Guti Returns, Wells Goes Away for a Week

Dave · August 27, 2012 at 10:59 am · Filed Under Mariners 

The Mariners activated Franklin Gutierrez from the disabled list today, and to create a roster spot for him, Casper Wells was sent back to Tacoma again. I’d vent about Wells continually being misused this year, but in reality, he’ll be back in a week when the minor league season ends and rosters expand. That the team is still willing to go through roster machinations like this while keeping Chone Figgins around is pretty maddening, though. There is literally no argument that Figgins helps the team more than Wells at this point, and given the defensive problems that both Thames (range) and Robinson (arm) have, having Wells around would have been useful.

But, whatever. For various reasons, we’re apparently stuck with Chone Figgins on the roster, regardless of how much actual sense that makes.


37 Responses to “Guti Returns, Wells Goes Away for a Week”

  1. Mid80sRighty on August 27th, 2012 11:04 am

    It would be interesting, or maddening, to hear Z’s reasoning for still having Figgins around. It just doesn’t make any sense.

    And welcome back Guti! (please stay healthy, please stay healthy..)

  2. Paul B on August 27th, 2012 11:24 am

    Figgins is going to suck of a roster spot all next season, isn’t he?

  3. Westside guy on August 27th, 2012 11:28 am

    I think Jack Z has a significant flaw – he has a very hard time admitting failure. So I expect Figgy is going to be around until May or June of next year… at that point, he’ll be cut loose.

  4. californiamariner on August 27th, 2012 11:36 am

    Dave, do you think Figgins will take a roster spot next season too?

  5. terryoftacoma on August 27th, 2012 11:42 am

    This doesn’t surprise me at all. The organization doesn’t appear to value Wells as some do and it’s only for a week. So I don’t see it as big deal.

    The fact that Figgins is still here may be frustrating to some but not at all unexpected. Limited though he is, he’s our emergency backup at third for Seager. No one else has played there but Liddi and he’s at Tacoma. Now, Ryan has played third base, four years ago for 5 games. You could make the argument he still could but I don’t think they see it that way. Figgins is ours I’m afraid. They may cut him this winter but I would hold my breathe on that one.

  6. Gibbo on August 27th, 2012 11:43 am

    That is crazy and yes Wells will be back in a week, but it’s pretty insulting to him when he has some uses and has actually offered some help to the M’s but he is sent down when the team keeps Figgins who offers nothing.

    I think Westside guy is right, Z is having a tough time admitting failure on this one.

  7. IdahoFan on August 27th, 2012 11:50 am

    I’ve accepted the fact that management won’t allow Jack to DFA Figgins given the amount still owed on his contract.

  8. Brennan on August 27th, 2012 11:51 am

    Figgins is ours, and you don’t want him!

  9. nwade on August 27th, 2012 12:04 pm

    I *love* how people are willing to lay the non-DFA’ing of Figgins at Z’s feet. On what facts are you people basing this? I’m just as inclined to believe IdahoFan’s postulation – that its ownership or upper-management that is unwilling to swallow the idea of that much money being given to a guy who’s not even on the roster… The truth is, none of us know a thing about the Figgins situation. It sucks and we don’t have to like it; but we have no right assigning the blame (for his continued presence) to any individual because we simply do not know who is deserving of the blame. If you want to criticize Z for acquiring Figgins, sure (although I think very few people saw his collapse coming, for whatever that’s worth).

  10. Westside guy on August 27th, 2012 12:07 pm

    If you’re unwilling to lay the blame at Z’s feet for hanging onto Figgins, why give him credit for signing him in the first place? Maybe HowChuck ordered that too!

    I lay the blame at Z’s feet because he’s the GM and managing the roster is his job.

  11. nwade on August 27th, 2012 12:11 pm

    Westside – you ever work for a living? Ever have frustrating staff that report to you? Or a frustrating boss that you report to? Sometimes you let certain issues pass for the sake of larger goals or to keep the workplace from becoming too negative or fractious. If you stand up and say “we do it my way, or I quit!” every time you have a minor battle, you’re going to lose out in the end. EVEN if you arguably have the responsibility and the authority for making the call.

  12. msfanmike on August 27th, 2012 12:33 pm

    The “Decision by Committee” approach – rears its ugly head, again. Didn’t the Mariners make a point (a couple years ago) – when Z was extended – to describe how their ‘big decisions’ would be made via some group-think actions? They must consider Figgins to be a “big decision” … which is in and of itself, a bit ironic.

    Mune could fill in at 3B in a pinch (and would be a better fielder than Figgins) … so keeping Figgins around for the purpose of backing up Kyle Seager is not an actual reason. It is more of an excuse, if anything.

