Were Jason Giambi coming off a 40 HR, 120 RBI, .300 BA season, would the Yankees be so quick to disassociate themselves from the player? The answers are “no” and “fuck, no”. Newsday’s Jim Baumback reports.
Given a day to digest Jason Giambi’s admission of steroid use, the Yankees clammed up Friday, withholding all comment. But inside the front office, according to sources close to the team, the prevailing sentiment and plan of attack hadn’t changed: Nobody wants Giambi to return.
The Yankees are expected to attempt to void the final four years and $82 million left on Giambi’s seven-year, $120-million deal. A source familiar with the situation said George Steinbrenner is focusing on a clause in the standard player’s contract.
Paragraph 7 (b) (1) states that a club can terminate a contract if the player should “fail, refuse or neglect to conform his personal conduct to the standards of good citizenship and good sportsmanship or to keep himself in first-class physical condition.”
The Yankees believe Giambi’s steroid admission, which he detailed last December to a federal grand jury investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, is in direct violation of that clause, specifically the phrase that says the player be in “first-class physical condition.”
For the second day in a row, Giambi refused to comment through his agent, Arn Tellem. A spokesman for the Players Association, which is expected to fight any attempt by the Yankees to void Giambi’s contract, also declined comment.
Though the Yankees would love to rid themselves of their ties to Giambi by voiding his massive contract, one source familiar with the situation maintained that the club realizes it more likely will have to reach some sort of buyout agreement with the 33-year-old. It’s not clear whether Giambi will be open to such an agreement.
Not that I’m crying too hard for Giambi, but there is something funny about the same team that twice acquired David Wells (and tried to do so a third time) voiding another player’s deal for failure to stay in first-class physical condition.
While we’re on the subject of teams looking for excuses to bail on shortsighted deals, perhaps the Colorado Rockies will cite a morals clause in the contract of Denny Neagle?