Tag:Chone Figgins
Posted on: August 13, 2010 11:29 pm
Edited on: August 13, 2010 11:34 pm
 

Chipper injury could mean opportunity for M's

Chone Figgins
The Braves are trying to hold off the surging Phillies in the National League East, and now they're minus one Hall of Fame third baseman. You'd have to think their level of desperation is high right now.

Some are suggesting the Mariners could leverage that desperation to unload an ill-advised contract. Chone Figgins couldn't replace the things Chipper Jones did, but decent major-league help is tough to come by now that the non-waiver trade deadline has passed. Only players making more than their value can slip through, and Figgins, owed a minimum of $26 million and three more years on the contract he signed last winter, is highly unlikely to be snapped up.

The Mariners and Braves reportedly had discussions about Figgins at the deadline that weren't terribly serious, but Atlanta's situation has changed. And so has Seattle's since the Mariners signed Figgins thinking they were contenders. As the Seattle Times points out, the Mariners are paying $27 million of their $90 million payroll to two players: Figgins and Ichiro Suzuki. Thirty percent of your payroll for two leadoff hitters is absurd, and you know they're not trading Ichiro.

The Braves have other options. They can move Martin Prado to third and play Omar Infante every day. They can try to trade for Baltimore's Ty Wigginton, though Wigginton is a longer shot to clear waivers. But Figgins is ridiculously hot right now (batting .405/.436/.486 in August), and despite his contract, he could make the difference in whether the Braves make the playoffs by a game or miss by a game.

Are the Braves desperate enough to make this deal? Are the Mariners willing to pick up enough of Figgins' contract to make it happen? Hard to say, but you've got to think there's at least going to be a phone call between Frank Wren and Jack Zduriencik.

-- David Andriesen

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

Posted on: August 3, 2010 12:01 am
 

Figgins working to turn season around

Chone Figgins It's been a rough season for Chone Figgins in his new home of Seattle after signing a four-year, $36 million contract in what was supposed to be an AL West contender.

Instead, the Mariners are 39-67 entering play Monday and are playing worse as the season goes on. Figgins, for his part, has had to adjust to a new position and spot in the batting order. It hasn't gone smoothly for the 32-year-old.

Figgins is in the midst of his worst season since making 12 trips to the plate in 2002 as a 24-year-old breaking into the majors for the first time. He has a putrid .239/.334/.288 line over 456 plate appearances. His play has picked up the more the season progresses, but is still nowhere near the Figgins the M's thought he was getting.

Figgins said the move to No. 2 in the lineup impacted his approach at the plate. He became far too patient and began popping runners up as he adjusted to trying to move Ichiro Suzuki along. He's been working with hitting coach Alonzo Powell to turn that around, which he has done as of late. Still, it's been a tough season.

Frustration has boiled over twice so far -- once when manager Don Wakamatsu moved Figgins from the No. 2 spot in the lineup to the No. 9 spot. Justified? Yes. But was Figgy happy about it? No.

Then, of course, came the July 23 dugout altercation after Wakamatsu pulled Figgins for a perceived lack of effort in backing up a throw.

"I understand that I haven't done what I've done in the past to help us get to the point where we can be a winning team," Figgins told the Seattle Times . "And I'm the one that has to look at myself in the mirror to prepare myself, to keep pushing, to keep getting better and to finish strong and for us to try to win."

Figgins refuses to apologize to Wakamatsu, and GM Jack Zduriencik is content to let the manager twist in the wind . All told, Mariner fans may have an impression that Figgins is a hothead who can't produce -- shades of teammate Milton Bradley.

"I'm the same guy," Figgins said. "Nothing changes. I've never really been an outspoken guy. I've been this way since I was a kid. I'm not a very talkative person. I never have been.

"When it comes to baseball, I'm an emotional person because I want to win," he added. "And I want to do well. Sometimes, it's just emotions."

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Category: MLB
Posted on: August 1, 2010 9:29 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:58 am
 

Zduriencik hanging Wakamatsu out to dry


Jack Zduriencik As the non-waiver trade deadline passed and people talk about winners and losers, I get a little chuckle. It's easy to talk about winners and losers of transactions, but the on-field wins and losses are a little different.