    A gimpy Saunders along with the limitations of Thames and Robinson – in key situations – seems to be a bigger hole to fill … and Wells could fill it a lot better than Figgins.

    I mean … if giving yourself the best chance to win everyday, is important.

  13. TherzAlwaysHope on August 27th, 2012 12:47 pm

    I have it on good authority that Figgy will be mixing the Gatoraide. I also hear a rumor that they are going to DFA a ball girl, which opens up another slot for a the versatile Figgins.

  14. nwade on August 27th, 2012 12:55 pm

    Sooo.. don’t let Guti near the obviously-poisoned Gatorade?

  15. terryoftacoma on August 27th, 2012 1:17 pm

    I know where you’re coming from Mike. I was there, too. I wanted to keep Wells and DFA Figgins. But I looked at our roster trap(3 catchers) and although I don’t want to agree with it I understand it. We basically swapped Wells for Guti. We had four outfielders we still have four outfielders. No real change from yesterday.

  16. goat on August 27th, 2012 1:19 pm

    I don’t see the problem with viewing Wells as a platoon player. Even when he was on a hot streak earlier this summer he was striking out almost 30% of the time. The Mariners could have a good team with Wells as a platoon player. It would be much harder if he was expected to play full time.

    As for Figgins, I think the only way to get him DFA’d is to get a bicycle delivered to him in the locker room at an extremely inconvenient time.

  17. Mariners35 on August 27th, 2012 1:19 pm


    1. Somehow Wells found himself in the Jack Wilson Memorial Doghouse for some display of bad attitude, poor results or both at some point. This means he’s on the short list of expendable players whenever Z asks Wedge who should move to accommodate new guys or newly healthy guys.

    2. Bizarrely, Figgins had a waiver claim put in on him, and it’s taking longer than anticipated to work it out.

    3. Wedge trusts Mune as a fielder and hitter even less than Dave Cameron does, and thus even though Mune played 3b for almost a full season once in Japan and has covered other infield spots this year, Figgins is the only backup to Seager at third without yet another roster move.

    4. They’ve already privately let Wells know that outfield evaluation is a merrygoclusterf*** this year, and that his and certain other players’ options make paperwork easiest, so unless they specifically tell him otherwise, any roster moves are purely for convenience and nothing about his performance at all.

    5. Z knows that Wedge doesn’t think too highly of Guti’s effort and toughness to begin with, and if Wells was left around Wedge would be tempted to use him. Z is forcing Wedge’s hand by giving him one less legitimate outfielder to use. At least for this week, anyway.

  18. lesch2k on August 27th, 2012 1:27 pm

    “2. Bizarrely, Figgins had a waiver claim put in on him, and it’s taking longer than anticipated to work it out.”

    Claiming Chone would qualify as the worst front office decision in the history of sports. my guess is any team willing to take Figgins in a trade can get him just for the pro-rated minimum and an unrated prospect.

  19. eternal on August 27th, 2012 1:54 pm

    I’m so happy to have Guti back. Yay

    On Figgins, we’re talking about the difference in what, .005 wins between him and Wells this year? I would only guess that because Figgy has zero potential value to another team right now, that they bring him back next year, hope he has a decent spring and then try to dump him for a couple bananas and an orange smoothie. I have no idea.

  20. msfanmike on August 27th, 2012 1:58 pm

    Thank you for the hypothetical ideas/musings, Mariners35 … I got a kick out of them.

  21. 9inningknowitall on August 27th, 2012 1:59 pm

    Hell if another team, including an independent league team, wanted Figgins I would trade him for a box of chocolates and a nice cold coke. Heck I’d even pay for the chocolates and coke with my own money just to celebrate he is gone.

  22. msfanmike on August 27th, 2012 2:04 pm

    To add to Mariners 35 list of ‘ideas/musings”:

    The team is so embarrassed by having Figgins in the first place that they want to save further embarrassment by not having him land with either Anaheim or Texas only to come back and “haunt” the Mariners (in Seattle) in September.

    Boston and LA are making 1/4 billion dollar decisions/trades, but the M’s cant seem to find a way to part with Chone Figgins.


  23. BillyJive on August 27th, 2012 2:08 pm

    So Figgins can’t hit or catch a flyball, but we need him as a back-up infielder??? Wow. The dream is dead, cut him loose.
    it would sure be nice to give Wells some regular playing time to see what he is capable of…

  24. The_Waco_Kid on August 27th, 2012 2:13 pm

    I hate this move more for its symbolism than actual strategy. As the headline says, Wells goes away for a week. If he has enough options, this move is meaningless. I think they thought, why DFA Figgins to salvage a roster spot for 5 days? They’ve kept him this long, so big deal.

    On the other hand, it’d be sweet to be rid of Figgins and the move seems to symbolize a lack of faith in Wells (and maybe favoring Trayvon over Wells). I’d like Wells to get more of a chance, and I have more faith in his bat than Trayvon’s (despite their Post-All-Star stats).

