on Tuesday.

The Rockies will receive outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, left-handed pitcher Greg Smith and closer Huston Street in return, though they may not keep Street. One source said Monday that the Rockies are prepared to turn around and trade him -- though to which team he wasn't sure.

St. Louis, the New York Mets, Detroit, Cleveland and Tampa Bay are among the clubs in the market for a closer this winter, though the Tigers do not appear to be involved with Street.

The early strike for Holliday is a bold move for an Oakland club that finished third in the AL West last year, 24 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Angels.

But the Athletics are attempting to win public support for a new stadium and are telling other clubs that they intend to increase their payroll significantly for 2009 in an effort to contend. The A's opened 2008 with a payroll of about $48 million.

In Holliday, who batted .321 with a .409 on-base percentage, 25 homers and 88 RBI, the Athletics almost certainly are gaining a one-year rental player. Holliday, due $13 million in 2008, rebuffed Colorado's attempts to sign him to a long-term extension and, with Scott Boras as his agent, he is expected to test the free-agent market after the 2009 season.

That, though, fits with some of Oakland's past strategy under general manager Billy Beane, who has mostly eschewed long-term contractual commitments to players because of the A's ever-present financial constraints. He has been aggressive at times, however, in acquiring high-end talent for the short-term.

Pitcher Kevin Appier (1999), outfielder Johnny Damon (2001) and Frank Thomas (2006) all fit under this operating philosophy, but the major difference between them and Holliday is that they were not acquired when the A's were this far off of the pace in the AL West.

Of course, the Athletics figure to have an out, too: If they fall out of the race before the July 31 trade deadline next summer, they'll have a valuable trade chip that Beane can flip for prospects.

While Oakland ratchets things up, clearly, Colorado is in transition mode. Losing Holliday -- general manager Dan O'Dowd informed the slugger of the trade earlier Monday -- leaves a big hole in the middle of Clint Hurdle's lineup.

The Rockies like Gonzalez a lot, but he's a different style of player than Holliday and much younger.

"He can play center field or right field, either place," one scout said. "He's a left-handed hitting prospect, he's only 23 ... he's got a chance to be pretty good."

As for Smith, the scout said, "He actually fits better in the National League, I think. He controls the running game, he's got a good pickoff move, and the guy can hit. I think he'll end up as a No. 5 starter or as a long man in the bullpen."

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com