For the second spring in a row, the 43-year-old Giambi enters camp as a non-roster invitee, vying for a spot on Cleveland's bench as a pinch-hitter and part-time designated hitter. Given how manager Terry Francona gushes over "Big G," it is hard to imagine a scenario in which the long-time big leaguer is not a part of the Opening Day roster.
Even so, Giambi re-signed shortly after last season and once again willingly accepted a Minor League contract. It was a way for the Indians to guard against his age, but also a way for the team to maximize its depth with another, younger player on the 40-man roster.
At this point in his career, Giambi is fine with that approach.
"That's what happens when you're old," Giambi said with a chuckle. "They want a little bit of security, you know? They eventually feel that the rubber band is going to snap. The biggest thing is it doesn't make them make a decision. They can keep some of these young kids and come down to Spring Training and it really opens it up for the ballclub.
"This organization, with who's running it, [general manager] Chris Antonetti and Terry Francona, I don't worry about it."
Last year, Giambi was a critical part of the clubhouse leadership and he performed well for the team in clutch situations. He hit just .183 overall in 71 games, but Giambi launched three pinch-hit homers and posted a .271 average with runners in scoring position and a 1.181 OPS in ninth-inning at-bats.
"It's not about my average," Giambi said. "It's about getting big hits in big situations and what I could bring to the ballclub off the field. I felt like I could still answer the bell when he wanted me to play and do certain things to help this ballclub win. I told him I really was hoping to come back."
Francona certainly was not going to stand in the way of Giambi's return.
"He certainly walks the walk," Francona said. "I'll start on Day 1 and I'll probably be saying it on whatever the last day is, but having him around is a blessing. He's worth his weight in gold. He is so professional and he's been there and done it. That's really the only thing I told him in his meeting, the one-on-one, I said, 'G, the more you talk, the better we are.'"