    Also, aren’t Smoak and Wells getting old for demotions? Fish or cut bait.

  25. furlong on August 27th, 2012 2:36 pm

    It should really make no difference to the F.O.if Figgy sits and doesn’t play or sits at home there is really no difference. There is nobody in Tacoma who is tearing up the league. At the beginning of the season all anybody could talk about was the big three pitchers who by the way have turned into the little three.

  26. IdahoFan on August 27th, 2012 2:38 pm

    The higher-ups have not only required Jack keep Figgins, but they have also mandated that Root Sports show Figgins sitting in the dugout, eating sunflower seeds, at least three times during each game.

  27. nwade on August 27th, 2012 2:57 pm

    “show Figgins sitting in the dugout, eating sunflower seeds, at least three times during each game”

    A-haaa! Its that lucrative Sunflower-seed endorsement; now we know why he’s being kept around!

  28. 15thBanker on August 27th, 2012 4:07 pm

    Bradley was let go just last yearbook the same management team, and more left on his contract than Figgins is owed. So blaming ownership doesn’t really make sense here.

  29. FredBrack on August 27th, 2012 7:15 pm

    Disclaimer: I’m no Figgins’s “fan.” Signing Figgins was Jack Z’s analytical failure, even if Figgins had hit at his previous norms. Two non-power-hitting lead-off men consuming nearly 30% of payroll? C’mon!

    That said, sweeping away the wreckage just so fans don’t have to look at it anymore would also be an analytical failure.

    Figgins is a Swiss Army Knife utility player. Every team needs one, particularly if it carries 12 pitchers. In an emergency, Figgins can play outfield or infield. (The M’s have had two such situations since Dave ranted about exiling Figgins.) He can pinch-run. He can pinch-hit when a sacrifice bunt is needed — a situation we saw recently.

    Wedge has explained this, though no one seems to have paid attention, by calling Figgins a “super-utility player” who “gives us protection.”

    Keeping Wells for seven games before Sept. 1? Why? Wells needs ABs. So do Saunders, Robinson, Thames, and Guti, as Wedge and Jack Z try to evaluate talent for the future while giving players who might play future roles experience — and experience at the end of a long season so they know what it’s like.

    And given Figgins’s versatility, it’s highly questionable whether having Wells available rather than a Swiss Army Knife utility player would give the M’s an advantage in winning games this season — even if that were a a goal worth pursuing.

    As for the notion that owners are requiring Jack Z and Wedge to keep Figgins:

    Those (like Larry Stone) telling this story, without a shred of evidence, are offering this logic, rather they are aware of it or not: (1) Figgins is hurting the owners’ business; (2) the owners, business naifs ignorant of the concept of “sunk cost,” are insisting that Figgins be permitted to continue hurting their business.

    Not persuasive, is it?

  30. IdahoFan on August 27th, 2012 8:14 pm

    FredBrack-I have an unrealistic expectation that on any given night the Mariners field a line-up that gives them the best chance to win on that night. I’m no expert, just a fan and I have a hard time coming up with any reason that Figgins remains on the roster. I believe Jack Z to be a competent GM, so I postulated as to why Figgins remains on the roster. My comment is just a thought experiment trying to come up with a rational explanation.

    Figgins is the best Swiss Army Knife utility player available to the Ms? Really?

  31. FredBrack on August 27th, 2012 10:06 pm

    IdahoFan — With respect, and I mean that sincerely, that you “have a hard time coming up with any reason that Figgins remains on the roster” doesn’t mean there’s no such reason. Wedge has a reason, and he’s said what it is. In my 18 years covering the M’s, I knew many managers and GMs who understood the value of a Swiss Army Knife utility player. In fact, many tried to develop one.

    As to whether Figgins is the best such utility player available to the M’s, ask yourself:

    Is there a better one in the M’s system?

    I know of none, but if you think there is, why would it benefit the M’s to have him sitting on the M’s bench rather than getting playing/development time in the minors? Moreover, do you think having a rookie whose experience is no higher than, say, AA or High-A would be better than Figgins at playing multiple outfield and infield positions, pinch-running, and going to the plate in a pressure situation and laying down a sacrifice bunt?

    Or are you thinking of trading for a Swiss Army Knife utility player?

    If so, why would you ship off a prospect for a utility player who’s going to appear in a game maybe once a week when you have a perfectly good one on your bench that you’re already paying?

    Geez, this Hate Figgins Syndrome has people’s brains all scrambled, including the estimable, normally highly rational Dave Cameron.

  32. mathgeek99 on August 28th, 2012 12:54 am

    I understand where you are coming from, and this is not meant to be disrespectful, but I don’t believe your argument has any sound statistical support.

