A’s Pursuing Figgins

Dave · January 28, 2011 at 8:53 am · Filed Under Mariners 

An interesting rumor has popped up this morning, as Joe Stiglich of the Contra Costa Times is reporting that the A’s are trying to swap Kevin Kouzmanoff for Chone Figgins. Ken Rosenthal has since confirmed the report, and he’s the most reliable guy in the business on this front. So, there’s almost certainly something to this.

If the M’s have a chance to unload Figgins’ contract, they have to do it. I wrote about why they should trade Figgins back in August. Circumstances have changed since they signed him last winter, and at this point, he’s unlikely to still be a positive asset by the time the Mariners are ready to challenge for the AL West title again. Unless the A’s are asking the M’s to pick up significant amounts of money, the answer to any deal where the M’s get to dump the rest of his contract should be yes.

Beyond just dumping Figgins, though, Kouzmanoff actually would be a decently valuable piece to get back in return. By UZR, he’s an above average defender at third, rating out at +6.1 runs per 150 games over his career. He’s not Adrian Beltre, but he can play a pretty solid third base. Offensively, he’s actually kind of similar to Jose Lopez (commence cringing… now) in that he doesn’t walk much, has slightly above average power, and has played his entire career in home parks that have been disastrous for him. Kouzmanoff’s overall numbers don’t look great, but his home/road splits are pretty telling: .242/.288/.386 at home, .273/.315/.461 on the road. While he won’t get much of a boost while playing in Safeco, we at least don’t have to adjust his numbers down, as we do with most right-handed bats. We already know about how well he’ll hit in ridiculous pitcher’s parks, since he’s done it his whole career.

It’s not the kind of package the M’s should be signing up for long term, but as a one year stop gap while they figure out what they have in Ackley, Pineda, and Smoak, he can keep the position from being a black hole. Odds are he won’t be worth his arbitration raise next winter (he’s making $4.75 million in 2011), but the team would be able to non-tender him and walk away at that point.

Kouzmanoff for Figgins? Yes, please.

Update: Buster Olney adds on Twitter that this could be a three team deal involving the Blue Jays. Just speculating, but I’d guess that Kouzmanoff would end up in Toronto (which would allow them to keep Jose Bautista in the outfield), with the M’s getting something from the Blue Jays in return. The Jays do have pitching depth, so perhaps the Mariners could end up with another arm for the back-end of the rotation. This would leave a hole at third base, but they could sign a guy like Willy Aybar to share time with Matt Mangini as a low-cost option that would allow them to give another young kid a look. We’ll have to see what plays out.

Comments

85 Responses to “A’s Pursuing Figgins”

  1. Nathan on January 28th, 2011 8:59 am

    YES PLEASE!

  2. KaminaAyato on January 28th, 2011 9:06 am

    My question is how does this make sense to Oakland? If that doesn’t pass the smell test, how does this trade even happen?

  3. Leroy Stanton on January 28th, 2011 9:12 am

    It actually sounds like a pretty fair, makes sense for both teams trade, depending on the particulars, of course. However, I don’t think I’m quite as anxious as Dave to dump Figgins’ salary. Given his versatility and the inflation we’ve seen, Figgins could still be a pretty useful, fairly compensated player.

  4. charliebrown on January 28th, 2011 9:21 am

    Using the words

    Offensively, he’s actually kind of similar to Jose Lopez

    to show how a player could be useful seems counter productive to me.

    Still, dumping Figgins’ deal would probably be worth it.

  5. JoshJones on January 28th, 2011 9:24 am

    Figgins had an off year. But i wouldn’t be suprised to see him return to being a .280 hitter with a .380 OBP. Solid 3rd base defense and a 40+ stolen base threat.

    I’d make the trade straight up. Personally, I would push for a nice young pitcher in addition to the deal. Otherwise NOT make the deal.

    The A’s are trying to upgrade any way they can to keep pace with the Rangers. They need this way more than we do and they don’t have many other options.

    Hold out Jack. Hold out.

  6. Carson on January 28th, 2011 9:37 am

    I’d make the trade straight up. Personally, I would push for a nice young pitcher in addition to the deal. Otherwise NOT make the deal.

    I’m guessing you didn’t check out the source link.

  7. BlackHaloBender on January 28th, 2011 9:47 am

    So you are sure Figgins didn’t just have one bad year?

    Seems like we are trading a good defensive 3b with speed and a high obp for a good defensive 3b without speed or a high obp.

    Or does this only make sense for $ reasons? I bet this trade makes BB look smart next year when Figgins returns to the top of the line up and nudges closer to his historical performance.

