Quotes from Indians DH Jason Giambi, re: re-signing with the club

Indians Designated Hitter Jason Giambi spoke with reporters today during a conference call after he re-signed with the club on Thursday. Here are some of his quotes from that chat:

On re-signing with the Indians early in the offseason: “I’m ecstatic about it. … I talked to my wife, and I’ve been talking to the Indians, and there is no place I want to be other than Cleveland. I had so much fun and I love the direction we are going – with this organization and this team, with Tito and the guys on this team, I had so much fun last year playing that I didn’t want to go anywhere else. The Indians gave me the opportunity to come back and I’m definitely blessed and I’m grateful for it.”

Discussions with Indians about returning: “I talked to Chris (Antonetti, Tribe GM) and Tito (Manager Terry Francona); they were feeling me out to see what I wanted to do. Did I still want to play? Did I want to go into coaching? I told them I’d really love to play. This was near the end of August or the beginning of September and I told them I still really wanted to play. After the season, Chris and Tito definitely had to sit down and see if there was still a fit for me in Cleveland because I told them I really loved it there and I really wanted to be back. At the end of the season I had my agent reach out to them again [to see if there was a spot for me on this team]and then I talked to Chris and they really felt like there was still a spot for me to help this ball club. I was ecstatic. I wanted to jump on that opportunity to sign back there and everything came about.”

On signing another Minor League contract: “I definitely know with my age and everything like that [it’s difficult] to get a big-league deal. Unless you are going to have a Raul Ibanez year with 27 homers [it’s difficult to find a Major League contract].

“I’m not worried about it (signing a Minor League contract). I’m going to come into spring in great shape. (Signing a Minor League contract) also helps the ball club out because they can protect their extra player that they need to protect, and I’m all for it. I love being here and I love being in Cleveland, I love everything about it.”

Thoughts on still playing at age 43 (turns 43 in January): “I think you only dream about it. This will be 20 Major League seasons for me. I think when you go through your certain stepping stones of your career — whether it be I need to get to the big-leagues, I need to stay in the big leagues, I need to try and last in the big-leagues and get my 10 years in — after that, everything is kind of gravy.  I’m definitely blessed and truly grateful for this opportunity. Not in my wildest dreams did I think that I would still be here. I don’t know if there will ever come a time that I’ll say that (going into a season thinking it’s the last). I think your body will give you a point and say I can’t do it anymore. There is going to come a point when that happens. I’m fighting and kicking and scratching to not make it happen, but there definitely is. I’ve been so blessed so far with my career in this game, it’s been unbelievable. Maybe someday, but right now I’m just trying to keep the attitude on what’s happening right here, right now in the present moment, which is to push this team to win a World Series because I think we have that type of ball club.”

On becoming a leader in the clubhouse: “I’m definitely honored. (Being recognized as a leader) comes a lot from your teammates. It’s not something you raise your hand and say, ‘Alright, I’m the team leader.’ I think I got such a taste of it when I was in Oakland, playing for those great teams of the late 80s –  when those guys were still around like Eck (Dennis Eckersley), (Mark) McGwire, (Terry) Steinbach and Dave Stewart, all of those great players –  I got a taste of it. Then when all those guys either retired, we traded Mark (McGwire) and then all of sudden (GM) Billy (Beane) and (Manager) Art (Howe) sat me down and said, ‘This is your team. You’re going to be that guy.’ I had a few years under my belt, I was still young and the team was brand new. We had (Tim) Hudson, (Mark) Mulder, (Barry) Zito, (Miquel) Tejada and (Eric) Chavez – I just really loved it (being the leader). I really wanted to embrace that position and make guys feel welcome, but also try to teach those guys what I had learned from Mark (McGwire), Steiny (Terry Steinbach) and those guys. I really felt that it was a gift that those guys passed on to me. They went out of their way to help me learn the game. I see it now, it’s kind of funny, they used to call me kid all the time when I was playing, and now I’m calling Kipnis that and it really gets passed on. I really think that’s the gift of the game. You pass it back down and even when you’re out of this game that’s how you still live in the game. You pass those lessons on and hopefully they will pass them down to the next generation.”

Thoughts on 2014 team mentality: “I definitely want this team to keep reaching further and further. I think what we have here in Cleveland is something special. I think this is a team that could have an opportunity to win a World Series. We definitely have the pitching to do it; we have the offense to make those strides. We are growing as a team, and I think we are going to keep getting better and better. Hopefully the guys come into spring training in great shape and wanting to further that. Not just, we made the playoffs last year (and be satisfied with that). I want us to keep moving forward and to not take a step backwards. I think this team, and the young players we have, and the pitching and the young pitching we have in the minor leagues, this team can be a force for years to come.”

–TribeVibe contributor Michael Stimpert

1 Comment

Love that Jason Giambi is coming back. I certainly wouldn’t mind having him close to watch play with the Clippers but would rather make the trip to Cleveland to see you.. fan of Jason since Yankee days

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