Seattle Mariners: How Much Longer Can Chone Figgins Start in Left Field?

Madison GuernseyContributor IIIApril 30, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 12: Chone Figgins #9 of the Seattle Mariners makes the catch on a hit by Mike Napoli #25 of the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on April 12, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
Rick Yeatts/Getty Images

Injuries to outfielders Franklin Gutierrez and Mike Carp have been huge blows to not only the Mariners lineup, but to their defensive positioning as well. Traditionally an infielder, Chone Figgins has been in left field for 17 of his 22 games played.

Although Figgins has plenty of outfield experience in his career (323 career games played in outfield) and has never made an error in left, there has to be a better option.

Figgins' bat isn't irreplaceable (.225, 2 HR, 8 RBI), although to his credit he is hitting better than he did last season. His arm isn't great, and many times this season he's gotten bad jumps on balls and looked a bit lost in left field.

Casper Wells is hitting .286 this season and would be a better fit out in left. He's a traditional outfielder, and while he may not possess the speed Figgins does, he has a better arm and has a longer reach.

I'm not saying Eric Wedge should pull the plug on Chone right now, but Gutrierrez could be out for several months with a pulled pectoral, and it's unclear whether Carp will play more outfield or first base upon his return.

Kyle Seager and Alex Liddi are both hitting the ball too well to be taken out of the lineup, and maybe the best thing for Figgins would be to move to shortstop to replace the struggling Brendan Ryan, and even that may be too risky, as neither is blowing anyone out of the water offensively and Ryan is probably better defensively.

For now Wedge's best bet is to slowly attempt to transform Chone Figgins into the next Willie Bloomquist and move him around the field based on the team's needs that night.

He's played every position other than first base pitcher and catcher, so platooning Figgins around while giving Wells more time in left and allowing Seager and Liddi to get the majority of innings at third would result in the best case for the Seattle Mariners until Carp and Gutierrez return.


Update: Mike Carp is off the DL and will be in Tampa for their game tonight according to Carp's twitter.