Thursday, October 18, 2012

Jason Giambi: Manager?

So Jason Giambi says he’s willing to hang up the spikes if he gets a crack at the manager’s office. It’s an interesting proposition to be sure, some will paint him as an oaf with a bat in his hands which I feel is a bit harsh, and others will question his lack of experience to wit there is no argument here. Something I truly believe is that the superstars have a harder time adjusting to the managers chair, they expect that others, like themselves, are able to just go out and “do it”. There are many players on major league rosters who must work tirelessly to earn their keep, and while Giambi made his mistakes, he also had significant gaps in his game and has made a reasonably successful transition to a bench role.

Giambi isn’t necessarily a student of the game in the truest sense, he was a masher who played adequate defense at first base. His struggles however are the things that could help him become an effective if not stellar manager. Having played under Joe Torre could even have taught him how not to use your bullpen. Giambi has played the part of the quiet leader for a while in his baseball career, and if he’s given the opportunity to manage he could bring the same stoic even handed approach to coaching. How much he understands about the more situational aspects of the game is debatable though, Jason may be more of a players manager, but given his background as a masher would he be one to recognize the occasional need for smallball plays? Bunting runners over, pinch hitting for the pitcher, etc wouldn’t necessarily be his strongest points, but if he’s seriously considering management he may have been quietly studying all of this for years.

I have trouble seeing a player like Giambi making the comment that he’d like to be given the opportunity to be a manager without having put some serious thought into it. Just because outwardly he’s not a brilliant baseball mind doesn’t mean that the cogs aren’t spinning inside. Former Yankees teammate Robin Ventura has successfully transitioned into the managerial position, though his White Sox missed the playoffs they did out perform expectations and it came down to the last few games of the year for them to fall out of the playoff picture. There has also been talk of former Oakland A’s teammate and current Yankee Eric Chavez developing an interest in becoming a manager. Chavez, I think, would make a better manager than Giambi, he’s had to battle a lot of injuries in his career, he’s a very well spoken player, and from what I have read he has been discussing tactics with Joe Girardi with some great frequency. For his part though, Giambi is a smarter man than the media may allow one to see, and I cannot believe he would make a push to become a manager if he weren’t fairly well prepared. The real question would be execution, and for that we’ll need to see if he gets the job.

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