I think it’s about time we give the Minnesota Twins a break.
The Twins were the proud owners of baseball’s worst second basemen and shortstops, but as we take a look at which team hosts baseball’s worst third basemen, it’s time to lay off Minnesota and pick on the Seattle Mariners.
The Mariners third basemen have been brutal in 2011.
Major League Rankings*
AVG: 30th (.188)
OBP: 30th (.246)
SLG: 30th (.270)
HRs: Tied for 29th (2)
ISO: 28th (.082)
wOBA: 30th (.228)
WAR: 30th (-1.0)
I called Figgins as the Chone Figgins" target="_blank">biggest bust of the 2009 offseason, but I had no idea he would be this bad in a Mariner uniform. He is hitting .190/.232/.256 with one HR in 209 plate appearances in 2011.
He is hated more in Seattle almost as much as New York Mets fans hated Bobby Bonilla in the early-1990s. I didn’t think that was possible, but things have gotten really ugly in Seattle for Figgins.
He may have $17 million guaranteed left on his contract over the next two years (Figgins does have a $9 million vesting option for 2014), but it would not shock me if the Mariners let Figgins go at some point this season. He’s been that bad.
Of course, the easy answer in situations like the one the Mariners are in with Figgins is to let him go. But the difficult answer is always, if they let Figgins go, who do they replace him with?
In this case, I don’t think there is an answer to that question. This leads me to…
The Mariners are in a real pickle. They really are not that good, but because the American League West is so mediocre, they came into last night’s game against the Baltimore Orioles only one game out of first place.
They are going to have to decide if they are real contenders or if they should just continue the rebuilding process. If they believe they are legit contenders in the AL West, it’s quite possible the Mariners could make a trade for a third baseman.
If the Mariners decide they don’t have staying power and decide to stay put with what they have, they could look internally to replace Figgins with Alex Liddi. Liddi was a free agent signed out of Italy back in 2002 and came into the 2011 season as the 11th-best prospect in the Mariners organization, according to Baseball Prospectus.
He is only 22, but he is hitting a respectable .276/.352/.495 with nine HRs in 227 PAs for Triple-A Tacoma. His glove might not be major league ready right now, but he could be an option down the road.
I think the Mariners will ride it out with Figgins and hope and pray he gets somewhat better than what he is now. Expectations are so low for Figgins that the Mariners would take .230 from him and be happy.