If someone can explain this to me, I’d love to be enlightened.
This sentiment has been steadily repeated since the end of the Yankee season: If you get rid of Jason Giambi, you have to replace him with another hitter capable of posting a high On Base Percentage, thirty-five home runs and roughly 100 RB per season. I agree that you need to replicate his production, but I strongly disagree with needing to replicate what Jason Giambi is.
Jason Giambi, as much as I like the guy for the actual person he seems to be, does not have to be replicated in a batting order. Yes, he does work the count and, yes, he does hit his home runs and, yes, he does get on base at a relatively high clip. But Jason Giambi also strikes out looking at called third strikes a ton–rally killer; Jason Giambi is slow-footed, pull-happy slugger, who is prone to banging into double plays–rally killer; Jason Giambi hit roughly .215 with Runners in Scoring Position; rally killer. And while I know batting average is a statistic in which people place far too much stock, Jason Giambi, at this point of his career, has trouble getting over the .250 mark–rally killer.
Instead of replacing Jason Giambi with a younger replica of Jason Giambi, give me a guy like Mike Lowell or Hideki Matsui. These are the types of players who bat .300, hit 35+ doubles per season, slam 20 or so home runs, and don’t strike out very often. They make hard, consistent contact with the baseball, which drives their situational abilities through the roof. And like Jason Giambi, these men get on base at a respectable clip and have the ability to drive in over 100+ RBI per season. Give me a guy who drives in important, situational runs over a guy with the ability to work walks any day of the week. To add another point to my case, men like Matsui or Lowell can actually run the base paths, therefore giving them more runs per season. Production is production, no-matter which way you slice it.
You need situational runs, and more flexibility. These are the sorts of players[Matsui and Lowell] who give that to you. You cannot have a lineup full of men, who consistently take a called 3rd strike. Bobby Abreu does it, Jason Giambi does it, Alex Rodriguez does it, Derek Jeter does it–I strongly believe this was one of the many downfalls for the 2008 Yankee season. That cycle has to be broken. The Yankees need more men who make hard contact.