Chone Figgins, Erik Bedard, and the Mariners' Worst Recent Moves

Matt Esposito@@mattaespositoCorrespondent ISeptember 1, 2010

Chone Figgins, Erik Bedard, and the Mariners' Worst Recent Moves

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    OAKLAND, CA - MAY 27:  Erik Bedard #45 of the Seattle Mariners talks to catcher Rob Johnson #32 before he is taken out of their game against the Oakland Athletics at the Oakland Coliseum on May 27, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty I
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Mired in a hole of one poor transaction after another, the Seattle Mariners are nine years removed from their last playoff berth.

    They have struggled with upper level management, found it difficult to find perennial stars in the lineup, and haven't been able to solidify their rotation.

    Much of these struggles can be amplified by a series of questionable moves that the franchise has made in recent memory, because there are quite a few of them.

    For a team looking to ultimately contend in the AL West for the the first time in much too long, they must stray away from the bad moves of the past.

    The team must not dwell on the struggles, but the Mariners organization must avoid making the same mistakes twice, again.

    Here are the 10 worst moves made by the Seattle Mariners over the course of the last decade.

10. Signing Jeff Weaver, 2007

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    TORONTO - SEPTEMBER 2: Jeff Weaver #36 of the Seattle Mariners delivers the pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre September 2, 2007 in Toronto, Ontario.(Photo By Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
    Dave Sandford/Getty Images

    Back in 2007, when the Mariners reached a deal with right-handed starting pitcher Jeff Weaver, they expected to be receiving an accomplished arm that could solidify a rotation that would be welcoming new young talent.

    Management expected a turnaround from Weaver in hopes of witnessing him regain his control after a rough 2006.

    Weaver turned into anything but a role model for the up-and-comers. He opened 2007 with losses in six straight starts, allowing 35 runs in that span. He struggled with control throughout the entire season, which saw him dig a hole for himself that he couldn't climb out of.

    He finished 2007 with 27 starts for the Mariners in which he went 7-13 with a 6.20 ERA. Those would end up being his only starts in a Mariners uniform.

9. Trading Jamie Moyer to Philadelphia, 2006

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    SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 30:  Starting pitcher Jamie Moyer #50 of the Seattle Mariners winds back to pitch during a game against the Oakland Athletics on September 30 2005 at Safeco Field in Seattle Washington. The Mariners won 4-1. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Ge
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    In 2006, the Mariners traded veteran southpaw Jamie Moyer to the Philadelphia Phillies for a pair of prospects named Andrew Barb and Andy Baldwin, both of whom never developed enough to make the Seattle Mariners.

    Moyer provided the Mariners with 10 years of excellent service, and he got thrown under the bus as he increased in age. This is a guy that tossed out eight years' worth of double-digit wins.

    Fortunately for Moyer, he has grown into an ageless pitcher, 47 years old and still kicking. He's making the Mariners wish they didn't give up on him at age 43. Moyer is the active leader in wins with 267, and he is a surefire Hall of Fame candidate.

    By giving up Moyer for literally nothing, the Mariners surrendered one of the most accomplished veteran lefties in the game. They could have used his experience in the rotation when the young guns were being called up.

8. Acquiring Jeff Cirillo from Rockies, 2001

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    OAKLAND, CA - JULY 3:  Third baseman Jeff Cirillo #7 of the Seattle Mariners walks to the dugout after his at bat during the American League game against the Oakland Athletics on July 3, 2003 at the Network Associates Coliseum in Oakland, California. The
    Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    This is a case of the Mariners putting stock into a new acquisition and seeing it flop right in front of them.

    Having traded pitchers Brian Fuentes, Denny Stark, and Jose Paniagua to the Rockies, the Mariners acquired third baseman Jeff Cirillo. Cirillo was a reliable hitter coming off six straight years of double-digit home runs. The M's expected him to become a veteran fixture in the lineup.

    He experienced a drastic drop-off in production in 2002 for his first season in Seattle. Cirillo drove in 115 runs in 2000. In 2002, he drove in 54 with six homers. In 2003, it got worse. Cirillo hit a career-low .205 in 87 games.

    His Mariners days seemed to be the turning point in his career. He was never much the same after them. He found himself traded to the Padres in 2004. Jeff Cirillo was a failed project for the Mariners.

7. Trading Asdrubal Cabrera to Cleveland, 2006

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    PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 22:  Asdrubal Cabrera poses for a portrait during Seattle Mariniers Photo Day on February 22, 2006 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    In June of 2006, the Mariners shipped a young middle infielder named Asdrubal Cabrera to the Cleveland Indians for veteran utility man Eduardo Perez.

    In the twilight of his career, Perez was highly unproductive in his only stint with the Mariners, as he was done with baseball after the 2006 season.

    The Mariners gave up Cabrera, a young switch-hitting infielder, for virtually nothing. Now he is in Cleveland, developing into a key piece of the Indians lineup despite battling some injuries.

