I'm a nostalgia kind of guy. As an adult, I've spent money on a plastic A-Team lunch box found at a Santa Rosa antique store. I can't decide between Abbey Road and Pet Sounds for my favorite album of all-time. One of my proudest finds in high school was a Schoolhouse Rock t-shirt. I'm just a bill, indeed.
So it doesn't take much for me to approve a Bill Mueller acquisition, especially considering he would be replacing Pedro Feliz. Feliz seems like a nice guy; the kind of player who keeps his head down and plays the game hard. But he drives me nuts. It's as if this is his hobby, and the whole time he's in the batter's box, he's thinking about his day job.
Crap, fastball. Swing! Nope. Slider. Looked like a fastball when he threw it.
...ways to get a point across, and then there's just being a jerk. I just don't know if it's the right time to go above his head. He certainly doesn't listen to me, or even see me as a peer, that's for...
"What the hell was that? A strike? Well, yeah. I knew that, but what kind of pitch was that? A 'knuckle-curve'? Oh, now you're just making stuff up."
Feliz isn't outrageously expensive, and there are some teams who just can't ignore their blind power fetish. He could even fetch something in a trade, but that would be gravy. Just swapping Feliz out with Mueller straight up would be an improvement.
There are some major caveats, though. There always are. For all of my "2008's gonna suck anyway" bluster, even I wouldn't touch Mueller for a guaranteed third year. There is no way Mueller is going to age that well. He's likely to have a long, Dave Magadan-like pinch-hitting career after he's through starting, but that isn't worth $4-$5M.
We've also seen what Mueller can and can't do in Mays Field. His 2000 season was before he bloomed into the Mueller enjoyed by the Boston faithful, but it still serves as evidence for a guess on what he would do here. Whatever power he showed in Boston couldn't be counted on.
Exchanging Feliz for Mueller would add another hitter to the lineup who can avoid outs. That'd be outstanding, but it isn't everything the Giants need. There would still be a nasty lack of power on the roster. After Bonds, there would only be Moises Alou to expect power from. Alou is more of a good hitter that happens to have a little power, less of a guaranteed power source. After that, the Giants would have to scrape and dink, dunk and bloop to get their runs. Vizquel, Mueller, Winn, Durham, Sweeney...not a bad hitter in the bunch, but I'd guess they're good for about 40 combined homers, and I'd take the under. There are more than a few ways to score runs, but just one more power hitter would be the wig on Sinead O'Connor for this team, making palatable what was once, uh, you know, Sinead O'Connor.
Mueller was my favorite player when he was on the Giants, and one of an incredibly small number of players I wouldn't boo as a Dodger. I'd almost go for that third year just to never see him in Dodger blue. But he isn't the player to break the budget for, and he isn't even that much of a given in his mid-30s to outperform Feliz. The arms are open for the prodigal fruit of the farm system's loins, just as long as it comes with a pseudo-hometown discount, and a hope that a power hitter will still materialize before March.