Tag:Chone Figgins
Posted on: January 29, 2011 4:13 pm
Edited on: January 29, 2011 5:27 pm
 

Figgins: Seattle 'where I want to be'

Chone Figgins
There have been reports this week that the Athletics are attempting to swing a deal for Seattle's Chone Figgins, but word is that Oakland is one of the teams on Figgins' no-trade list, meaning he would have to approve such a move.

From his comments to the Seattle Times at a Mariners fan event Saturday, that doesn't sound like a possibility.

"This is where I want to be, and until they force me out of here, this is where I’m going to be," he told Larry Stone.

The Mariners would probably like to free up the $26 million they owe Figgins over the next three years, and the A's are an up-and-coming team for whom Figgins would be a good fit. But if he doesn't want to go, it's not going to happen.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: January 28, 2011 9:47 am
Edited on: January 28, 2011 1:58 pm
 

A's trying to trade for Chone Figgins

FigginsAll's quiet in baseball these days with arbitration the only story and a countdown to the beginning of spring training less than a month away.

However, if the A's get their way, there will be at least one more trade that gets the attention of the baseball world.

The San Jose Mercury News reveals that Oakland is trying to acquire third baseman Chone Figgins from the Mariners. With three years and $26 million left on his deal, the Mariners might be motivated to deal the 32-year-old for players that fit within their retooling phase. It is thought that Kevin Kouzmanoff and a pitcher would be headed to Seattle for Figgins if a trade is consummated.

Figgins had a poor debut in Seattle after years with the Angels, hitting just .259/.340/.306 although he did swipe 42 bases amid an attempt to shift to second base. With that experiment over, Figgins is slated to return to third, and the Mariners hope he can approximate his 2009 line of .298/.395/.393.

Oakland has been seeking a third baseman all winter. They chased Adrian Beltre for the second straight season and also flirted with Edwin Encarnacion, claiming him on waivers only to non-tender him. Clearly, they aren't sold on Kouz, who has a great glove but produced a .247/.283/.396 mark in his first season with Oakland, hitting 16 homers.

If the A's did acquire Figgins, he would become the perfect leadoff hitter for a club that would suddenly legitimately challenge the Rangers for superiority in the West. So far, Oakland has imported Josh Willingham, David DeJesus and Hideki Matsui to bolster the offense. However, all three are free agents next year and while the club remains at the Coliseum with no certain organizational future, it will be difficult to attract free agents to come -- or even for internal free agents to stay. GM Billy Beane has had to go the trade route in recent years to get his bats, so acquiring Figgins would add certainty to the offense over the next few years -- the club's already got plenty on its hands in filling holes after the year.

One such hole could be filled by Chris Carter, who is adamant the left-field job is his to lose -- even after Oakland acquired two left fielders in DeJesus and Willingham.

"I'm still thinking it's my job to lose, basically," Carter said. "It's a business. They want to win and make the team better. [Adding players] keeps it more competitive."

That's all well and good, but after Carter began his major league career with an 0-for-19 streak, his stock dipped in many people's eyes. He rebounded upon his September recall, but by then it was too late: he was ticketed for Triple-A again in 2010. The 24-year-old likely remains Oakland's left fielder or DH of the future, especially with the positions opening up after the year, but he'll have to serve as depth in 2011 for the A's. Even backup outfield is not an option as Ryan Sweeney and Conor Jackson have those spots locked down as well.

UPDATE: ESPN's Buster Olney says there could be a third team involved in the deal, with the Jays a possibility. If the Jays were able to snag Kouzmanoff, that would enable Jose Bautista to stay in right field.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: January 17, 2011 5:07 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2011 5:09 pm
 

Who can win the AL West?

CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler took a look at the Athletics and whether the club can be contenders in the AL West after importing Grant Balfour and Brian Fuentes to bolster the bullpen.

The answer? Oakland is close to contention, but isn't quite there.

A bullpen that ranks as one of the five best entering spring training will pair with a young, dynamic rotation and improved offense with the additions of David DeJesus and Josh Willingham -- even if the offense may still fall short of being taken seriously. Oakland is beginning to emerge as a popular sleeper pick and should be in the thick of the race, but how do the other teams in the division stack up?

Seattle Mariners

BradleyThe Mariners have been quiet this offseason with minimal money to spare. The only significant acquisition the club made was importing Miguel Olivo to catch, although Jack Cust was also added to the team and should get some at-bats at DH.

