Sources: A's, Giambi near deal

The Oakland Athletics and free agent first baseman and designated hitter Jason Giambi are on the verge of agreeing on a one-year deal with an option for 2010, sources told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney.

The deal would pay Giambi, who started his major league career in Oakland, $4 million in 2009 with a $6.5 million base salary for the option year in 2010. The second year would also provide for a $1.25 million buyout.

"I can confirm that I have spoken with the A's regarding Giambi, however, I cannot comment on the status of the negotiations," Giambi's agent, Arn Tellem, said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
Giambi, who turns 38 on Thursday, just completed a seven-year, $120 million contract with the Yankees that paid him $23.5 million last season. A 14-year veteran, he has a .286 career batting average with 396 home runs. New York declined its $22 million option on him after last season, choosing instead to pay him a $5 million buyout.

The addition of Giambi would be the second big offseason acquisition by general manager Billy Beane, who made a trade with Colorado for star outfielder Matt Holliday back in November.

Oakland announced in early November that Bob Alejo would become its new director of strength and conditioning -- a sign Giambi might be next to come back and return to his roots. Alejo served as the A's strength and conditioning coach from 1993 to 2001 and followed Giambi to the Yankees, working for Giambi personally and for the team during some years.

Giambi won the AL MVP for Oakland in 2000, then left for New York following the 2001 campaign. He enjoyed each return visit to the Bay Area, seeing old friends and making trips to the popular California chain of In-N-Out Burger. He said he tried to open an In-N-Out in New York to no avail.

Giambi, a second-round draft pick by the A's in 1992, made his major league debut for Oakland on May 8, 1995.

Giambi batted .247 with 32 home runs and 96 RBIs in 2008 for the Yankees, who missed the playoffs despite their $200 million payroll after a run of 13 consecutive postseason appearances. That's just one shy of the record set by the Atlanta Braves from 1991 to 2005.

Buster Olney is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.