I have to admit, in the interest of full disclosure, that I have a soft spot for Jason Giambi. He always seemed like a nice guy, and you never got the impression that playing in NY got to him. There were a few mentions of him today, so I thought it might be a good time to look back on his contract, the 7 year, 115 million dollar deal he signed after the 2001 season. In an interview with Jim Caple, he said the following:
2. What was the best part about playing in New York?
The history. The pinstripes and knowing all the players who wore them before you. Ruth. Gehrig. Mantle. Guys like that. Playing to a sold-out house every night is pretty exciting.
3. What’s the worst part about playing in New York?
I don’t know if there is a worst part. It’s just different. With New York comes more media and higher expectations. But I don’t really see that as being bad.
Giambi is the man, and I was under the impression that his tenure in NY was a decent one for the Yankees. Then I read the following from our good friend Wally Matthews:
And yet this is the kind of day you will remember, either as a false start to what probably will go on to be a great eight years for Teixeira, or as a bad omen of a Giambi-like or even a Whitson-esque epic failure.
I was not aware that Giambi’s contract was widely viewed as a failure, but a look at the salary data on Fangraphs confirms the notion. Jason’s value exceeded his compensation in only 3 of his 7 seasons, while falling very short of his salary in the other four seasons. Overall, he earned 77 of his 115 million, a startlingly wide spread. The numbers are skewed by his awful seasons in 2004 and 2007, in which he did not exceed 83 games. He finished in the top 5 of MVP voting once, was embroiled in a steroid controversy, and sat out Game 5 of the 2003 World Series with an injury. This is why statistics are so important- my memory of Giambi was skewed by personal feelings towards the guy. The numbers help put his time in pinstripes in a much clearer perspective.
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