The Cleveland Indians are giving Jason Giambi a chance to play in the major leagues again in 2013, adding the 42 year old slugger a minor league deal with an invite to spring training, as first reported by Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
The Indians do not have anyone specifically dedicated to the DH role on their current roster, so Giambi could fill an obvious need for the club if he shows he can still hit. Even if the veteran makes the team, a number of players would still see time in that capacity next season, as Giambi has not played full time since 2008.
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The 2000 AL MVP hit 225/.372/.303 in 113 plate appearances last season with the Colorado Rockies. The Indians are likely hope that his keen eye at the plate can make up for his deteriorating contact skills and that he can manage a bit more slugging, as he did in 2011, when he hit .260/.355/.603 in part time duty.
The Indians are looking for Giambi to replace long time DH Travis Hafner, who signed with the Yankees this off-season. Hafner had been Cleveland’s primary DH since 2003, hitting 278/.382/.509 in his time there, but injuries had relegated him to a part time role in recent years and power slipped from his mid-twenties peak.
Given his ability to draw a walk, Giambi could give the Indians similar production to Hafner if he still has some pop left. He will share the DH role with catcher Carlos Santana, who saw 27 games there last year as well as the newly signed Mark Reynolds.