  8. heychuck01 on January 28th, 2011 9:56 am

    I sort of had the “dream” that Figgins would produce more to his historic averages this year, and in doing so, the Mariners could get a really good haul from a desperate team at the trade deadline. A contender looking for a leadoff man late in the season.

    But then again, that is probably a dream. I hope they can get something good with Kouzmanoff.

  9. Madison Mariner on January 28th, 2011 10:08 am

    As a straight-up, one for one swap–I think I’d pass.

    But, if the rumor at the link is true and a pitcher could be included, I’d see if the A’s are willing to part with Jerry Blevins. A young lefty with a few years of team control would make it a worthwhile trade, IMO. :)

  10. PouxBear on January 28th, 2011 10:08 am

    So if this trade happens, and we get all of this money coming off the books, who does Jack Z target next off season? I’m optimistic that Smoak will be a useful player, so I’m assuming we will be out of the Pujols/Fielder sweepstakes. Anybody know who’ll be availible?

  11. Madison Mariner on January 28th, 2011 10:10 am

    That should read:

    “Getting a young lefty reliever with a few years of team control left would make it a worthwhile trade, IMO.”

  12. Jon on January 28th, 2011 10:19 am

    “Unless the A’s are asking the M’s to pick up significant amounts of money….” I suspect that is likely to be the case (recognizing that we can all argue over what “significant” means).

    What is in it for the A’s? Figgins is a better player than Kouzmanoff. Plus, he is vastly more versatile and, with that, has more trade value. He gives Beane a lot of options, including, as many have suggested for the M’s, trading him mid-season to any number of contending teams that could use him.

    What is in it for the M’s? They save money, but I suspect it won’t be as much as we’d like, because the M’s likely will stay on the hook for a portion of Figgins’ salary. Given the M’s track record with their “budget”, there is no reason to believe they will really use the savings (large or small) to make the team better.

  13. sportsnw on January 28th, 2011 10:27 am

    I like this trade a lot because of the opening it creates for the guys we have in the minors who may earn a spot on the team in the next year or two. I do agree with others that I wouldn’t do this deal 1 for 1. A young pitcher would be something I would want to see in a deal like this to really make it worth it.

  14. Adam B. on January 28th, 2011 10:34 am

    As long as the Athletics aren’t asking for the M’s to pick up a disproportionate amount of his remaining contract, this would be a big win for the Mariners in terms of freeing up cash.

    The Mariners are NOT going to compete this year, regardless of whether Figgins repeats his ’09 numbers, and the 27M in cash could go a long way towards finding something the Mariners need a lot more then a 2-hole hitter.

  15. philosofool on January 28th, 2011 10:41 am

    How does Oakland have the money for this? I love the M’s getting rid of Figgin’s contract, but I can’t see how the A’s have the money to make this happen, unless the Mariners send them money.

  16. Jon on January 28th, 2011 10:53 am

    I was not a fan of the signing of Figgins in the first place. That being said, I did expect him to perform better last season and my gut tells me he will be more effective this year. While his contract is “big”, I think there are several teams that will see it as a bargain in comparison to their other options. It is unfortunate that the M’s have so mismanaged themselves into being cash-strapped that they may be considering trading him for Kouzmanoff right now, rather than waiting until mid-season to get a more useful return.

  17. Drew Garret on January 28th, 2011 10:55 am

    Sounds like a decent swap to me. The two lead off type batters just didn’t work that well.

  18. terry on January 28th, 2011 11:02 am

    Zach Stewart.

  19. ripperlv on January 28th, 2011 11:08 am

    I like the Zach Stewart idea.

  20. spankystout on January 28th, 2011 11:09 am

    MLBTR says a third team (possibly the Blue Jays) are now in discussions and they may want a 3B as well.

  21. spankystout on January 28th, 2011 11:11 am

    Oops Dave already updated the same information.

  22. Mr. Egaas on January 28th, 2011 11:20 am

    The money of Bradley/YuBet/Silva/Wilson/Figgins all of the books at the end of the year?

    Yes please.

  23. bookbook on January 28th, 2011 11:27 am

    Off the top of the head, if the A’s took all of Figgins’ $ (not realistic, I realize), what would the M’s 2012 salary structure look like?

    Big money for Ichiro and Felix, but relatively little for anyone else, right? Any cool Free Agents coming around the corner? Any top ten hitters of all time… hmmm.

    (Sorry. Just kidding.)

  24. vertigoman on January 28th, 2011 11:29 am

    Is Jarrett Hoffpauir a name to think about from Tor?

  25. LMF on January 28th, 2011 11:31 am

    The thought of bringing in Kouzmanoff isn’t particularly exciting, however the idea that a third team might be involved gives me hope that we could get something noteworthy out of this deal. I guess it’s just hard to get really pumped about a salary dump even though I know it’s best for the team. What a boring off season….