The Mariners will be banking on bounceback years from Milton Bradley (pictured) and Chone Figgins as well as Erik Bedard staying healthy for a full season out of the rotation. Seattle is in a retooling process with Justin Smoak at first and rookie Dustin Ackley eventually taking over second base. The only chance they have of being relevant in the division late in the year is playing a spoiler role.

Los Angeles Angels

DownsThe Angels' offseason has been nothing short of awful, whiffing on every premier free agent after owner Arte Moreno declared they would be heavy players. Carl Crawford landed in Boston while the club dragged its feet on Adrian Beltre and saw him wind up in Texas. Now, the Angels have a roster eerily similar to the one that finished 80-82.

Oh, excuse me -- they signed lefties Scott Downs (pictured) and Hisanori Takahashi to pitch out of the bullpen. That's not nearly enough to change this team's prognosis as a .500 team. Kendry Morales returning to first base will do a lot, but this is a team on paper that will need a whole lot of luck to hang with Texas and Oakland.

Texas Rangers

BeltreThe reigning AL champions may have lost Cliff Lee, but they made up for it by adding Adrian Beltre to man third. In one fell swoop, they significantly upgraded the infield defense (which the pitchers will certainly appreciate) and ensured their offense wouldn't take a hit with Vladimir Guerrero's foray into free agency. No, Cliff Lee is no longer a Ranger and the rotation looks a bit suspect, but they are still a cut above any other team.

What Texas needs to happen in the rotation is for C.J. Wilson to prove he wasn't a fluke in a successful conversion from reliever, for Tommy Hunter to emerge as an innings-eating stalwart in the middle of the rotation and for Colby Lewis to continue his successful return from Japan. The Rangers need Scott Feldman to bounce back from a 7-11, 5.48 ERA year and return to his 17-8, 4.08 mark from 2009 and for Brandon Webb to finally brush off the injuries that have plagued him the past two seasons in order to round out the rotation.

The Rangers should be able to win the division, but Oakland could push them especially if the Rangers' rotation falls apart. It's difficult to envision the Angels as a factor -- too much has to go right -- and the Mariners aren't close to contending.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: December 20, 2010 3:05 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2010 6:07 pm
 

Ichiro: 'I wonder why we still lose this many'

Ichiro Suzuki
It's like clockwork. During the regular season, Ichiro usually gives pretty flavorless interviews. Then over the winter, these tremedous, frank, thoughtful quotes show up in the Japanese newspapers. Whether something is lost in translation with the U.S. press or he's just more comfortable speaking when he's not in his intense game-day focus mode, it's always interesting to read after the fact what he was thinking.

Today a Q&A was published in English-language Japanese online outlet Japan Today. The answers given by the Mariners' 10-time All-Star outfielder don't paint a picture of a guy who's happy with the way things are going in Seattle.

Ichiro said he was struck by a core of Mariners from their first few playoff appearances (Randy Johnson, Edgar Martines, Jay Buhner, Ken Griffey Jr.) appearing together when Johnson threw out the first pitch of the season.

"It was good to see them all together but at the same time made me wonder if there is a real teammate for me. I hoped that Felix [Hernandez] or [Chone] Figgins would become one and that 2010 would be the start of a new Mariners era. But we stumbled from the outset."

Ichiro has been to the playoffs just once in 10 seasons, in his rookie campaign in 2001, and has endured two 100-loss seasons in the past three years.

"After all this time I wonder why we still lose this many games. ... The whole team had high hopes for the 2010 season because we thought we made good additions to the roster (such as Cliff Lee and Figgins). And we ended up like this. From now on, maybe we shouldn’t even voice our goals."

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: December 12, 2010 7:55 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2010 8:05 pm
 

Ryan move could shift Figgins to third

Ryan With the Mariners acquiring Brendan Ryan from the Cardinals, the infield picture for Seattle may have gotten a bit muddier.

That's the aim of GM Jack Zduriencik, however.

"What I've said to Brendan and what I've said to [manager] Eric [Wedge] is, what I'd like to do is create opportunities,'' Zduriencik told the Seattle Times . "Create competition. And at the end of the day, let the pieces fall where they may.''

Make no mistake about it, however: Ryan figures to start for Seattle -- and not at third base, where there is currently a vacancy. Ryan has only 29 games experience at third with 19 starts. Second base isn't much better at 59 and 43, but it's a significant leap and also is the position most similar to shortstop where he has 312 games of experience.

That could put Chone Figgins back at third, the speedster's natural position before shifting to second for his first season in Seattle. But Zduriencik wasn't ready to take that leap just yet.

