The Figgins Rumor Passes

Dave · December 3, 2009 at 7:40 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

The newest rumor makes a lot more sense, and this one I’d believe. If the M’s are going to spend big on a hitter this winter, Chone Figgins makes the most sense of any free agent.

Remember how we talked about the team needing options, not solutions, at multiple positions? That’s Figgins. He’s a good glove at third, a solid glove at second, and decent in the outfield. Which infield spot he played could be determined after they figure out what the trade market for Jose Lopez looks like, and even after they see Tui take groundballs at both 2B and 3B in spring training. Or, if they keep Lopez and Tui has a monster spring, easily outplaying Saunders, he could shift to left field for a while.

He would give the team a tremendous amount of flexibility in developing their young players without having to count on any one of them. That type of multi-position availability is a real positive given the construction of the roster. Where a player like Bay would get in the way of the development of the youngsters, Figgins would give the team the ability to let the kids compete against each other.

Figgins isn’t going to repeat his 2009 season again, but he’s probably a +3 win player for 2010, about as valuable as either Beltre or Bay in production. The added value of his positional flexibility and his ability to switch-hit makes him the best fit for this roster, assuming the price isn’t exorbitant. At something like 4/40, Figgins makes a lot of sense for this team.

Don’t buy into the Jason Bay rumors. Do buy into the Chone Figgins rumors. This one passes all the logic tests.


131 Responses to “The Figgins Rumor Passes”

  1. MsofEnchantment on December 4th, 2009 11:06 am

    My favorite aspect of a potential Figgins signing is the flexibility it gives us beyond this year. For example, say Beltre (with the Phils’ Polanco signing) decides he won’t get more money anywhere else and decides to accept arbitration. That means this alignment for 2010:
    3B – Beltre
    2B – Figgins
    Ackley developing his 2B skills in the minors

    In 2011, we would have the ability to let Beltre move on (maybe he’ll break out and move up to a Type A free agent), move Figgins to third and bring Ackley in at 2nd.

    Figgins is the type of player you can afford to give a longer term contract to because of his positional flexibility and patient approach that won’t regress as much as other skill sets.

  2. heychuck01 on December 4th, 2009 11:09 am

    I would like this signing, personally. First and foremost it gives you a quality switch-hitter who should frequently be on base.

    But after that, it could give the M’s so much flexibility going forward. Figgins could be a regular at 3B/2B or left. I wouldn’t put him at first, or anywhere else for that matter, but I suppose you could.

    But anyway, the dream scenario (although grounded in reality) I would envision is Figgins as the M’s regular 2B, but also play him alot in left to spell Saunders. Since it doesn’t look like there is much interest from other teams in Lopez, keep him (he is still fairly cheap), and make him your main DH. Then sign Branyan or Johnson. Have Lopez spell them at 1B (because either will ‘should’ only play about 100 games there). You could play Lopez at 2B when Saunders is sitting. At the coup de grace is signing Beltre to play 3B for a few more years 🙂

    Anyway, I love power hitters too, but you can’t always get everything you want, and there are alot of ways to score runs etc etc

  3. amnizu on December 4th, 2009 11:13 am

    There’s probably more benefit to him in having Figgins frequently getting on base ahead of him than in having Ichiro batting behind him, because without a base open pitchers are less likely to risk a walk with the bendy stuff (this would be true with Ichiro leading off too, of course). Given all the infield singles Ichiro hits, having guys on base creates more opportunities for fielders-choice outs (though Ichiro, with insane bat control and more holes in the infield thanks to fielders holding runners, probably can change his approach to mitigate that).

    Good point about the infield hits, so in your scenario where does this leave Gutierrez? Ichiro! needs to lead off assuming he isn’t willing to change his approach (which I think is a big assumption he still reached 215 hits in ’08 with a “low” .310 average, granted 686 AB). I’d assume you would want Figgins in #2 instead of #3 or #5. Do you slide him to say the bottom half of the order? That seems like a waste to me, but at the same time he isn’t good enough for the middle of the order yet. This would of course be a GREAT problem to have, and yes I am way ahead of reality here.

  4. hoser on December 4th, 2009 11:29 am

    While I like the idea of adding a quality switch-hitting player with defence and discipline while simultaneously weakening a division rival, I regret the lost draft pick to said rival.

    The ideal scenario to me seems to involve the Angels bidding higher and re-signing him while spending a few more millions than they otherwise would have had to.

    If our existing options give us 1 WAR and Chone Figgins gives us 2.5 WAR for $10m then we are spending $6 2/3m per win, significantly over the budget Dave laid out.

