I saw an article similar to this in the Newark Star Ledger a few years ago. The article was what the Mets could have for the price of Mo Vaughn. So I'm taking the idea for this article in regards to Jason Giambi.
As a note for the beginning of this piece: I don't actually believe one team could acquire all of these players at once. I'm just speaking theoretically in terms of money, so bare with me and hold off on comments of that nature please.
As Jason Giambi continues to struggle in April (.107, 2 HR, 4 RBI, .297 OBP), New York Yankees fans can only wonder "what if?"
What if Jason Giambi was not on the roster this year? What started off as a promising seven-year contract with Giambi in 2001, has become a horrendous deal for the New York Yankees.
His highly hyped arrival lived up to its expectations for all of one season before becoming the biggest contract bust of the 21st century.
So with Giambi not performing whatsoever, what else could the Yankees do with the $23,428,571 he's making in 2008? Well for one thing, they could field an entire 25 man roster that would put their current team to shame.
Let's take a look, shall we?
The current Yankees roster contains nine starters, four bench players, a starting pitching rotation of five and a bullpen of seven.
The following roster has the same configuration as the current Yankee roster but for the price of Jason Giambi. The players are listed by position, name, current team, and 2008 salary.
Catcher- Russell Martin, Los Angeles Dodgers- $500,000- Martin's breakout 2007 campaign makes him the best catcher in the big leagues right now. He's a five-category catcher (R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG.) and has the best chance of any catcher to go 20/20 every year. At age 25, who wouldn't take that?
First Base- Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers- $670,000- After a solid rookie campaign in 2006, Prince cracked 50 home runs last season and drove in over 100 runs. The bonus? He's only 23 years old.
Second Base- B.J. Upton, Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays- $412,100- Probably the most promising young player in the major leagues, Upton is virtually a lock to be 20/20 with a .300+ average every year. He's also only 23 years old and shows promise to only keep getting better. The sky is the limit here.
Third Base- Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals- $465,000- Also only 23 years old, Zimmerman shows signs of improvement each year. He played in all 162 games last season, so he's definitely durable. He's good for about .275, 20 HR, and around 100 RBI every year.
Shortstop- Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins- $439,000- Last year's NL MVP in my opinion is still only 24 but cranked nearly 30 homers last year, driving in 81 and stealing over 50 bags... from the lead-off spot. If this guy gets any better, he'll be more of a household name than Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz combined.
Left Field- Delmon Young, Minnesota Twins- $1,440,000- The highest paid player on this roster will not disappoint. While his strikeouts need to come down, this guy is only getting better in every facet of the game. His power and average should increase as he enters his prime, and he's capable of swiping a bag or two.
Center Field- Chris Young, Arizona Diamondbacks- $406,000- Although he just signed a beefy extension, Chris Young's 2008 salary is a bargain for his ability. Young cranked 32 homers in his sophomore season while swiping 27 bags. He'd be the perfect two hitter for this lineup.
Right Field- Nick Markakis, Baltimore Orioles- $455,000- Markakis just missed being a 20/20 guy last season while driving in over 100 runs and hitting .300. The best part? He's only going to get better.
Designated Hitter- Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers- $455,000- Braun was last season's rookie sensation for the Brew Crew. In only 113 games, he hit 34 home runs and drove in 97 runs. He's capable of stealing 20 bases in entering only his second year, which would be scary if he gets better.
Ace- Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies- $500,000- A lefty, 20 wins with this offense, a 3-something ERA, and somewhere around 200 K. Chien-Ming Who?
Second Starter- Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners- $540,000- King Felix is only 22 years old and is bound to become a star any start now. He finished last season just shy of 15 wins with a 3.92 ERA and 165 K in 190 innings. He'd be a great compliment to Hamels at the top of the rotation.
Stopper- Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants- $405,000- If a team can somehow beat up on Hamels and Hernandez, they won't be able to stump Lincecum. The 23-year-old had more strikeouts than innings pitched as a rookie last season while holding a sub 4.00 ERA. This kid is the real deal.
Fourth Starter- Francisco Liriano, Minnesota Twins- $410,000- While the effects of his Tommy John Surgery remain to be seen, Liriano was a stud in 2006. He won 12 of his 16 starts, striking out 144 in 121 innings and held a 2.16 ERA. Any questions?
Fifth Starter- Fausto Carmona, Cleveland Indians- $457,800- Another guy that just signed a beefy contract, Carmona comes at a value in 2008. After struggling as a rookie in 2006, Carmona won 19 games last season with a 3.06 ERA.
Closer- Jonathan Papelbon, Boston Red Sox- $775,000- For this kind of money, Papelbon could get paid only to dance for other teams. Since entering the big leagues in 2005, Papelbon has recorded 72 saves while posting a 1.56 ERA. Stud.
Set-Up Man- Manny Corpas, Colorado Rockies- $775,000- Anchored a World Series bullpen last season with a 2.08 ERA.
Middle Relief- Hideki Okajima, Boston Red Sox- $1,275,000- A 2.22 ERA last season propelled Okajima to the Red Sox set-up man. He puts up solid strikeout numbers for a reliever and has proven he can nab a save if needed.
Middle Relief- Matt Capps, Pittsburgh Pirates- $435,500- The closer for the Bucs last season from June on, Capps notched 18 saves while holding a 2.28 ERA.
Middle Relief- Tony Pena, Arizona Diamondbacks- $405,500- Arizona's new closer was a lock in 2007, holding a 2.17 ERA through the first half last season.
Middle Relief- Chad Billingsley, Los Angeles Dodgers- $415,000- Has made quite an impression on the Dodgers in each of the last two seasons and has yet to post an ERA above 3.80. He brings enough versatility to the table to make an emergency start when needed. In fact, in 20 starts last season, Billingsley averaged 8.1 strikeouts per nine innings. This guy has all the makings to be a stud.
Long Relief- Brian Bannister, Kansas City Royals- $421,000- Floyd's boy proved to be a hit before getting traded from the Mets last season. His stats this season? He's already 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA. Phenomenal.
Bench- (OF) Hunter Pence, Houston Astros- $396,000- Try to find a team with a better fourth outfielder than Pence. In my opinion, he's a lock for 20 homers, 80 RBIs, and a .300+ average when starting.
Bench- (MI) Howie Kendrick, Los Angeles Angels- $432,000- If it wasn't for two broken fingers last season, Howie Kendrick would be close to a household name. Not much power here, but a great average guy who doesn't strike out much.
Bench- (CI) Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego Padres- $875,000- What kind of lineup has a 30 homer guy on the bench? This guy puts up huge numbers in runs, homers, RBI, and average.
Bench- (C) Geovany Soto, Chicago Cubs- $401,000- Entering his rookie season, Soto saw some action in September last season. In eighteen games he hit 3 home runs and knocked in 8 runs, batting .389. He'll be a top catcher by the end of this season.
Well, that's the 25 man roster. How does that work out financially?
Total of 25 man roster: $14,160,900
Money still left over: $9,267,671
If worse comes to worse, the Yankees can always invest that extra $9 million into another washed up pitcher if they'd like.
Jason Giambi is not worth $23 million dollars. If the Yankees were to spend this money wisely, they could put their current team to shame as shown above.
For now, however, the Yankees will have to send an SOS to the baseball gods to put a spark in Giambi's bat. If manager Joe Girardi continues to protect Alex Rodriguez with him, they'll need him to start producing quickly.
If not, they can always think "what if?"