Sure, there are always opinions on moves -- like I still don't see how the Cardinals are better than they were before the deadline deal that sent an above-average hitter to San Diego for a below-average starter -- but those don't really mean much. It doesn't take much hindsight to find an example. Many, myself included, thought the Mariners won the offseason. General manager Jack Zduriencik was lauded for his moves, including getting Cliff Lee and Chone Figgins. For all those laurels, it's earned the Mariners a 39-66 record, better only than the Orioles, Diamondbacks and Pirates.

For everything Zduriencik did right in the offseason, it seems the season has the Mariners taking on water.

We all saw the ugliness in the dugout a little more than a week ago with Figgins charging after manager Don Wakamatsu. Neither Figgins nor Zduriencik have commented on the incident. If you saw the fracas in the Mariners' dugout, it was worse than the Zambrano outburst -- and Zambrano was indefinitely suspended immediately after the outburst. That announcement was made by Cubs general manager Jim Hendry. Zambrano has since apologized individually to players, to his team as a whole and to the nation on ESPN. You can question the sincerity of that apology, but not the fact that it was at least acknowledged as a mistake and something that shouldn't have happened.

In Seattle, Figgins was back in the lineup the next day. Figgins has since given an indication that he -- and others -- are upset with the way Ken Griffey Jr. was "pushed" out of Seattle. Griffey retired after being pushed aside as the everyday designated hitter. Wakamatsu had little choice not to play Griffey because of his lack of production, but it was an impressive piece of passive-aggressive micro-managing by Zduriencik to make Wakamatsu out as the bad guy in the end of the road of Seattle's most important sports hero of all time.

Don Wakamastsu Now, the Seattle Times ' Geoff Baker has the details of another incident of Zduriencik's lack of respect for Wakamatsu. Writes Baker :
Some of you speculated that today when I told you of how the organization decided to ship Justin Smoak to Class AAA less than 24 hours after Wakamatsu had outlined a course for him that involved remaining with the major league club. Wakamatsu said the move was "an organizational decision.''

Some of you mused, rightfully so, about how the organization keeps making Wakamatsu look bad. Whether intentional or not. Look, I understand the front office was busy today in all kinds of trade discussions that didn't bear fruit. Zduriencik doesn't have time to read every blog post about what Wakamatsu said on the Smoak situation yesterday.

But Zduriencik knows exactly what has been said on his non-support of the manager -- at least in public -- since the Figgins argument in the dugout. Travel from city to city, as we have this week to Chicago and now Minneapolis, and the people who work in baseball cannot understand how Wakamatsu is being allowed to twist in the wind like this.
It seems I have as good of a chance of sitting in the Mariners' dugout next season as Wakamatsu, who is signed through the 2011 season.

So it should be no surprised that according to sources in Seattle, the uniformed personnel in Seattle are as fond of Zduriencik as fish are of BP. But those same sources say most of the rest of the employees of the club feel the same way. Zduriencik's offseason showed he has a great sense of how to handle public relations, and for much of this year he's been able to pass the buck for the Mariners' disappointing season. Wakamatsu got the blame in public -- and among the players -- for Griffey's less-than-rousing sendoff, but as time goes on, it's apparent Zduriencik is the puppet master pulling the strings behind the scene and as a result, solely responsible for the Mariners' sinking ship.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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


Posted on: July 24, 2010 9:17 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2010 9:22 pm
 

M's hope to 'move on' despite chaos

Don Wakamatsu The increasingly dysfunctional Mariners seem to be taking the "just hope it goes away" approach to an ugly incident that transpired in their dugout Friday night, when second baseman Chone Figgins apparently went after manager Don Wakamatsu after Wakamatsu removed him from the game for a defensive lapse.

"How we've discussed things is between us," general manager Jack Zduriencik told the Seattle Times after meeting with Wakamatsu and Figgins on Saturday. "We've had our talks and that's it. We're moving on and playing baseball."

Apparently there will be no consequences for Figgins, who was in his usual spot in the lineup Saturday and still hasn't spoken with reporters since the incident. That doesn't seem right to one veteran reporter, Larry LaRue of the News Tribune of Tacoma, who wrote this on his blog Friday night: "There almost certainly will be some disciplinary action -- and it would be nice if, for a change, the Seattle front office backed its manager instead of standing quietly on the sideline."

No public support of Wakamatsu was in evidence Saturday, though the manager, who held a brief team meeting in the afternoon, said the right things when he met with reporters.