  26. KaminaAyato on January 28th, 2011 11:36 am

    See, to me having a 3rd team might make more sense to me. I just never saw Oakland having a lot of room in their budget (they never really do, but I could be wrong here). Any specific names from the Jays that we want to get?

  27. Arron on January 28th, 2011 11:46 am

    MLBTraderumors is reporting that Oakland is on Chone’s no-trade list…

  28. MrGenre on January 28th, 2011 11:47 am

    Do I sense a Brandon Morrow comeback tour?

  29. dgood on January 28th, 2011 11:49 am

    I miss Hanahan!

  30. cowdoc on January 28th, 2011 12:00 pm

    Trading Figgins should be a top priority. He has not done well here in Seattle and just because he is going back to “third” is not going to solve the problem. Jack Z should pop on a trade of any value. I would settle for a bag of balls if we could unload his contract.

  31. bookbook on January 28th, 2011 12:13 pm

    Figgins may not have been a steal when we signed him in 2009, but it feels to me like there’s a tendency to overreact to an off-year.

    As far as I can tell, he hasn’t lost bat speed or footspeed.

    He struggled last year, but that doesn’t mean he will in 2011. (His struggles impacted his interactions with his coaches as well, which I don’t think is so unusual.)

    I’d trade him because the $26 million mostly will be wasted for the M’s, given their competitive standing, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he earns it for the A’s or Braves or whoever.

  32. jordan on January 28th, 2011 12:44 pm

    I don’t like it. I am looking forward to a good bounce back year for the m’s with a good deal of it being because of Figgins play. Could just be hopes and dreams, but idk

  33. Paul on January 28th, 2011 12:45 pm

    From a fan entertainment point of view I was still hoping (wishful thinking?) for Ichiro + Chone to light up the base paths and terrorize pitchers and catchers.

  34. Carson on January 28th, 2011 1:01 pm

    It’s entirely possible Figgins does have a nice bounceback season.

    The key point, though, is that by the time the rest of the team contributes, Figgins will be in his mid-to-late 30s, surely declining and expensive.

    Getting out of that contract now is a good thing.

  35. HubofPNW on January 28th, 2011 1:05 pm

    Dave~

    What Toronto arm is worth shipping out Chone for? Or is simply offing Chone in our best interest?

  36. Westside guy on January 28th, 2011 1:30 pm

    Sounds like a decent swap to me. The two lead off type batters just didn’t work that well.

    You shouldn’t draw sweeping conclusions like that since we didn’t really have “two leadoff batters” for much of the season. What didn’t work last year was that Figgins, like much of the team, sucked for a good part of the year. He did not live up to anything close to his expected production – that was the problem.

    Griffey sucked when he was hitting in the four hole – should we conclude that “having a power hitter in the #4 hole doesn’t work”?

  37. sciacca on January 28th, 2011 1:43 pm

    “The Jays do have pitching depth, so perhaps the Mariners could end up with another arm for the back-end of the rotation.”

    I hope we get that Brandon Morrow fellow–he seems like a really good fit for the m’s.

  38. slugoben on January 28th, 2011 2:25 pm

    JAC was saying earlier how he heard that Toronto is not involved.

    If it’s a straight swap, I’d be iffy because I believe Figgins could bounce back. But if it’s for someone like Outman (Who JAC also suggested), I’d be OK with it. Any chance of acquiring a LF if we add Saunders?

  39. Jordan on January 28th, 2011 2:52 pm

    Any chance of acquiring a LF if we add Saunders?

    With this thought we might give up on our other youngsters too. Plus, I doubt we’d be able to get someone back with a clear cut higher upside than Saunders. I’m not particularly high on him, but if Figgins could bounce back I don’t see why we couldn’t say the same with Saunders? Apart from a swing that doesn’t adjust well to outside off speed pitches, I also don’t think the sample size is large enough for us to abandon ship yet.

  40. Chris_From_Bothell on January 28th, 2011 3:56 pm

    If it’s a rebuilding year anyway, why not have Mangini get an extended look at third, and take whatever is a decent offer for Figgins regardless of position ? As long as decent value is coming back with no huge salary commitment, it almost doesn’t matter who they get back.

  41. Nathan on January 28th, 2011 4:12 pm

    The A’s were offering Beltre something like $78 million and that didn’t work out so they should have money. At this point the big thing isn’t the return value for Figgins, it’s getting rid of his contract. Even if he had a bounce back year here in Seattle we probably aren’t going to do anything. We need to be building for the future by getting money off the books and having more flexibility for next offseason. If we happen to get a young pitcher as well that’s just a bonus.

  42. Gump on January 28th, 2011 4:30 pm

    Just don’t start Tui at 3rd for the year. That’s all I ask for.

