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Thursday, December 13
Updated: December 19, 10:26 AM ET
Giambi tops Yankees' arsenal of new additions

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- His long hair trimmed and his goatee shaved, Jason Giambi stepped into Yankee Stadium wearing a three-piece suit and looking like a new man.

Giambi is Greater
Averages over the last four years for Jason Giambi and all players who have manned first base for the Yankees:
  Giambi Yankees 1B
BA .321 .266
HR 35.3 26.5
RBI 122.5 114
Runs 106 91
OBP .440 .335

As in, the kind of guy who puts on pinstripes for a living.

After weeks of anticipation, the prime free agent and the New York Yankees made it official Thursday: He signed a $120 million, seven-year contract.

"This is my best fit," said Giambi, who briefly choked up at the podium. "This was the team I was hoping would come after me."

About a dozen fans met him outside the ballpark when he arrived on a cold, damp afternoon. The slugging first baseman signed autographs and showed off his wild side, engaging a spirited bit of give and take.

"You know you'll hear me screaming," one man playfully shouted.

"I better!" Giambi shot back.

The 2000 AL MVP, Giambi was runner-up for the award this season after hitting .342 with 38 homers and 120 RBI for Oakland.

Giambi, 30, also led the league in on-base percentage (.477) and slugging (.660) last season.

From City Hall to the Bronx, people were buzzing about the new big bopper.

"Jason Giambi has a star quality that fits in New York," Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said.

"He'll add a dimension to the Yankees that's terrific as a slugger, the way Reggie Jackson did and Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth -- all left-handed power hitters."

Giuliani, Berra and manager Joe Torre were among several luminaries who called Giambi, trying to lure the first baseman to New York. Former first baseman Don Mattingly wrote him a letter.

Heading to the candy store
What Jason Giambi could buy with his $120 million:

1.75 percent of the New York Yankees:
value: $18,292,000
1,000 2002 model "Fatboy" Harley Davidson motorcycles:
value: $15,795,000
100,000 removable New York Yankees tattoos:
value: $275,000
200,000 1991 gem mint Topps Traded Jason Giambi rookie cards:
value: $20,000,000
3,000,000 Yankee fans invited to party at the WWF Restaurant in New York:
value: $64,638,000
--Darren Rovell

Berra was at the park to greet Giambi. While the entire Yankee Stadium field was torn up to work on the drainage system, the legacy of greatness was intact.

"I told him there's a tradition here," Berra said.

Not that Giambi needed to hear about all the history. He already knew it after growing up in California as a Yankees' fan, idolizing Mantle.

Unable to wear the No. 16 he sported in Oakland -- the Yankees have retired it to honor Hall of Famer Whitey Ford -- Giambi put on his new uniform with the No. 25.

Giambi picked the number because the digits added up to the Mick's No. 7.

"Well, pop, it's not 7, but it's pinstripes," he told his dad.

His father, John, sat a few feet away and could hardly stop smiling. Also a lifelong Yankees' rooter, he was momentarily speechless when Berra came over and introduced himself.

Giambi joined a team that has won four of the last six World Series. His contract includes a club option for an eighth year.

"You have the most incredible surroundings to win," Giambi said. "Besides the money, all the other things, the intangibles."

Welcome to the 'jungle'
NEW YORK -- Jason Giambi needs a place to live in the city, and the newest New York Yankees star may have found the perfect real estate agent in Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

"He was going to help me find somewhere to live, so I'm going to take him up on it," Giambi said at a City Hall on Friday.

Because most professional athletes opt for the suburbs instead of the five boroughs, Giambi was asked if he was serious about moving to the city.

"Oh definitely, I'm coming right into the jungle," said Giambi. "I'm coming right into the jungle. I'm living here. I'm living in the city. There's no doubt. One of the main reasons why I came here was to experience it all."

Giambi, 30, signed a $120 million, seven-year contract on Thursday to play for the Yankees. Giuliani was among the prominent New Yorkers who called Giambi recently, trying to lure the free agent from Oakland to the Yankees.

Giambi, however, may want to rethink taking the mayor up on his offer for real estate help: Giuliani needs a place to live, too.

The mayor moved out of Gracie Mansion a few months ago after filing for divorce from his wife, and is currently living with a friend. After Giuliani leaves office Dec. 31, his estranged wife and two children will move back into the family's Upper East Side apartment -- but the mayor will not be going with them.
-- The Associated Press

One thing that was very visible: a clean-cut Giambi, who said, "I wanted to make sure it was cut and shaved."

His hair was free flowing and hung almost to his shoulders when he starred for the Athletics. That's not the Yankees' style, and Giambi seemed comfortable with his hair well above the collar.

"I'm just very happy to have him," owner George Steinbrenner said in a statement. "He's one great kid and I know he's going to be a great Yankee."

After losing Game 7 of this year's Series to Arizona, New York swiftly made changes.

The Yankees traded for third baseman Robin Ventura and outfielder John Vander Wal and signed free agent Steve Karsay. They have reached preliminary agreements with outfielder Rondell White and pitcher Sterling Hitchcock.

But Giambi was the biggest acquisition. He became part of team that has not had someone hit even 30 home runs in 10 of the last 14 seasons.

Giambi's left-handed power stroke is ideal for Yankee Stadium, with its short right field. He is a career .245 hitter at the park, with just one home run in 102 regular-season at-bats, but that was against New York's stellar staff.

The Yankees chased the A's from the playoffs in the last two seasons, both times in a decisive Game 5. Last October, Giambi went 4-for-4 while Oakland lost 5-3 in the final game.

Giambi takes over for first baseman Tino Martinez, who hit 34 homers.

"I know I'm replacing a great Yankee," Giambi said. "He's a winner. He's got World Series rings to prove it."

Torre said he was not sure where Giambi would hit in the lineup.

Once he became a free agent, Giambi seemed destined to sign with the Yankees. But the A's had their chance long ago to lock him up.

Last spring, Giambi turned down a $91 million, six-year extension offered by the Athletics because they refused to include a no-trade clause.

"The A's never moved where they stood," Giambi said.

On Thursday, Athletics co-owners Steve Schott and Ken Hofmann tried to explain how such a popular player got away.

"The Oakland Athletics made Jason a solid offer that would've paid him more than one-third of our team's annual payroll," they said in a statement. "This is just another example that the economic problems of major league baseball are out of control."

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