Baseball's best bench

Thanks to its versatility, the Cardinals' bench is leading the way in the major leagues

Updated: May 23, 2011, 1:43 PM ET
By Jonah Keri | FanGraphs
Allen CraigJoel Auerbach/Getty ImagesAllen Craig has played four positions this year and has helped give the Cardinals the best bench in baseball.

Eleven years removed from his MVP season, well past his prime and near the end of his career, Jason Giambi doesn't play much anymore. When the Rockies penciled him into the lineup Thursday, it marked just his second start in nearly a month.

But the 40-year-old slugger showed he had something left in the tank, blasting three homers and knocking in all seven of Colorado's runs in a blowout win over the Phillies. In the process, Giambi accomplished a feat that's becoming increasingly rare in baseball: providing a big contribution off the bench.

Jonah Keri (@jonahkeri) is a staff writer for Grantland. His book, The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team From Worst to First, is a national best seller. His new book Up, Up, and Away, on the history of the Montreal Expos, is now available for preorder.