  43. IwearMsHats on January 28th, 2011 4:34 pm

    I feel like the A’s had an affinity for defense and stolen bases last season, if that’s the case wouldn’t it make sense for them to go after Figgins?

  44. qwerty on January 28th, 2011 4:55 pm

    Travis Snider

  45. TomC on January 28th, 2011 5:20 pm

    Figgins just turned 33. Although he can expect to bounce back from an epic bad year, it is unlikely he will match his numbers from 2007-2010 ever again.

    We overpaid when we got him. Now is the time to get out of that contract. Trade him and play Tui while you look for a future 3rd baseman with sustainable talent.

  46. samregens on January 28th, 2011 5:29 pm

    I don’t like this trade rumor, and hope it doesn’t pan out.
    It sounds like action for the sake of it, with the FO trying to be too smart/cute. Wak and Co. did this last year when they tried to get too smart/cute because of lucky 2009, and unnecessarily fiddled around switching Figgins and Lopez.
    (Also that newfaddled strengthening? exercise or whatever, which was featured in the news? Too cute. Every player underperformed. Management needs not to get too freaking cute and fiddle around too much, trying to show “smartness”. Strong emphasis on fundamentals only, please. I’m hopefully about Wedge. And Jack Z needs to be invisible/off the scene for gosh sake.)

    This trade is trying to get rid of Figgins when his value is extremely low.

    And we don’t need another freaking Casey Kotchman in the line-up for gosh sake, we need a middle of the order bat.
    What the heck is the FO going to do with the money saved? Go out and buy another Jack Wilson?
    Vlad would be the only big bat out there who might be possible now, but the FO picked up Cust.
    The FO should have gotten Vlad, ManRam, or even Matsui rather than Cust.

    Fuck it, 2010 was Figgin’s breaking-in year (it was putrid and terrible yeah, and we had to suffer through it) and he should play better in 2011.

  47. Marinerguy on January 28th, 2011 6:04 pm

    Don’t do it! Check Chone’s first half and second half numbers last year!!

  48. caldog on January 28th, 2011 6:05 pm

    Yes please make this trade. Didn’t like the pickup of Figgens anyway. Righting a bad signing. Glad to see it.

  49. Mariners2620 on January 28th, 2011 6:19 pm

    I doubt that this trade would have anything to do with Figgins’ performance last year, or his possible improvement this year. It has to do with the financial aspect of things. This will open up a good portion of the pay roll. The chances of this team winning the AL West are slim to none, therefore it does not matter how Figgins’ performs. Mine as well trade if we can, and receive a serviceable player in Kouzmanoff for a year.

  50. Nathan on January 28th, 2011 6:40 pm

    I doubt that this trade would have anything to do with Figgins’ performance last year, or his possible improvement this year. It has to do with the financial aspect of things. This will open up a good portion of the pay roll. The chances of this team winning the AL West are slim to none, therefore it does not matter how Figgins’ performs. Mine as well trade if we can, and receive a serviceable player in Kouzmanoff for a year.

    Thank you.

    samregens, please go watch soccer.

  51. Miles on January 28th, 2011 7:26 pm

    Don’t do it! Check Chone’s first half and second half numbers last year!!</blockquote>

    Yes, I've seen his numbers. Sure, he hit .280 or so in the second half but only walked like 3 times. He scored 10 runs… no really he scored 24 runs in the second half and had 26 walks. His second half obp was .349. That's nearly .050 points below where it needs to be. He wasn't that good in the second half either.

  52. bongo on January 28th, 2011 7:28 pm

    Any chance of acquiring a LF if we add Saunders?

    Given the As acquisition of outfielders David DeJesus and Josh Willingham, Chris Carter might be available. Based on my observation of Carter during the PCL playoffs against the Rainiers at Safeco, it’s worth a thought. His 2011 Bill James projection is 251/330/460 (see http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=9911&position=OF)

    In contrast, Saunders projection is 242/315/388:
    http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=9981&position=OF

  53. bongo on January 28th, 2011 7:36 pm

    It’s also worth noting that Saunders is a considerably better fielder than Carter. Saunder’s WAR projection is 1.6 when fielding is taken into account (+5), Carter is only 0.6 (-5).

  54. Liam on January 28th, 2011 8:23 pm

    Don’t do it! Check Chone’s first half and second half numbers last year!!

    wRC+ by Month
    Mar/Apr 78
    May 75
    Jun 104
    Jul 78
    Aug 78
    Sept/Oct 114

    I keep seeing this argument, but if you break it down by month instead it tells a different story. At multiple points in the season people thought he was finally turning the corner and hitting like it was supposed to, but it didn’t last.