"We have not talked to Chone yet,'' he said. "I just spoke this morning with Eric [Wedge]. So, as we move forward, we've got a lot of time before spring training, but we would like to have discussions with our players sometime...I'd say in the next week to 10 days. Just to sort of give them the lay of the land and where things stand. Give them our opinions, hear their opinions and then some decisions could be made.''

Assuming Figgins lands back at third (he was a brutal defender at second), the Mariners could have an incredible defensive configuration, but that could come at a big cost to the offense. Jack Wilson won't hit whatsoever at short while Ryan is coming off a brutal offensive season although wrist surgery to correct the issue in spring training that plagued him through the year seems to have taken hold. Figgins, meanwhile, had a terrible season in a Mariners uniform and could also be poised to bounce back.

So why Ryan if all he is is a glorified new Jack Wilson?

Because the Mariners have a future at second and short, but need someone to get them there. As Geoff Baker writes, Ryan is expected to fill in at second until prospect Dustin Ackley is ready for primetime, which is likely late 2011. After 2011, Jack Wilson's contract expires which would allow Ryan to shift to shortstop and hold the seat warm for yet another prospect in Nick Franklin.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb  on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: October 6, 2010 5:18 pm
Edited on: October 6, 2010 5:32 pm
 

R.I.P. Mariners: From hopeful to hapless

As the sports world waits for the crowning of a champion, 22 other teams are busy preparing for spring training. What went wrong for these teams, and what does 2011 hold? MLB Facts and Rumors here at CBS Sports will be answering those questions through all of October. Today: The Seattle Mariners.

A new day seemed to have dawned for the Mariners as 2010 approached.

The 2009 season had brought a winning record and a 24-win improvement over the previous year. General manager Jack Zduriencik had added to the offense and stunned baseball by bringing in ace Cliff Lee, who would create a devastating 1-2 punch with Felix Hernandez atop the rotation.

Many in the media picked Seattle as the favorites in the American League West, and if they made it to the postseason with Lee and Hernandez , well, anything could happen.

Oops. Instead of a playoff contender, the Mariners were the worst team in the AL, and featured the least productive offense fielded by any team in the designated-hitter era. After 101 losses, Zduriencik’s master plan was left in shambles.

A National League talent evaluator who watched the Mariners late in the season told ESPN’s Buster Olney “That is the worst group of position players I have ever seen. They make the Pirates look like the '27 Yankees.''

So, yeah, it’s that bad.

WHAT WENT WRONG

What didn’t? They had injuries, poor performances, internal strife and became almost painful for fans to watch as they flailed at the plate.

Seattle scored a horrific 513 runs, 100 fewer than the next-worst AL offense and 75 less than the 105-loss Pirates. It was the lowest full-season run total for a team since the 1971 Padres. Apart from Ichiro Suzuki’s .315, none of the regulars batted above .259.

Milton Bradley, who was supposed to provide the power punch Seattle was lacking, played in just 73 games. He walked out on the team in the middle of a game, went for counseling and said he contemplated suicide.  He didn’t play after July 26 due to a knee problem.

Ken Griffey Jr., the greatest player not only in the history of the Mariners but the history of the city, batted .184 and became so disgusted with his playing time and his performance that he left Seattle without warning in June, reportedly not even calling to let the team know he was gone until he’d hit Montana.

Chone Figgins instigated a dugout scrum by going after manager Don Wakamatsu during a game. Figgins wasn’t disciplined, never even apologized, and Wakamatsu walked the plank three weeks later.

The Mariners traded Cliff Lee in July, and the can’t-miss prospect they got, Justin Smoak, has mostly missed. Another prospect in the deal, Josh Lueke, turned out to have a serious legal problem the team might or might not have known about.

And that’s just a sampling. Basically, this season was an unqualified disaster.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Well, there was Hernandez and Ichiro and … uh … give me a minute …

By far the highlight was Hernandez putting on an exhibition in domination just about every five days. He led the AL in ERA, innings, quality starts, fewest hits per nine innings, and finished one behind in strikeouts. The shame of it was that he managed just 13 wins, and his offense probably cost him the Cy Young. But he was a pleasure to watch.

Felix Hernandez Ichiro quietly led the league in hits, amassing his 10th 200-hit season in 10 years, the first player in history to do it 10 times in a row.

The Mariners got some promising pitching from Jason Vargas and relievers David Aardsma and Brandon League.

HELP ON THE WAY

On the bright side, the Mariners got ample chance to see their up-and-coming players, looking like a Triple-A team on some days in the second half.

