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Figgins: Mariners helped, Angels hurt

Posted on: December 5, 2009 2:16 am

It is a move that at once improves their own lineup and draws blood from one of their fiercest division rivals: The Seattle Mariners have locked up free agent leadoff man Chone Figgins with a four-year, $36 million deal.

Though the formal announcement likely will not come until the winter meetings next week in Indianapolis because Figgins first must pass a physical, make no mistake: This is a huge get for the Mariners.

One of general manager Jack Zduriencik's main goals this winter is to improve an offense that ranked last in the American League in runs scored and tied for last in on-base percentage and batting average.

An All-Star in 2009, Figgins ranked second in the AL behind the Yankees' Derek Jeter in times reaching base (285), led the AL in walks (101) and ranked second in the AL with a career-high 114 runs scored.

With Figgins atop their lineup, the Angels ranked second in the AL in runs scored. And as things stand now, they do not have a ready replacement for Figgins in the leadoff slot.

While some in the industry expressed surprise that Figgins would leave Anaheim for another team in the AL West that plays in a ballpark that isn't particularly hitter-friendly, the move makes sense on at least three levels outside of Figgins scoring his first major-money contract:

-- Figgins has great familiarity with Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu, who was field coordinator for the Angels' minor-leagues when Figgins was a young player coming up through the system.

-- Mariners bench coach Ty Van Burkleo was a roving hitting instructor in the Angels' minor-league system as Figgins was developing.

-- Figgins' fiancé is from Vancouver, Canada, just a couple of hours' drive north of Seattle.

So. The immediate question now in Seattle becomes, where does Figgins fit into a lineup in which Ichiro Suzuki has batted leadoff in recent years? Maybe second in the order behind Ichiro, maybe lower.

Wherever, Figgins will give the Mariners an added dimension that they lacked in 2009.

In the field, Figgins is expected to fill a hole at third base as free agent Adrian Beltre seeks employment elsewhere. The Mariners offered Beltre arbitration and he has until Monday to decide whether to accept. The expectation is that he will not accept and will become a free agent.

If he does accept arbitration and returns to the Mariners, Beltre probably would play third base and Figgins could play second or the outfield.

In addition to ranking second in the AL in runs scored, Figgins also tied for third in the AL with 42 steals and is the only active player in the majors to swipe 30 or more bags in each of the past six seasons.

The biggest question revolves around his durability. At 32 on opening day 2010 and entering his first big contract, will Figgins be as effective in years three and four of this deal as the Mariners hope?

That, though, mostly is a question for down the road. For now, on a Mariners team that ranked as the most improved club in the game last summer and thinks it can contend in 2010, signing Figgins is very good news.



Since: Sep 24, 2007
Posted on: December 7, 2009 2:50 am

Figgins: Mariners helped, Angels hurt

Hate saying this was a business move ...but it was.....One cant blame Figgins for going. Especially when he got a 5th year vesting option......Angels were only going 3 years and that was it......If he just wanted the money I think the Angels would have gone from the 3 year 24 mil offer to 3 and 27........

Dont thin anyone on either side can take any heat on this move......

For our Angels.......Lets go Brandon Wood

And thanks for everything youve done Figgy!

Gonna be an interesting week at the winter meetings for the Angels

Since: Nov 11, 2009
Posted on: December 7, 2009 12:35 am

Figgins: Mariners helped, Angels hurt

you may want to look up how many players make over 9 mil a year, it is a sign of the times.    figgins and ichiro atop the lineup is a deadly combo for 1st to 3rd.  great lead off hitters are not as easy to come by as you would think, when you have a chance to get one regardless if you have ichiro it is never a bad thing.

i wish the twins manned up and gave figgins 9 mil a year to fill 3rd base which has haunted them for years.  regardless of having denard span who is a great lead off hitter, figgins would only help.

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2009 3:46 pm

Figgins: Mariners helped, Angels hurt

I agree. I also know that he will either get hurt or be in a slump for the first half of next season. It is funny how athletes are always getting hurt or stuck in a slump after signing a big contract.

Since: Nov 1, 2009
Posted on: December 6, 2009 12:50 pm

Figgins: Mariners helped, Angels hurt

I think that the mariners paid a little too much for Figgins.  He is a really dynamic player but I dont think he is worth what they signed him for. I can see this being another one of those mariner free agent pickups that might go bad. Just thinking of the Richie Sexson, Eric Bedard, Carlos Silva, and Adrian Beltre pickups that way too wrong.  However, I do think that Figgins has a better chance of not being one of those guys.  Figgins will probably replace Beltre and he will be playing at third.  Figgins is good defensively and that won't be a downgrade to Beltre.  The biggest improvement to Beltre is that Figgins gets on base considerably more than Beltre and according to Beltre's power numbers last year will hit just as many as Beltre.  Figgins is definately an upgrade to Beltre.  I just hope he doesnt do the mariner flop and fall flat on his face.

Since: Jan 13, 2007
Posted on: December 5, 2009 11:12 pm

Figgins: Mariners helped, Angels hurt

As much as people like to play the "1st to 3rd" thing and our team spedd, seems to me like our one WS win came thanks to ALOT of big hits by Salmon, Garrett and Troy.   Without all their big hits, our team speed would have gotten us squat,imo.  

We need bigger bats in the lineup, not to mention someone who doesnt KILL us at the plate in the playoffs(fortunately Seattle wont have to worry about that!).

Woods better be talking to Kendry day and night because he needs to STEP UP bigtime this year for us!

Since: Dec 5, 2009
Posted on: December 5, 2009 10:20 pm

Figgins: Mariners helped, Angels hurt

You Angel fans that say speed isn't what you need forget how the Angel's won there last championship.  Good luck with the rookie power trip!

Since: Nov 26, 2006
Posted on: December 5, 2009 8:45 pm

Figgins: Mariners helped, Angels hurt

Much as I like watching him play, I agree the Angels can't cough up what the Mariners did.   Keep in mind that he also had a career year at the plate.   He could easily NEVER hit over 300 again in his career...   More speed on the bases isn't what we need, it's more pop at the plate.   Wood either needs to get his reps at the plate, or get traded, and given the cost situation I think this is the right move.   Let Figgy go, move Erik Aybar to leadoff.    Still plenty of speed there.   And with more reps. Brandon Wood should be able to get his average up substantially.   It also leaves money available to sign John Lackey, possibly, or make a play for Roy Halladay.

Since: Dec 4, 2006
Posted on: December 5, 2009 7:35 pm

Figgins: Mariners helped, Angels hurt

There is NO WAY Figgins is worth  $36 millon even when he was younger, no way at 31 !

WOM Motorsports
Since: Jun 8, 2008
Posted on: December 5, 2009 12:55 pm
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