Last licks? Indians slugger Giambi heads into offseason undecided on continuing playing career



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CLEVELAND — Jason Giambi's 19th season didn't go as planned. He's not sure there will be a 20th.

As the Indians closed 2014 short of the playoffs, Giambi said Sunday he hasn't decided whether he'll try to extend a major league playing career that began with Oakland in 1995.

"I've been playing this game since I was five years old," the 43-year-old said before the Indians finished a three-game series with Tampa Bay. "That's your whole life. If you look at it, it's 40 years of doing the same thing. It's been unbelievable. It's been fun. But, I still haven't made a decision about what I'm going to do yet.

"Who knows? Maybe somebody's looking for a broken down 44-year-old to kind of take a few extra hacks."

Giambi didn't contribute much on the field this season. He broke a rib during spring training and began the year on the disabled list. He was also on the DL with a strained calf and sore left knee.

Entering Sunday's game, he was batting just .133 with two homers and five RBIs in 60 at-bats.

However, Giambi's influence off the field couldn't be quantified. The Indians re-signed him to a minor league contract after last season, knowing he would be a positive influence on young players throughout their organization.

Giambi did just that as a role model, mentor and leader. He also graciously gave up his No. 25 to Jim Thome, when the former Indians slugger wanted to retire with Cleveland. Giambi went to back No. 72, the number he wore when he first went to camp with the Athletics.

Indians manager Terry Francona said everyone — players, coaches and even a manager who has won two World Series titles — learned from Giambi.

"This guy brings so much and he's so special to be around that you savor it and take what you can because he has a lot of offer," Francona said.

With 440 career homers, Giambi is 41st on the career list. He's not sure if that number will grow, and doesn't know what uniform he'll wear next — or if he'll put one on at all.

He was a finalist for Colorado's managerial job in 2012 and Francona knows Giambi "is going to do whatever he wants to do."

For now, Giambi is only making one offseason commitment.

"I'll go home and enjoy my family," he said. "That's the biggest thing I've got on my plate right now, just go home and enjoy every minute of that. And then I'll worry about what the universe has got in store for me next. I have not made one decision. There's some teams I'm sure that have kind of been asking my agent what I'm going to do, but I don't even want to know who it is.

"I don't care right now. I just want to go home and enjoy my kids and have fun."

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