  55. maddux on January 28th, 2011 9:51 pm

    If this deal is out there, the M’s have to make it. The M’s lack power and Figgins will be playing third, a traditional source of power. With no power at short or right, moderate at best in CF and Ackley an unknown power source at 2nd, left up in the air, dont you have to free yourself of his contract to give you some flexibiliy with payroll in 2012 and 2013?

    Kouzmanoff is not the long term solution but he is a major league caliber hitter and has a great glove. Even in a rebuilding year we do need some level of major league proven hitting so I hope we get him back in this deal along with getting rid of all of Figgins contract. To me this sets us up better for putting together a better 2012/2013 club.

  56. thaduck30 on January 28th, 2011 10:21 pm

    I know it’s an attractive thought to have Figgins’ salary off the books… And I don’t see any reason to pay Figgy that for a team that is likely not going to contend for the next couple years.

    But what about this year’s draft and Anthony Rendon? He’s an outstanding player AND a third baseman. I know it’s somewhat unlikely for him to slip past Pittsburgh and someone like Gerrit Cole would still be awesome,but I just wonder if Rendon factors into this thought process at all or if it’s just money.

    Either way I’m good though

  57. Boy9988 on January 28th, 2011 10:21 pm

    Ok, I have seen a lot of people writing all over that we need Kouzmanoff’s bat. Lets all remember, he is Jose Lopez. Carbon copy of Jose Lopez! Lopey=Kouz One and the same. I get the argument that trading Figgins is about the contract not the player, but I still think Figgins offers more than Lopez did and we shouldn’t sell low on Figgins.

  58. maddux on January 28th, 2011 10:33 pm

    There hasn’t been much interest around the league in Figgins. I think the best you can hope for is a repeat of the second half of last yeat and team’s have shown they are not that interested in that player. I agree Kouzmanoff is not the answer, but his production overall will equal Figgins and his glove surpasses his. And we are not obligated to him for 2-3 more years. If a better solution comes through the draft or elsewhere to solve third base, Kouzmanoff doesnt get in the way, he will just be non-tendered. Figgins though would still be commanding a big salary.

  59. ck on January 28th, 2011 11:14 pm

    Figgins does have a big contract, but since it is not my money, my only concern with this, or any other possible trade, is a simple question or two: Will the Mariners be better after the trade? Will they win more games this year because they made this trade ?

  60. DAMellen on January 28th, 2011 11:41 pm

    Yes because they will use the money saved to improve elsewhere. The Mariners do not have an infinite supply of money! They just don’t! Accept it!

  61. sexymarinersfan on January 28th, 2011 11:56 pm

    Heading over to Fanfest now to get in line. See you all at the ballpark! Hopefully I’ll be first in line!

  62. MrZDevotee on January 29th, 2011 7:02 am

    The fact that a third team is being talked about tells me that the A’s want this to happen more than the M’s (ie, the A’s want Figgins, but couldn’t convince the M’s to take anyone they were offering– enter a 3rd team). At least, I’m hoping, ’cause Kouz just doesn’t perk my interest all that much, even short term. So if indeed Toronto is in, and wants Kouz (which makes more sense), then this trade gets much more interesting.

    This also fits with the way Z yesterday was keeping his cards close to the chest, and didn’t mention the possible trade but instead responded by saying “We envision starting the spring with Chone Figgins as our 3rd basemen.” This to me was him saying “We’re not sold on this A’s deal yet.”

    This also fits with him continually saying that any move they make will be to make this team better. He may feel a bounceback year will make more sense for moving Chone at the All-Star break.

    Should be interesting.

  63. Leroy Stanton on January 29th, 2011 7:18 am

    This would leave a hole at third base, but they could sign a guy like Willy Aybar to share time with Matt Mangini as a low-cost option that would allow them to give another young kid a look.

    That approach would be embracing the rebuilding spirit, that’s for sure. An even lower cost option would be not signing Aybar and giving Tui time at 3B. Alex Liddi is another guy who could, depending on how he does in AAA, see some time at 3B. Kyle Seager is also a remote possibility later in the year.

  64. certaindoom on January 29th, 2011 7:58 am

    Willy Aybar. Thats what this franchise has come to. How is Aybar any different than Figgins, other than the cheap salary? And Kouzmanoff .. okay, not a bad David Bell type, but … is he in any danger what so ever of being a championship-quality guy? At best, a solid citizen with some occasional power and occasional OBA. Guess what, we could have just left Figgins at third and he would have been a better lead off man… oh, wait, we already have a leadoff man, and Figgins couldn’t hit 2nd for some reason.

    By the way, anyone remember 10 years ago, we won a bunch of games I think.

