Today, the New York Yankees have declined the player options for first baseman Jason Giambi and starting pitcher Carl Pavano, making both players free agents, as reported by MLB.com. The Yankees will most likely not bring either player back to the team, or pursue them in free agency.
Saying Goodbye to Giambi
Giambi, 37, was an on-and-off, hot and cold player while with the Yankees. Before his arrival in the big apple, he played for the Oakland Athletics from 1995-2001. While with the A's, Giambi slugged 187 home runs, was named to two All-Star teams, and won the 2000 Most Valuable Player award.
The Yankees signed Giambi prior to the 2002 campaign for seven years and $120 million. He had big shoes to fill, as he was the man to replace Tino Martinez at first base. On May 17, 2002, Giambi "earned his pinstripes" when he hit a walk-off grand slam in a rain soaked, extra inning game at one in the morning to beat the Minnesota Twins 13-12.
In addition to his decent power numbers in 2002, he made an impression by winning the Home Run Derby, the first Yankee to win the contest since Martinez in 1997. No other Yankee since Giambi has won the contest.
Giambi produced in 2002 and 2003 for the Yankees, and helped out with two home runs against Pedro Martinez in the seventh game of the 2003 American League Championship Series. The Yankees beat the Red Sox to go to the World Series in 2003, but the Bronx Bombers lost the fall classic in six games to the Florida Marlins.
After the 2003 season, Giambi's power numbers went on a steady decline. In 2004, he only hit 12 homers and knocked in 40 runs over 80 games. He was hurt for most of the year, and was diagnosed with a benign tumor on July 30, 2004. He underwent treatment for it, and played again in September.
Giambi came back in 2005, and excelled. He hit 32 homers, had 87 RBI, and played in 139 games. For his efforts, he won the 2005 American League comeback player of the year award. His momentum carried over to 2006, when he led the Yankee team in home runs with 37, knocked in 113 runs, and played in 139 games for the second straight year.
After his solid 2006 campaign, Giambi reverted back to his poor production in 2007. Injured again, he hit only 14 home runs, knocked in 39 runs, and played in 83 games, 53 of which he was the designated hitter.
In what was most likely his final year in pinstripes, Giambi hit 32 homers, knocked in 96 runs, and played in 145 games in 2008, the most games he had played in since the 2003 season. During his tenure as a Yankee, Giambi crushed a total of 209 homers and knocked in a whooping 604 runs.
Saying Goodbye to Pavano
Pavano, 32, broke into the majors in 1998 for the Montreal Expos. He was part of the deal that brought Pedro Martinez to the Boston Red Sox. He played in Montreal until 2002, compiling a 30-45 record for the Expos. He was traded to the Florida Marlins in 2002, and became a vital part of the Marlins' 2003 World Series win over the Yankees. With the Fish, he went 33-23.
Pavano had his best year in 2004 for Florida, going 18-8 with a 3.00 ERA. With his numbers high, the Yankees signed him prior to the 2005 campaign, a year that the Yankees needed starting pitchers after the 2004 meltdown to the Red Sox in the ALCS. It was made official on December 20, 2004, as he signed a four year, $39.95 million deal to pitch for the Yankees.
In 2005, Pavano started strong for the Bronx Bombers, with seven quality starts in his first 10 games. Over that span, he went 4-2 with 3.69 ERA. It would not last long, however, as injuries plagued him for the rest of his Yankee career.
In June of 2005, Pavano was injured and went to the disabled list. He went 4-6 with a bloated 4.77 ERA overall for the 2005 season. The Yankees expected him to come back and pitch effectively in 2006, but it was not meant to be. Pavano injured himself in spring training, sidelining him for the entire year.
Before the 2007 season, Yankees' ace Mike Mussina publicly called out Pavano and said that he needed to prove that he wanted to pitch for the Yankees, and that he wasn't the only Yankee who felt that way.
Yankee manager Joe Torre said that Pavano's workload for repairing his clubhouse image was "sizable." Pavano didn't return to full form in the 2007 campaign, as he only started two games and went 1-0 with a 4.76 ERA. With an elbow injury, Pavano opted for Tommy John surgery, ending his 2007 season.
The Yankees allowed Pavano to return in 2008. He did not begin his rehab until July of 2008, when he started a game for the Charleston River Dogs. He allowed one hit and one walk in two scoreless innings.
He finally made his way back to the show and with the Yankees on August 23. In his first start back in the majors, he went five innings, gave up three earned runs on seven hits, walked one and fanned five in a 5-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles.
In his final season in the Bronx, he went 4-2 with a 5.77 ERA. Overall with the Yanks, he was 9-8 and was injured for the majority of his time.
Photo/Sources/Credit: MLB.com, Yankees.com, Baseball-Reference.com.