Seattle Mariners: Strategizing a Breakup with Chone Figgins

Todd PheiferAnalyst IIIOctober 6, 2012

SAN DIEGO, CA - JUNE 24: Chone Figgins #9 of the Seattle Mariners walks off after striking out for the final out in the ninth inning of an interleague baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on June 24, 2012 in San Diego, California. The Padres won 2-0.   (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images

Apparently, Chone Figgins is sick of playing for the Seattle Mariners. At the risk of stating the obvious, the feeling is definitively mutual. Does Figgins have a suggestion on how to end this relationship?

Remember when the Mariners signed Figgins to a four year free-agent contract? Fans were pretty excited because they imagined Figgy and Ichiro setting the table for the rest of the lineup and creating a lot of offensive production.

Statistically, there is not much point in reviewing what has happened over the last few years. Suffice it to say that Figgins has been in a two-year hitting slump. He has become the poster child for bad contracts, and I expect him to be on a number of “worst contract” lists in the future.

What do you do with a player like this?

The barriers to resolution are many. The solutions are limited. How do you get another team to take a weak-hitting, high-salary player off your hands? Even the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox have some standards. 

I have to imagine pursuing a trade is a waste of time. Just because Figgins has voiced his displeasure does not mean that the phone is going to start ringing off the hook in Jack Z’s office. If I were the Seattle management, I would send out a group text message to all the other GMs and say, “Chone Figgins is available. We will take ANYTHING.”

When that yields nothing, the Mariners need to take action.  Cut the player and eat the contract.

Obviously the Mariners are not in a financial position where they can afford to just dump expensive contracts. However, enough is enough. This deal has been a failure, and it is time to move on. I do not blame Jack Z for this deal. Every free agent contract is a risk, and sometimes players just do not adjust to their new environment.

Is there any hope of redemption at this point? That seems doubtful. In the last three years, Figgins has hit .259, .189 and .181 for the season. Does management really believe that Chone will suddenly rebound to his .298 average of 2009?  I suppose anything is possible, but conventional wisdom says that the time for serious improvement has passed.

Figgins will turn 35 in January. His confidence at the plate appears to be shot. I do not see this as a prime scenario for a reclamation project.

It is time. Cut him. Bring up someone from the minors. They cannot hit much worse.