Countdown to The Draft
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By: T.J. Zuppe
With a question mark hanging above the Cleveland Indians open designated hitter slot, the Tribe brought in more competition for the position this spring by signing veteran first-baseman and DH Jason Giambi to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.
The left-handed hitting 42-year old will be one of many vying for at bats in the currently vacant DH position.
Giambi, a career .280 hitter with 429 homers, has played more of a limited role in recent seasons. He spent portions of the last four years with the Colorado Rockies, serving largely as a pinch-hitter.
He played in only 60 games in 2012, hitting only .225 but was very effective in small doses in 2011. That season, Giambi hit .260 with 13 home runs and 32 RBI (.958 OPS) in only 131 at bats. He also emerged as one of the team's leaders.
Most recently, Giambi was a finalist for the Rockies managerial job but elected to continue his playing career.
He fits the perfect mold of a low-risk, high-reward type of signing, one very popular with major league clubs this time of year. He may find bits of new life back in the American League with regular at bats. Or - in the more likely scenario - he may be forced into retirement if he is unable to clinch a roster spot with the Indians this spring.
Either way, it presents a no-lose situation for the Indians on a non-guaranteed deal.
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