While the MLB lockout continues, teams are preparing for the 2022 season by setting their coaching staffs. Recently, a pair of former top SF Giants prospects were given new coaching assignments in the New York Mets system, and Monday a report dropped about a steady 1990s Giants infielder returning to pro baseball.
In a tweet posted Monday afternoon, Washington Nationals beat writer Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post reported that the Nationals had hired two former players to help with player development - one being former Giant Bill Mueller.
Mueller, 50, entered pro baseball as the 15th-round draft pick of the Giants in 1993 out of Missouri State. He made his Major League debut in 1996 and ended the campaign with a .330 batting average in 55 games, which set him up for a regular role.
Mueller was a reliable bat in the Giants lineup as they transitioned to (then-) Pac Bell Park
Over the next four seasons, Mueller served as the primary third baseman for the Orange and Black. A consistent hitter, Mueller put up averages of .292, .294 and .290 from 1997-1999, respectively, and his doubles totals were consistently in the mid- to high-20s. He didn't hit many home runs for the Giants, topping out at 10 in 2000.
After the 2000 season in which the Giants won the National League West, Mueller was shipped to the Chicago Cubs. His tenure in the Windy City lasted just short of two full seasons, until San Francisco re-acquired him for the stretch run in September, 2002. Mueller was just 2-for-13 in eight games as the team claimed the Wild Card, but he was ineligible for the postseason roster because he was picked up after August 31.
As a free agent after 2002, Mueller left for Boston and promptly upped his game. He won the American League batting title in 2003 by hitting .326, setting career-highs in runs (85), doubles (45), home runs (19) and RBI (85) in the process, and earned his only Silver Slugger.
Mueller won the 2004 World Series with the Red Sox, hitting .429 with two doubles in the Fall Classic, and had another solid season in 2005 before finishing his career with the Dodgers in 2006.
For his MLB career, Mueller batted .291 with 85 home runs, and over parts of six seasons with the Giants he hit .288 with 28 homers.
Mueller immediately transitioned to the Dodgers front office after his retirement, spending time as a special assistant to the general manager (at the time, former Giants executive Ned Colletti) starting in 2007 and then as a scout. He then joined the Cubs organization as a hitting coach for four seasons before returning to his native Missouri as an assistant hitting coach and first-base coach for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Mueller assisted with a high school team in the Phoenix, AZ, area in 2020 and 2021 and was working as a hitting coach at Arizona State before accepting the position with the Nationals.