    What is our future now? Endlessly hoping our one or two minor leaguers don’t completely suck, and we get a few seasons from them til they get traded? Is Ackley going to save the franchise by himself? When will the minors produce actual talent like Tampa or Philadelphia or St. Louis minor league systems do? Felix, thats it relaly. A one off lucky shot by a guy scouting way off the grid. Great shot, but … we need a lot more like him or we’re going nowhere forever.

    Resume your fascinating discussion about Keith Kouzmanoff or some Toronto prospects.

  65. eponymous coward on January 29th, 2011 9:00 am

    I don’t think Mangini’s going to be very good. Jose Lopez was hitting like that in AAA at age 21 (except striking out a lot less)… and, well, we just washed our hands of him.

    So to me it boils down to a) what do we get back, and b) what’s your plan for 3B? An Aybar/Mangini platoon is basically punting 3B and going for two replacement-value players. Figgins at least has a decent chance at being a 2-3 WAR player at 3B, and the plan for 2011 isn’t “we don’t care if we lose 100 games as long as we look at kids”, it’s “let’s look at kids without having a terrible team that destroys the value of our franchise and instills a culture of losing like Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Florida, KC and so on” (KC plays lots of kids… and has been a terrible franchise for decades)- so you have to consider the 2011 team as well as the future.

  66. Mariners2620 on January 29th, 2011 9:13 am

    Has anyone seen the news about Bedard? He has been throwing from about 100 ft on flat ground.

    Obviously no news that includes Bedard is good news unless it is the fact that he is still pitching in July. We will see.

  67. certaindoom on January 29th, 2011 9:53 am

    effing Bedard. Bradley. Figgins.

    its like an all star team of brooding underachievers.

  68. JH on January 29th, 2011 11:23 am

    effing Bedard.

    Yeah, I hate pitchers who give the team a 3.55 FIP (2.82 ERA) while pitching through a shoulder injury, and then give up a guaranteed major league deal in favor of a non-guaranteed contract because they feel bad that they haven’t performed up to expectations yet.

    Screw that dude.

  69. Leroy Stanton on January 29th, 2011 11:50 am

    … the plan for 2011 isn’t “we don’t care if we lose 100 games as long as we look at kids”, it’s “let’s look at kids without having a terrible team that destroys the value of our franchise and instills a culture of losing like Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Florida, KC and so on”

    I don’t why you’d include Florida in that list. They’ve won two World Series in their short history and have finished over .500 in five of the last eight years. They’ve also won 76 or more games in 10 of the last 11 years (and 71 in the other).

    Baltimore and Pittsburgh haven’t had a .500 season in 13 and 18 years, respectively. Kansas City has had one .500 season in 17 years. Florida has had more winning seasons since 2008 than Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Kansas City have had this century combined .

  70. Madison Mariner on January 29th, 2011 12:23 pm

    “KC plays lots of kids… and has been a terrible franchise for decades”

    Well, the 2009 and 2010 Kansas City Royals rosters provide plenty of evidence to contradict that statement.

    Unless you consider the likes of Jose Guillen, Rick Ankiel, Gil Meche(injured for most of the season, but still…), Jason Kendall, and Yuniesky Betancourt “kids”.

    I suppose they had a few young players like Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, and Luke Hochevar–and generally speaking, those are the players viewed as having the most potential to turn the Royals’ hopes around, whereas the veterans I listed above were generally viewed with disdain by Royals’ fans for contributing little to nothing of value the past few seasons.

  71. djw on January 29th, 2011 12:40 pm

    An even lower cost option would be not signing Aybar and giving Tui time at 3B.

    I’m at a loss to what Matt Tuiasosopo needs to do to convince you people he has no business in a major league uniform. Strike out 50% of the time?

    If we trade Figgins for not-a-3B and decide to go internal, Mangini would be a better choice, insofar as his chances of being a useful major league player are infinitesimal, as opposed to non-existent. I imagine many utility players and AAAA types in other organizations who are extemely likely to outperform Tuiasosopo could be had for virtually nothing, though.

    How is Aybar any different than Figgins, other than the cheap salary?

    Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

    More seriously: he’s different in that he is a significantly worse hitter and fielder than Figgins. The cheap salary is kind of the point–the idea is to have money to spend on more valuable things than Figgins in his mid-30′s when the team in (hopefully) in a position to contend.

    Obviously no news that includes Bedard is good news unless it is the fact that he is still pitching in July.

    If Bedard pitches effectively through June, then gets injured for the rest of the year, that would be a significantly greater than 50th percentile outcome.

  72. Penace on January 29th, 2011 12:48 pm

    To me the deal is based off how the team will look in 2012. I can see Figgins possibly being a part of a contending team in 2012. Kouzmanaff? Doubtful. So the real issue is A)is the second player a AAAA type who is on the brink? and B) Do we use the freed up money intelligently? If the amswer to either of these questions is “No” then Id say keep Figgins.

