Following the 2012 season, there was talk that Jason Giambi, then 41, would retire after 18 seasons and become a manager. He had wrapped up his fourth year in Colorado and seemed at the inevitable death that John Updike wrote awaits all athletes at the conclusion of their careers.
But there was a glimmer of the former slugger still bottled up in his brawny frame, the power-hitting lefty who only four times hit above .300 but in 13 seasons slugged above .800. At 41 years old, he still managed 113 plate appearances, recording just 20 hits and five extra-base hits all year. But he walked nearly as many times as he struck out, 20 and 24 respectively, and his .225 batting average was supplemented by a .372 on-base percentage.
And that combined with his invaluable addition to the clubhouse made him a natural target for the Cleveland Indians in 2013, looking for the wily 'ol veteran to come in, maybe hit a couple home runs or two, and mentor the Tribe players of the future.
He came through to the tune of nine home runs, 31 RBIs in just 186 at-bats. He batted just .183, but 23 walks gave him a .282 on-base percentage. Not the stuff of legend, not the stats of an every-day masher, but enough to make him a quick fan favorite in Cleveland.
And in 2014, after he will turn 43, he will be coming back.
Giambi and the Indians have agreed to another one-year minor league deal that could bring him back as the 25th man again in 2014. With guys like Mike Aviles and Ryan Raburn as super utility guys, combining for the defensive and hitting value of a handful of bench players, there is certainly room for Giambi for another go.
He is probably best known for knocking a game-winning home run in late September against the Chicago White Sox, keeping playoff hopes alive during a 10-game winning streak to close out the season.
Indians fans hope that the Giambino, the slugger with 438 home runs and a .400 career on-base percentage has a little bit more to offer next year.