On an optimism scale of 1-to-10 -- ten is being up by 14 in the ninth inning of Game Seven, one is the look on Ray Liotta's face in Goodfellas when he finds out his wife flushed the cocaine down the toilet -- the Giants have me hovering around a four. I suppose a four would be Ray Liotta having a day-to-day hamstring injury in Field of Dreams. No, maybe a four would be writing a script that requires the character to have a thick accent, and the producer is demanding Kevin Costner for the role.
Whatever. After Durham signed, I could almost see how the Giants could start the season with a glimmer of hope. Call it a five. A trade for Richie Sexson without giving up Lowry or Sanchez would have been a seven, no matter how unlikely. A simple Craig Wilson signing would have been enough to get over the five hump.
The rumored Feliz signing stuns me. It means Rich Aurilia will be a starting first baseman, and most of the benefits of having Aurilia in the first place are completely negated by starting him at first. Feliz as a replacement for Jose Vizcaino is a decent idea, but that won't be his role at $5M. The over/under on starts at third if Feliz signs is at 140, and I'll take the over. What really, really, really scares me, though, is what the idea that the Giants might not sign Barry Bonds. Any shard of optimism to be found wholly relies on Bonds coming back.
I'm not going to go so far as to write that I'll quit blogging if Bonds doesn't come back. That'd be silly. No, you'd just leave on your own. Don't believe me? Allow me to show you the future of this site if Bonds isn't on the 2007 roster:
The gulls were out at AT&T Park last night. Flying over a carcass...a carcass of bread. Because that's what the Giants are, you know? A big carcass of bread. The didn't spend the BREAD when they NEEDED to. So the bread and the personification became one; symbiotic. Now it is the lifeless mass you see now. Putrid. Wasting away.
I've seen a seal crawl down the edge of a straight-razor. That's my dream.... That's my nightmare....
Which is all to say: Please sign Bonds. Pretty, pretty please. Trading a chunk of the future and present for Manny Ramirez is idiotic. Pretending any other player could fill the offensive void is ludicrous. This has nothing to do with memories or watching a record. For a myriad of reasons, I'm not really juiced for 756. This has everything to do with performance and run scoring. With Bonds the Giants might -- might -- score enough runs to contend. It would take a lot more than that, like some fluke performances from other lineup spots or a first baseman gift from the heavens, but a fella could dream. At least let me enter March with the same amount of optimism I had before the 1997 season; there wasn't much, but it was there and it was validated.
I'm not with the The Season is Over Brigade right now. I'm not optimistic, but anything can happen. Fred Lewis could hit .300/.400/.500 as an injury replacement. Feliz could hit .270/.310/.480. Tim Lincecum could go Verlander on the league. It isn't that any of those things are likely in the slightest, but baseball has a way of shutting up prognosticators every single season. Without Bonds, though, the happy thoughts go away.