    The problem with your argument is that you assume that Figgins has value as a super utility guy. At this point, it is clear that he does not. If he was even hitting 250/300/325 he could probably be a replacement level player with his versatility. At 189/264/283 this year (last year was even worse), he is just too useless at the plate. Both Fangraphs and B-R have him at ~ -2.0 WAR total over the last two years.

    And, to answer the question about replacement, Luis Rodriguez is down in Tacoma right now. At worst, his bat is Figgins level avg with slightly better power. He can play all over the infield, and we have a glut of OFers, so that is enough for now.

    The reason everybody is hating on Figgins is because his presence in the lineup for the past 2 seasons has had a direct negative impact on the Mariners’ success.

  33. FredBrack on August 28th, 2012 11:11 am

    mathgeek99 — You are using Figgins’s statistics as an everyday player. Those days are over. Playing him every day failed. End of story, and, thus, end of relevance of Figgins’s WAR, etc.

    The only thing relevant now is, as Wedge says, Figgins’s value as a “super-utility player.”

    As for Luis Rodriguez:

    * Calling him up would mean clearing a spot for him on the 40-man roster.

    * His BA is largely irrelevant, as he would be playing, as is the situation with Figgins now, only in a emergency.

    * The M’s “glut of OFers”? Did you see where that disappeared when two OFers collided and Figgins was called on to play CF? That’s what Wedge meant when he said of Figgins, “He gives us protection.”

    Those suffering from Figgins Derangement Syndrome are no longer capable of thinking rationally about Figgins. And that, shockingly, includes Dave Cameron and Larry Stone.

    Apparently there’s no cure.

    Fortunately, neither Jack Z nor Wedge are suffering from this disorder. Being professional baseball men doesn’t make them immune to such disorders, as I’ve observed. (Think of Dick Williams regarding Mark Langston.) But, as I’ve also observed, professional baseball men are far less susceptible to such disorders than the average fan or baseball writer. When one’s job involves making many decisions daily, being able to think clearly and not fall prey to emotion is crucial.

    Keeping Figgins available as a “super utility player,” a “protection,” is a no-brainer. Searching for an alternative because of Figgins Derangement Syndrome leads even the valuable Dave Cameron into suggesting that, say, Darren Ford be brought up — “as a reward,” as if MLB were Little League. (A) Ford isn’t on the 40-man roster. (B) Ford plays outfield exclusively, and, as you, point out the M’s have a glut of outfielders. (C) Jettisoning Figgins for Ford would leave the M’s with a single utility infielder.

    What benefit would the M’s derive from having Ford, rather than Figgins, sitting on their bench?

    Figgins Derangement Syndrome! It’s as virulent in Mariners Nation as Birtherism is in America.

  34. msfanmike on August 28th, 2012 1:02 pm

    Check, please!

    Figgins is the anti-rose. He doesn’t smell sweet regardless of what name you give him. He is a bad defensive player by all measurable standards -wherever he is placed. And he is a bad offensive player no matter how he is used. -2.0 WAR is still negative WAR.

    If wanting him gone is a syndrome – please make mine a double. So what if the team might have to make a roster move to make room for a Luis Rodriguez. So what!

  35. mathgeek99 on August 28th, 2012 1:25 pm

    If Figgins is dumped, his spot on the 40 man would open up. Realistically, Kawasaki probably needs to go, too. Then, you can bring up an extra OF and Rodriguez as the backup IF.

    If you only want to use Figgins in an “emergency” then you have constructed the roster very poorly. That is essentially playing with a 24 man roster. We already have 3 catchers on the roster, we don’t need Figgins taking up a spot that we could give to a utility player that also has the ability to pinch hit on occasion.

  36. eponymous coward on August 28th, 2012 1:57 pm

    Fine. Figgins is Wedge’s security blanket, and about as useful as a security blanket.

    Having a bad player and Proven Veteran (proven that he’s awful, that is) capable of playing multiple positions badly- who cares? At this point, you might as well put a pitcher in the OF in an emergency for all the good Figgins does at the plate. (And spare me how he can pinch-run and bunt- there are thousands of minor league players who can do this as well, and hit as poorly as Figgins. None of them have MLB jobs- why should Figgins?)

    And yeah, the fact that we have 3 catchers that play no other position other than DH (and do that regularly) is part of the problem as well.

    Fortunately this goes away at the end of the season. We can hope Chone Figgins does too. Being sick of an underperforming player who serves as a manager’s security blanket is not being deranged.

  37. FredBrack on August 28th, 2012 7:15 pm

    eponymous coward — Okay, your problem is with Wedge and Jack Z. They’re the ones keeping 3 catchers and Figgins. So campaign to get rid of them.

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