It wasn't hard to see this coming, but the Yankees shaved nearly $30 million off their payroll on Tuesday by declining their options on Jason Giambi and Carl Pavano. Giambi, who was scheduled to earn $22 million in 2009, will instead receive a $5 million buyout. Pavano, who was due $13 million, will receive $1.95 million.
Neither player will ever sign another contract even half as lucrative as they one he just finished, but that doesn't mean they'll be unemployed come spring.
Giambi has his faults -- his defense is suspect, he can't hit for average -- but he has one of the best batting eyes in the game and can still hit the ball a mile when he connects. He was linked to the A's last month when some of his former teammates started publicly campaigning for him, and it's at least worth mentioning that the A's have hired his longtime personal trainer, Bob Alejo, as their new strength and conditioning coach.
A's GM Billy Beane scoffed at the notion that Alejo's arrival means anything -- Alejo is returning to the position he held with the A's from 1993-2001 before following Giambi to New York, so the team is already quite familiar with him -- but still, if Giambi is choosing between Oakland and another team, you have to figure he'll take it into consideration.
As for Pavano, he impressed a lot of people simply by proving he could pitch again. Granted, with a 5.77 ERA, he didn't pitch very well, but the simple fact he was able to walk to the mound, throw some pitches and hit the showers all without losing a limb exceeded expectations. He'll probably have to settle for an incentive-laden, non-guaranteed deal, but given the number of teams that help with the back of their rotation, it's almost certan that somebody will throw him a bone.