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Wednesday, December 18
Updated: December 18, 2:36 AM ET
GM: Long-term deal won't happen anytime soon

Associated Press

Newly acquired Jeremy Giambi agreed to a one-year contract with Boston on Tuesday as the Red Sox pursued their strategy of signing players to short-term deals.

Boston obtained him from Philadelphia on Sunday at baseball's winter meetings in Nashville, Tenn. The deal keeps Giambi from arbitration now, but has no option after the 2003 season.

Dec. 15
With Jim Thome in the fold, glove-challenged Jeremy Giambi became expendable, and it simply became a question of which American League club would hand its DH job to the younger Giambi. He's not the hitter that his brother is, but Jeremy's .381 career on-base percentage fits perfectly with what the sabermetrics-friendly Red Sox are trying to do. Now, to find a third baseman who will take a pitch ....

General manager Theo Epstein said he doesn't expect to work out a long-term deal with Giambi soon.

"More of them turn out to be albatrosses than money savers for the club," he said. "I think we're in a pretty good position in terms of our salary structure and, right now, I lean toward year-to-year deals."

He said the team has no formal limit on the length of contracts but if it's appropriate to offer a four-year contract, the Red Sox will offer three.

"As an organization, we're fairly conservative in terms of length," he said. "There's so much risk" in being bound to long-term deals.

The Red Sox obtained the 28-year-old Giambi, the younger brother of New York Yankees star Jason Giambi, for minor-league pitcher Josh Hancock.

Beantown Bashers
The Red Sox finished second to the Yankees in runs scored in the AL in 2002 and have appeared to upgrade their lineup by adding Jeremy Giambi (.414 OBP in 2002) and Todd Walker (.299, .353 OBP). How their potential lineup shapes up right now:

Johnny Damon, CF
Jeremy Giambi, DH
Nomar Garciaparra, SS
Manny Ramirez, LF
Shea Hillenbrand, 3B
Brian Daubach, 1B
Jason Varitek, C
Trot Nixon, RF
Todd Walker, 2B

Giambi, 28, earned $1,065,000 last season. He hit .274 with eight homers and 17 RBI for Oakland before he was traded to the Phillies on May 22 for John Mabry. He hit .244 with 12 homers and 28 RBIs for Philadelphia, and became expendable when the Phillies signed free agent Jim Thome.

Giambi can play outfield, designated hitter and first base, and has told Epstein he would report early to spring training to work on his defense at first base.

Neither of last season's first basemen, Brian Daubach and Tony Clark, is expected back. The Red Sox could keep Cliff Floyd, who played outfield and designated hitter for them last year but also may be tried at first.

Floyd has until Thursday to accept or reject Boston's salary arbitration offer. The team has until Friday to offer 2003 contracts to unsigned players.

"Cliff has a decision to make and we have a decision to make, too," Epstein said. He refused to discuss any ongoing negotiations between the team and Floyd.

Asked about free agent Jeff Kent, he said, "I don't want to talk about specific players."

Depending on how the Floyd situation is resolved, the Red Sox have several options to acquire other players and "all are palatable," Epstein said.

He returned from his first winter meetings as general manager Tuesday and spoke with four or five teams and several agents. But he said he didn't talk with the Montreal Expos, who are shopping pitcher Bartolo Colon.

One player Epstein knows he has is Giambi, who never has had more than 371 at-bats in a season.

"That's up to him," Epstein said of the possibility Giambi will see considerable time at first base. "He is the type of player who should get 500-plus at-bats. He's that good of a hitter."

He's one reason Epstein is pleased with what he accomplished in Nashville.

"I feel great about our situation," he said. "We're in a better position as an organization than we were a week ago."

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