    If there is a $25m budget then Harden at $10m, Branyon at $6m and and Figgins at $10m exceeds it. We then have Branyon, Griffey, Carp and Shelton for FB and DH and no Zaun or equiv.

    Z should definitely be discussing many options including this one. I don’t understand that it is the lowest $/WAR option.

  5. eman_msfan on December 4th, 2009 11:32 am

    All I know is, whoever bats behind those two will drive in a lot of runs. Maybe they could win the MVP!

    Griffey for MVP!!!

  6. Dave on December 4th, 2009 11:39 am

    Rosenthal says deal is very close, for about 4/36.

    I give it a thumbs up.

  7. diderot on December 4th, 2009 11:56 am

    If it’s that money, I think it’s a no-brainer.

  8. Alex on December 4th, 2009 11:58 am

    Yes, very happy if its under $10 million a year.

  9. Marinerman1979 on December 4th, 2009 11:59 am

    9 per??? Outstanding. I still hope we(“they” for those who don’t like this sort of speak) are still in on Lackey.

  10. coreyjro on December 4th, 2009 12:04 pm

    The amount of Chone Figgins projections on FanGraphs is about to go through the roof.

  11. Jake N. on December 4th, 2009 12:09 pm

    Ok, so do I get a reprieve for my love of Figgins? I thought I was driving that wagon alone…

  12. JerBear on December 4th, 2009 12:11 pm

    Intellectually I like it – slightly concerned about a 4 year deal at his age, but the price is right.

    Emotionally, however, it will be a hard deal to like if it goes through. I’ll just miss Beltre like heck – and plus I’ve just spent too much time directing irrational hatred towards Figgins for being a part of the freaking Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim California Earth. And for his stupid name. Now I might have to like him? Damn.

  13. joser on December 4th, 2009 12:24 pm

    Good point about the infield hits,

    Well, I’m going to correct myself on this, because it’s a trap I’ve fallen into before (and others do as well).

    Ichiro’s BA when

    bases empty: .331
    men on base: .336
    .man on 1st: .331
    .man on 2nd: .370
    .men on 1&2: .318

    Obviously he already knows how to change his approach. So ignore what I wrote. Ichiro! has only GIDP 43 times in 2312 opportunities in his career. He deserves his exclamation point, and I should never, ever doubt him.

  14. diderot on December 4th, 2009 12:25 pm

    Before I forget to mention this…



  15. fiftyone on December 4th, 2009 12:26 pm

    Now I might have to like him?

    As perpetually annoyed at him as I have been (and for the same reasons as you, Jer), I relish the opportunity to seize his peskiness and wield it in our favor. Some pitchers may say “oh crap” to themselves when Ryan Howard comes up with a man on, but plenty of pitchers hate it when Figgins comes to the plate in ANY situation.

  16. joser on December 4th, 2009 12:31 pm

    Now I might have to like him? Damn.

    No, but you’d have to stop irrationally hating him. On certain fielding plays you can still say “Beltre would’ve got that…” (though pretty much no other human being would have).

    And should he don the becompassed orb, I for one will still be pronouncing his name the way it is spelled.

  17. TomTuttle on December 4th, 2009 12:37 pm

    As good as this deal looks for at least the first two years (assuming it gets done, of course), the question still is will there be enough power to go around for this team to play deep into October next year?

    That’s the question you’ve got to ask.

    A legitimate #2 pitcher/sidekick for Felix wouldn’t hurt either.

  18. coreyjro on December 4th, 2009 12:40 pm

    I need mo POWAHHH!

    I heard that you can score runs without extra base hits. Can anyone confirm or deny this?

  19. TomTuttle on December 4th, 2009 12:42 pm

    I heard that you can score runs without extra base hits. Can anyone confirm or deny this?

    Hahahaha, can’t argue that too much.

    But it still wouldn’t hurt to have another left handed bat or two in our lineup.

    Too bad Ibanez didn’t want to sign up to be our DH this year.

  20. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on December 4th, 2009 12:47 pm

    I like this better than the old relationship with the Angels where we’d get rolled and take the declining cast-offs. Sure Figgins isn’t as good as he was last year, but picking him up is both a good move for us AND a hit to our division rival. I know Bavasi wasn’t playing patty-cake with the Angels, but it sure felt like it sometimes.

    Plus the deal isn’t too bad if it is as advertised. I’d like to think his skills make him tradeable in years 3 and 4 if you don’t need him anymore for some reason.

  21. Banton on December 4th, 2009 1:01 pm

    Mariner Fan-

    What do you mean “Sure Figgins isn’t as good as he was last year”?

    Unless I am missing something, we have not started the new season yet.