"No one wants to come out of a ballgame," Wakamatsu said. "No one wants to be put in that situation. Whether it's Chone or anyone else, it's never an easy situation, but it kind of shows you a little bit more about how much we care down here. There's certain situations that need to be handled during the season that aren't public. It happened to be public last night."

The Seattle clubhouse hasn't been a happy place this season. Some players thought Wakamatsu forced Ken Griffey Jr. to retire by reducing his role, which the manager denies. The Mariners were a popular pick to win the American League West this season but have been arguably baseball's most disappointing team.

Figgins was brought to Seattle in large part because of his potential leadership qualities. But he criticized Wakamatsu for dropping him to ninth in the lineup earlier in the season and now has cast a negative spotlight on the team with a public physical altercation with the manager (even if he didn't intend a physical confrontation, it became one as teammates worked to separate them). That's way out of bounds, and the failure of Seattle management to respond doesn't bode well for Wakamatsu.

-- David Andriesen

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



Category: MLB
Posted on: July 24, 2010 1:25 am
Edited on: July 24, 2010 2:06 am
 

Mariners scuffle in dugout


The drama in Seattle wasn't another Jonathan Papelbon blown save, but a scuffle in the Mariners' dugout after manager Don Wakamatsu pulled Chone Figgins from the game.

"What people have to understand is that everyone in the dugout cares," Wakamatsu said after the game. "Tempers flair there, but what happens there, stays there."

Replays showed Jose Lopez being restrained by Jack Wilson and Ryan Rowland-Smith, while Russell Branyan was held back by several other teammates.

It appeared Branyan was going after Figgins, when Lopez got in the way. At some point, Lopez's jersey was ripped off in the scuffle.

Figgins was lifted after a play in the fifth inning where it appeared he stood on second base and watched an errant throw from left fielder Michael Saunders to go wild, allowing Mike Cameron to go to third. It didn't cost the team a run, as Jason Vargas got out of the jam.

Wakamatsu said he didn't feel Figgins gave enough effort on the play, so he pulled him from the game.

In the bottom of the inning, Figgins was replaced by Josh Wilson. Wilson came up with two on and two outs in the ninth and struck out to end the game.

The incident overshadowed Josh Becekett's return from the disabled list. He went 5 2/3 innings, allowed five hits and a run, walking three and a striking out five.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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


Posted on: June 11, 2010 10:38 pm
Edited on: June 12, 2010 12:53 am
 

Big doings in Seattle



Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times recaps a busy day in Mariner-land :

• Pitcher Mark Lowe will undergo back surgery that will likely end his season.
Luke French replaces Ian Snell in the rotation.
Chone Figgins is back at the No. 2 spot in the lineup.
• And manager Don Wakamastsu has gotten the dreaded vote of confidence from general manager Zduriencik.

"Don's our manager," Zduriencik told reporters. "Look, he's our manager. Last year, there were so many praises, and so many people were high on the job Don did. Because the club's been in a bad stretch, because the club hasn't played well, certainly Don's disappointed like everyone else. He's our manager right now. We're moving forward. I expect Don to right the ship. I expect Don to take charge of the thing. He's the manager. That's his job. I look forward to watching it. Don hasn't swung a bat this year, Don hasn't fielded a ground ball, and Don hasn't thrown a pitch.

"As we move forward from here on out, I'd like to say this club is going to play better baseball from here on out. That's would certainly be what I'd hope to see. And Don will be the manager watching them do it."

So that means, what, two more weeks of the Wakamatsu reign?

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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



Posted on: June 7, 2010 7:42 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 12:00 pm
 

Mariners shake up lineup

According to the Seattle Times' Geoff Baker, Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu has told first baseman Casey Kotchman he can get used to the bench and Chone Figgins will be batting ninth for the near future.

Kotchman will ride the pine in favor of Matt Carp, who had 10 homers and 31 RBI for Triple-A Tacoma.

"Right now, we're going to give him an opportunity to play,'' Wakamatsu told Baker of Carp. "I brought Casey in and we talked. It gives Casey a chance to maybe work on some things and continue to try to get his swing to where he feels comfortable with it. But right now, we're giving Carp an opportunity to play."

Figgins has had a chance, but hasn't lived up to his 4-year, $36 million contract, hitting .220 with a .331 OBP heading into Monday night's game against at Texas.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans


 
 
 
 
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