Ex-Yankees 1B Jason Giambi Says Astros Scandal Is 'No Different' Than PED Use

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 3, 2020

Former New York Yankee Jason Giambi talks to reporters during Old Timer's Day at Yankee Stadium, Sunday, June 23, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Seth Wenig/Associated Press

Former MLB slugger Jason Giambi, who admitted to using steroids during his career in front of a grand jury in 2003, said he didn't see any differences between the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal and MLB players using performance-enhancing drugs.

"Everybody is always looking for an advantage," he said on SNY's Baseball Night in New York show (h/t Randy Miller of NJ.com). "It's no different than the PEDs. There's always going to be things going in this game when you're talking about people making a lot of money and wanting to win."

Giambi also said he was thankful that many MLB fans forgave him and supported him during the later years of his MLB career after his public apology in 2007:

"I sleep at night great. I don't have to worry about it. The biggest thing that came out of it is I created a whole new set of fans who first gave me a second chance, but also I don't know how many parents I run into that say, 'Hey, thank you so much for coming forward where I can tell my children if they make a mistake to tell the truth.'

"I think that's the biggest thing that came out of that, and I think that's what helped me be embraced for the second time around. It was because of that situation."

That may eventually be the case for the Astros as well, though it certainly wasn't during spring training, when a number of booing fans and MLB players from other teams openly mocked them.

A number of people were also angry that none of the players were punished. The Astros lost their first- and second-round picks in both the 2020 and 2021 drafts, were fined $5 million and manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were each suspended a year (both were fired by Houston).

"It's sad for baseball," Mike Trout told reporters in February. "It's tough. They cheated. I don't agree with the punishments, the players not getting anything. It was a player-driven thing. It sucks, too, because guys' careers have been affected, a lot of people lost jobs. It was tough. Me going up to the plate knowing what was coming—it would be pretty fun up there."

The difference between Giambi and the Astros is that he was not one of the players ever punished by baseball. The MLB's harsh punishments for steroid use would come later, with high-profile stars like Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez and Ryan Braun, among others, serving lengthy suspensions.

Giambi's legacy, on the other hand, undoubtedly took a hit.

The 2000 American League MVP was a five-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger, hitting .277 with 440 home runs and 1,441 RBI in his careers. Those numbers probably wouldn't have been enough to get him in the Hall of Fame, but his admission of steroid use surely ended any chance.