For now, Jason Giambi’s job is as a father to his three young kids. He coaches his one son’s T-ball team. But in the not-too-distant future, he hopes to have a new job in his old profession. His ultimate goal is to manage one day.
“Someday I’ll get back in the game, no doubt about it,” the one-time slugging first baseman said Sunday, prior to making his Old-Timers’ Day debut at the Stadium. “I loved it. I played 20 years in the game. I played for some of the most incredible managers, from Tony La Russa to Joe Torre, Terry Francona. I’ve seen a lot of incredible things. I learned a lot in this game. It would be a shame for me not to pass it on.”
Perhaps the Yankees thought so, too. Giambi said the Yankees reached out to him about his interest in joining the organization this offseason.
“I think they kind of tested to see where I was at, and I just said I wasn’t ready,” he said.
The conversation, according to Giambi, went like this: “‘Hey, what are you up to? Do you want to get your feet wet?” Stuff like that.”
Giambi has helped out at Indians spring training a few times and admits he misses being around baseball. He interviewed for the Rockies’ position back in 2012, before he was officially retired, and believes he would be a player’s manager, similar to Francona. But with three children 6 years old and younger, Giambi wants to do right by them first. When they are old enough to move from their home in Las Vegas, he said he will seriously look into a managerial job.
His former teammates believe Giambi would be a great choice when the time comes because of his knowledge and ups and downs in the game, from his five All-Star appearances and 440 career home runs to steroid usage and reinventing himself as a sage elder at the end of his career. He was once described by Francona as “The Veteran.” Yankees manager Aaron Boone thinks he would be a “really good” manager.
“Jason is someone who has been through a lot of stuff in this game,” Boone said. “I believe when he was getting out of the game, his last couple years playing for Cleveland, I think the reputation he really started to build — he was now not an everyday player — and the reputation he really developed within Cleveland’s organization as far as mentoring young players, really having a grasp [of what he was doing].
“You hear them talk about all the time, how much he understood situations and just the clubhouse and the kind of leader he was in the clubhouse. I’m sure if it’s something he really wants to do, he’ll probably have some opportunities to interview for someone.”
Giambi, 47, had a blast Sunday, with his children in attendance. He always made sure to get to the Stadium early as a player on Old-Timers’ Day. When the Yankees invited him, he didn’t think twice. And Giambi showcased his trademark power, narrowly missing a home run by pulling a ball just a few feet foul.
“This was always one of my favorites days as a Yankee,” he said. “This is probably the first time my kids have ever seen me play, other than on YouTube.”
Giambi spent seven seasons in The Bronx, from 2002-08, and was part of five AL East champions and helped the 2003 team reach the World Series. He was the 2000 AL MVP as a member of the Moneyball A’s. Giambi isn’t done with baseball. He’s just taking a hiatus.
“He’s been a shining light wherever he’s been,” said Nick Swisher, also making his Old-Timers’ Day debut. “He’s been one of the best teammates you could ever have. So I wouldn’t expect anything else other than him being one of the best coaches [you could ever have] one of these days down the road.”
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