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12.12.2005

Mueller or Nomar? 

Now that Matt Morris is safely ensconsed in the Giants starting rotation (salary details to come), the attention of Giants' brass turns, or so we hope, to the other big hole on this team: a big bat, either at first or third.

Except for his AL batting-championship year in 2003, Bill Mueller has never been confused with a "big bat." Nomar Garciaparra, the object of much affection and speculation this winter, was everything you'd want from a big bat until A Series of Unfortunate Injuries in places you never want to imagine ouchy situations: the Achilles' heel (sharp intake of breath) and g-g-g-g-groin (collective groan of empathy).

Mueller is rumored to be on the Giants' radar screen. Nomar has not been mentioned once in connection with the team.

Also note: The Giants talk about needing a *left-handed* bat; Mueller is a switch hitter, Nomar is a right-handed hitter.

Two questions:

1) Should the Giants go for Nomar, Mueller, or someone else, perhaps in a trade?

2) Will the Giants go for Nomar, Mueller, or someone else, perhaps in a trade?

UPDATE: Here are the details of the Morris contract, courtesy of SI.com:

He will receive a $2 million signing bonus at the end of his contract and is scheduled to make $5 million next season and $9.5 million in both 2007 and '08. The contract contains a $9 million club option for a fourth season that could go up to as much as $11 million with escalators based on performance. He would receive a $1 million buyout if the option is declined.

Very well done by the Giants front office -- and without Ned The Contract Man! Cheap in '06 while Barry, Durham, Alfonzo, etc are still on the books, then $9.5 M in '07 and '08, when Cain and Lowry are staff leaders but still relatively cheap, and the 4-5 slots can be filled with Hennesseys, other farm hands (Burres? Misch? Valdez?) or low-cost vets from elsewhere. I assume the $2 M signing bonus would come due in '08 or perhaps '09. I also like the expensive club option -- a brass ring for Morris to shoot for, but no obligation for the Giants other than the almost negligible $1 M buyout.

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