  73. eponymous coward on January 29th, 2011 1:26 pm

    I don’t why you’d include Florida in that list.

    Well, OK, Florida’s problem is a bit different than those other franchises: it’s that they blow up their decent teams as soon as it looks like they’d have to pay anyone more than 59 cents over league minimum, which is a big part of why they don’t draw (dead last in their league in attendance for years and years). It still destroys their franchise value, which is what I am getting at.

    All it goes to show is you can only kick your fanbase in the teeth for so long before they decide they don’t like being kicked in the teeth, and stay away, no matter if you have an occasional good year.

    The cheap salary is kind of the point–the idea is to have money to spend on more valuable things than Figgins in his mid-30’s when the team in (hopefully) in a position to contend.

    Of course, you’re assuming the money will be there, and it will be spent on more valuable things. I can totally see a scenario where a bad 2011 team does another sub-70 win pratfall, in part made possible by deciding having a halfway competent 3B is too much of a burden (we saw what a half-assed strategy at SS got us last year), and is followed by “so, Jack, you’re fired” , and/or the GM (or even Jack, if Jack is retained) is handed a budget with salary cuts from 2011 levels due to the attendance continuing to implode and ownership not wanting to take losses. Oops, there went your savings from trading Figgins.

    Not to mention the reason we want to dump Figgins in the first place was that he was signed by us in what in retrospect appears to be a mistake. No guarantee the next signing isn’t going to be a mistake, too, especially if the same GM is making the decision.

    So bottom line: it all depends on what comes back. And if it doesn’t help the 2011 team and is just a straight salary dump, I’m not particularly hot on it.

  74. greentunic on January 29th, 2011 4:24 pm

    I agree. I want to know that the salary savings would go back into the salary budget. If so, then I would make the trade, even with the ho-hum Kuzmanoff. If it’s not guaranteed, then let’s let Figgins improve (in my humble opinion, he will very likely improve over last year’s performance), and either trade him later, or ride the talent.

  75. heychuck01 on January 29th, 2011 5:52 pm

    This trade was actually talked about a month ago, and will not happen, according to Rosenthal.

    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/rosenthal-figgins-seems-unlikely-to-move-to-oakland-012911

  76. eponymous coward on January 29th, 2011 5:57 pm

    This seems key here, in the link above:

    At issue: The amount of money the Mariners would have contributed toward the $26 million remaining on the final three years of Figgins’ contract, and the quality of prospects they would have received in return.

    If all Billy Beane was willing to send us back is maybe a few million a year in salary relief (and we’d be eating the rest of Figgins’ salary for years) plus organizational filler-type prospects, or players who were years away, nothing that was likely to help the team in 2011, well, I’m not very disappointed in this outcome.

  77. maddux on January 29th, 2011 6:30 pm

    The financial flexibility of getting rid of Figgins contract and bradley, silva, all off the books at the end of 2011 gives some hope that we can make more moves and in 2012 we may be back to the middle of the pack and in 2013 we may have a shot a playoff spot.

    With or without figgins we are at best a 70 win team this year. We need to continue to churn the roster and I for one dont want the team to have to work around figgins declining production and what we will be paying him for that production.

    Feels like this is a deal that is not going to get done though.

  78. bugrat6 on January 29th, 2011 7:48 pm

    The overall feeling this offseason seems to be that the team has 0% chance to contend next season. But we know of course that this is not true. Every team has a non-zero chance to contend, however small.

    Last year, almost everything that could conceivably go wrong did go wrong. Expectations were confounded. At the very least, one lesson should have been learned: that we should be open to the extreme ends of projections, both good and bad.

    What I have not seen much of lately is this consideration: what if (!?) the team does its best case scenario next season, instead of worst?

    Suppose Ichiro is Ichiro(!), Guti repeats his past performance, MB becomes his Texas incarnation, Figgins becomes LA Figgins, one or two of the top prospects (Ackley, Smoak, Pineda) surprises us with darned good performance, Bedard returns 100% healthy, and League figures out how to use his splitter again…

    … and suddenly, you have a team that looks far from silly.

    Sure, the chance that everything goes as we want is lost somewhere in a big beanpile. But Zduriencik has certainly constructed a team with much possibility, in Ryan, Moore, Lueke, Saunders, and Moore. These are high-variance guys. How many of them have to over-perform before we’ve got a pretty nice team?

    OK, someone tell me why I’m being silly.

  79. bugrat6 on January 29th, 2011 7:51 pm

    Oh, I guess my last comment should be taken to mean: so – are we so hopeless that we should ditch every high-contract guy besides Ichiro and Felix, first chance we get?