  22. robbbbbb on December 4th, 2009 1:02 pm

    Rosenthal says deal is very close, for about 4/36.

    I give it a thumbs up.

    F$&% Yeah! For a guy who’s a 3 WAR player, that’s an awesome deal.

    Dave said earlier this season that the M’s are going to need to squeeze extra runs out of their payroll than the standard $5M/win you get in free agency. This is a great start.

  23. Graham on December 4th, 2009 1:05 pm

    What do you mean “Sure Figgins isn’t as good as he was last year”?

    Unless I am missing something, we have not started the new season yet.

    His performance last season is better than one might expect from a player with his actual level of talent.

  24. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on December 4th, 2009 1:11 pm

    What do you mean “Sure Figgins isn’t as good as he was last year”?

    Unless I am missing something, we have not started the new season yet.

    Banton, Figgins was a 6+ WAR player last year. He’s done that exactly zero other times in his career, and usually hovers somewhere between 2.5 and 3+. It’s possible he’s turned some magical corner and will maintain this level of offense will hold up, but I don’t really see it.

    I agree with Dave when he says, “Figgins isn’t going to repeat his 2009 season again, but he’s probably a +3 win player for 2010. . . ”

    That’s something to be happy with given the flexibility we get along a reasonable price tag.

  25. stevie_j13 on December 4th, 2009 1:18 pm

    Despite the WAR, the defense, and the “peskiness” (could Figgins explode the Bloomquist grit-o-meter?), it’s the walks that get me excited. M’s were dead last is BB% and OBP – we need guys on base! Next up: someone to drive them in.

  26. gwangung on December 4th, 2009 1:18 pm

    I agree with Dave when he says, “Figgins isn’t going to repeat his 2009 season again, but he’s probably a +3 win player for 2010. . . ”

    Unstated in that there’s a decent chance (though not a probability) that he does better than that. At 4/36, that’s not a bad price to pay.

  27. joser on December 4th, 2009 1:28 pm

    Of course, if wins are still valued at about $4M per (this could go down if the market is really as soft as it is initially looking) then even a 3 WAR Figgins at $9M a year is a pretty good deal.


    Thanks. I like to drop mots of varying bon-ness into my longer posts for the same reason Van Halen always requested a bowl of M&Ms of particular colors — to see if folks are paying attention. And to try to reward them if they are.

    And because it amuses me, and I can’t help myself.

    I heard that you can score runs without extra base hits. Can anyone confirm or deny this?

    Heck, Rickey Henderson used to do it without any hits at all (walk, steal, FC advance to 3rd, FC score).

  28. moyerLIVES on December 4th, 2009 1:30 pm

    MLBTR says the price is coming down, currently at 4/35.

  29. just a fan on December 4th, 2009 1:38 pm

    Any thoughts on the price dropping on Figgins? Hoping to leave room to sign N. Johnson and Harden still.

    I know Dave budgeted his offseason plan for $95 million, but has there been any word on specifically what the budget is?

    Figgins would put us around 80 million (a guess on the high end, I’m sure Dave knows the real number). Thing is, unless they’ve come out and said it, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the M’s push over 100 million. I don’t see any reason to assume they couldn’t afford Figgins along with, say, Johnson (or Delgado?), Harden and Lackey, if they really wanted to. We know they went over-budget to acquire Bedard. Among those four guys, Lackey seems like a guy Lincoln and Armstrong would increase the budget to sign.

    Maybe they wouldn’t do that, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility, is it?

  30. TumwaterMike on December 4th, 2009 1:44 pm

    Should we all be thanking Kenji? If he hadn’t returned to Japan would the Mariners still make this deal?

  31. littlesongs on December 4th, 2009 2:28 pm

    I really really really like this move. Of all the former Portland players bandied about this winter — like Bay, Nady, et al — Figgins is far and away the best fit for Seattle. I will have no trouble adjusting to loving Chone Figgins again.

    Quite a few Portlanders remember cheering for Figgins back in ’98 when he played for the Rockies. Chone was already a pesky offensive spark plug and showed flashes of defensive brilliance too. He quickly became one of my favorite players.

    We had the Rockies in ’98 because our beloved Beavers were stolen away taken to Salt Lake a few years before by a crummy owner. So, when Chone returned in a Buzz uniform in ’02 & ’03 it was very painful. He made matters worse by humiliating our beloved Beavers on a regular basis.

    Of course, it was just a matter of time before he became a full-time Angel and a regular pain in the Mariners’ ass too. I have always liked seeing him play, but after all these years of swinging between love and hate, the idea of having Figgins back in the NW playing for a team that I love makes me very happy.

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