Smoak has all the tools, and there remains optimism that he will put it together. Infielder Dustin Ackley, the second pick in the 2009 draft, is developing, and the Mariners are excited about pitcher Michael Pineda.

But other than Ackley and Pineda, all the young players with the potential to impact the big-league club in the next several years got a shot this season. None of it exactly wowed the Mariners, but there is some hope.
 
EXPECTATIONS FOR 2011

One thing is for sure: They’re not going to fool anyone into thinking they’re contenders again next year. This has been exposed as a team that’s a very long way from contending, and despite a respectable payroll, there’s so much of it tied up in Ichiro, Bradley and Figgins that they will be limited in how much outside help they can get.

SUGGESTIONS FOR 2011

Beyond Ichiro and Hernandez, you have to think the Mariners will consider nothing sacred in their system with the possible exception of Ackley.

The Mariners need help pretty much everywhere. They’re not that “one player away” team that can go grab a couple of high-priced veterans and think it will make a difference. Zduriencik and his staff will have to work smart, and abandon the notion that defense and pitching are enough.

One suggestion I’d make is for the team to emphasize character and chemistry. By all accounts the atmosphere around the Mariners was toxic from early on this year, from the clubhouse to the front office, and it was a factor in the team collapsing when things got tough instead of pulling it together. Giving Figgins a free pass for attacking his manager sent a terrible message, and allowing the situation with Griffey to deteriorate the way it did was embarrassing.

Start with a manager who is going to demand accountability, and give him the best tools you can find to work with.

2011 PREDICTION

It’s probably not going to get a lot better in Seattle next season. The good news, if you can call it that, is that it doesn’t have a lot of room to get worse, either.

Check out the rest of the R.I.P. teams here.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: September 28, 2010 12:46 am
Edited on: September 28, 2010 12:47 am
 

M's prez: Zduriencik's job safe

Jack Zduriencik
As long as we're talking about baseball people with really complicated names, there's news on Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik. Team president Chuck Armstrong told FOXSports.com Jack Z's job is not in jeopardy.

“We’re not thinking about changing the general manager at all,” Armstrong said.

Assuming it's not one of those public shows of support that's true until it's not (you know, like Zduriencik's vote of confidence in manager Don Wakamatsu shortly before firing him), Zduriencik should be counting his blessings. When you consider how amazingly badly this season has gone, and how much of it can be laid directly at Zduriencik's feet, he's lucky the organization has a longer leash for GMs than for field managers (Seattle will soon be on the hunt for its seventh since Lou Piniella left).

The Mariners were a trendy pick to win the American League West, but will finish with the league's worst record and need some luck to avoid their second 100-loss season in three years. Then there was the awkward Ken Griffey Jr. retirement. And Wakamatsu being physically attacked in the dugout by Chone Figgins, who not only was not disciplined, he never even apologized. And Wakamatsu's firing. And the legal troubles they reportedly overlooked in one of the prospects they got in the Cliff Lee trade (one of Zduriencik's close friends, director of pro scouting Carmen Fusco, lost his job as the fall guy for that one).

Zduriencik built the Mariners to win with pitching and defense, but underestimated the need for offense (or overestimated how much he had, or both). Now he's got one of the worst offenses in recent history, and is paying nearly a quarter of the payroll to two leadoff hitters (Ichiro Suzuki and Figgins). It's not going to be an easy road back, but it looks like the Mariners have decided who's driving.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: August 17, 2010 1:27 am
Edited on: August 17, 2010 1:29 am
 

Year has not been kind to Angels' bats

Torii Hunter
The Orange County Register points out that Wednesday is the one-year anniversary of a historic feat, and provides a reminder of how much things have changed for the Angels.

After a 5-4 victory over the Indians last August 18, all nine batters in the Angels lineup had a batting average of .300 or better (you can see the box score here ). It was the first time a team had been in that situation since the 1934 Tigers.

A year later, not one of those nine players is batting .300. Here's the lineup, with last year's August 18 average and their current average:

Chone Figgins (now with Seattle) .308/.251
Bobby Abreu .310/.266
Juan Rivera .310/.257
Vladimir Guerrero (now with Texas) .313/.297
Kendry Morales .303/.290
Torii Hunter (pictured) .307/.290
Maicer Izturis .300/.249
Mike Napoli .300/.254
Erick Aybar .313/.271

Explains a lot about how the Angels were 5 1/5 games up in the American League West then and 8 1/2 back now.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.


 
 
 
 
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