  80. Madison Mariner on January 30th, 2011 7:33 am

    Feels like this is a deal that is not going to get done though.

    According to chatter at PI, it seems these talks took place a few weeks ago and were just reported by Mr. Stiglich(the source mentioned by Dave) in his most recent column, but it doesn’t look like anything is happening now.

    I’m OK with that. Keeping Figgins and watching him build value over a full season, then seeing what can possibly be done with him next offseason based on who else is available in free agency/via trade is not a bad idea.

  81. eponymous coward on January 30th, 2011 9:31 am

    With or without figgins we are at best a 70 win team this year.

    False. If Smoak hit like a league-average 1B (which is a stretch for him but not impossible), Cust, Gutierrez, Figgins and Ryan hit the numbers on their baseball cards and the non-DHs in that list fielded as well as we know they can, and Ichiro stayed Ichiro, this team could be around .500, assuming that Felix’s arm doesn’t fall off and the pitching staff has a ~normal year (it would be even better if Erik Bedard came back and threw 150 quality innings). You’d have full season league-average or better players (2+ WAR) at 1B, SS or 2B (wherever Ryan plays), 3B, CF, RF and DH, six positions. Last year, we had league-average or better players at RF (Ichiro, 4.5 WAR) and CF (DTFT, 3.4). The next best player was Lopez at 3B (1.6 WAR). None of the players I have mentioned are particularly old- Figgins is the oldest.

    People don’t seem to realize how terrible last year’s team was- and that replacing a couple terrible players with “not terrible” goes a long way towards “respectable team”. Billy Beane does this every year, with a roster of “who the **** are these guys?” turning around and winning 75-82 games by having enough decent pitching and defense to counter a bad but not terrible offense. The problem with last year was almost everything that could go wrong in the offense did, and we ended up with a terrible offense. So we dumped a ton of players and started over.

    We need to continue to churn the roster and I for one dont want the team to have to work around figgins declining production and what we will be paying him for that production.

    But if Billy Beane says “Of that $26 million Figgins has left, you need to eat $20 million, and I will send you some AAA relievers and a banjo-hitting 26 year old middle infielder from AA”, the salary relief is negligible (2 million a year), and the return is negligible.

    Also, since I missed this earlier:

    The FO should have gotten Vlad, ManRam, or even Matsui rather than Cust.

    Matsui the last 3 years: .279/.366/.467
    Cust the last 3 years: .245/.373/.444

    There actually really isn’t a huge difference between them at the plate. Remember, Matsui is 37 (read: at an age where he’s declining- it’s showing in his numbers), and Cust spent a ton of time in AAA when he was capable of hitting in MLB, because baseball has a habit of picking some people every decade and ignoring their clear hitting ability while watching them crush AAA pitching. He’s not as GOOD as Edgar, but like Edgar, he should have been playing regularly in MLB several years before he did.

    And you know, I’m sure Manny and Vlad would have been jumping to sign a contract with a team coming off of a 100-loss season. That’s probably their dream job in their late 30′s- playing DH on a team that’s obviously rebuilding, isn’t likely to get to the playoffs and is highly unlikely to reward them with a ring, all in a park that kills right-handed hitters. Who wouldn’t put Seattle at the top of their list knowing that? I mean, really, why would you want to sign a contract with the Rays like Manny did, who only have a good team and make the playoffs consistently the last few years, playing in a division with the Red Sox and Yankees, when you could maybe win 81 games if things went well in Seattle?

    Maybe you could suggest some other realistic trades to go with your FA signing scenarios, like trading Chone Figgins for Albert Pujols or trading Doug Fister for Roy Halladay.

  82. shutoutzilla37 on January 30th, 2011 3:36 pm

    Rosenthal and Olney both say the deal between the A’s and the Mariners is dead; Figgins will be our 3rd baseman…good.

  83. bongo on January 31st, 2011 4:33 pm

    I don’t know about our major league club, but the way things are going, the Mariners prison team could be *awesome* !

  84. HubofPNW on February 1st, 2011 8:19 am

    Anybody in this thread bring up the possibility of picking up Eric Chavez if we end up shipping Figgy out for Toronto pitching? I missed it quickly perusing the thread if so.

  85. JH on February 1st, 2011 11:07 am

    Chavez doesn’t really have any value. His body has completely betrayed him. It’s probably the saddest failing of a talented player to reach his potential of the last decade. People don’t really remember anymore because his last few years were such a disaster, but Eric Chavez was Evan Longoria before Longoria had graduated from high school. Circa 2004 he looked like he had the potential to be an all-time great.

    I hate the A’s with a passion, but I’m still really bummed about the turn Chavez’s career took.

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