    Last year, in 131 games, Cabrera .308 with six home runs, 68 RBI, and 17 stolen bases. That is the potential production the Mariners are missing, and all the while they have been stuck with guys like Willie Bloomquist, Yuniesky Betancourt, and Josh Wilson patrolling the field at shortstop.

6. Signing Chone Figgins, 2010

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    SEATTLE - JULY 24:  Chone Figgins #9 of the Seattle Mariners pulls into second base on an eighth inning double against the Boston Red Sox at Safeco Field on July 24, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    The Mariners looked to add a spark to the starting lineup in 2010. With Ichiro aging, they figured that Chone Figgins would add some spryness to the order.

    Based on his track record, Figgins seemed like the perfect choice to bat behind Ichiro. Instead, Figgins has struggled more than ever.

    Figgins hasn't adjusted to batting second in the M's lineup. He drew more walks than anyone in the American League in 2009. His discipline hasn't quite been the same this year. His OBP has dropped to .333 from nearly .400 last year.

    His 2010 hasn't been up to par with what the All-Star infielder has shown he is capable of.

5. Signing Carlos Silva, 2008

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    ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 25: Pitcher Carlos Silva #52 of the Seattle Mariners throws against the Los Angeles Angels during the thrid inning of the baseball game on April 25, 2009 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. (photo by kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Of all of Seattle's recent free agent signings, Carlos Silva was one of the biggest starting pitching busts. He signed on with a four-year, $48 million deal. He managed to earn none of that money.

    He started 34 games for the Mariners over the course of two seasons. In these two years, Silva sported a record of 5-18. In 2008, his ERA ended up at 6.46. In 2009, it was 8.60. He was piling on the walks more than he ever had.

    His multi-year deal ended up meaningless, as the Mariners traded him to the Cubs for outfielder Milton Bradley in 2009. Bradley's personality issues plagued the Mariners, and he is now undergoing surgery on his knee.

    Silva was a mess and generated a mess in Seattle.

4. Trading Matt Thornton to Chicago White Sox, 2006

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    SEATTLE - JULY 17:  Pitcher Matt Thornton #53 of the Seattle Mariners throws against the Baltimore Orioles during the MLB game on July 17, 2005 at Safeco Field in Seattle Washington. The Mariners defeated the Orioles 8-2.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty I
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    For years now, the Mariners have found a way to deal relief pitchers that have turned in quality innings in other cities. Matt Thornton is absolutely no exception.

    The Mariners dealt Thornton to the White Sox for power-hitting outfielder Joe Borchard, who provided the Mariners with minimal production.

    Thornton, on the other hand, picked his game up with the Chicago White Sox to the point where he grew into a premier left-handed bullpen force.

    He is now in his fifth season of relief with the White Sox. For the last three years, including 2010, his seasonal ERA has stayed below 3.00. His strikeouts have picked up, and his command has matured. He was also selected to the All-Star team this year.

3. Trading Rafael Soriano to Atlanta, 2006

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    SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 29:  Rafael Soriano #39 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Texas Rangers on September 29, 2005 at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    The Mariners' relief woes continue. It is understandable that they thought it made sense to bolster the rotation by acquiring starter Horacio Ramirez from the Braves for Rafael Soriano, but just look at where both these guys are now.

    Ramirez had a couple of good years in Atlanta but since has completely fallen off the map. His ERA ballooned to 7.16 in 20 starts for Seattle in 2007. He ended up worsening the Mariners' need for starting pitching, while Soriano went off to the National League to flourish.

    Look at Soriano now with the Tampa Bay Rays. He is developing into one of the elite closers in Major League Baseball. His 39 saves lead the league right now. The Mariners bullpen would have easily reaped the benefits if he developed in Seattle.

2. Acquiring Erik Bedard from Baltimore, 2008

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    CHICAGO - APRIL 29:  Erik Bedard #45 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Chicago White Sox during the game on April 29, 2009 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The Mariners traded the house for lefty Erik Bedard in 2008. All they got was an injury-prone starting pitcher in return for just about every role player of value they could offer.

    He's currently out for the majority of 2010 after having shoulder surgery. Between 2008 and 2009, he started just 30 games. Although he's been effective, he just can't stay healthy, and that is a huge blow to the Mariners' rotation, considering all that they gave up for him.

    Seattle traded pitchers Tony Butler, Kam Mickolio, Chris Tillman, George Sherrill, and outfielder Adam Jones.

    Butler and Mickolio have never really advanced beyond their developmental stages but still possess value as prospective pitchers. Tillman is emerging as a top Orioles pitching prospect, as a September call-up is not so far away. Sherrill was an All-Star in 2008, as he saved 31 games for the O's.

    Jones is also coming into his own in the Orioles outfield. He was an All-Star last year, and thus far in 2010, he has hit 17 home runs and hit .275. An underachieving Mariners lineup must miss his bat right now.

    It seems like the Mariners surrendered a ton for guy who could be perennially sidelined.

1. Drafting Brandon Morrow Over Tim Lincecum, 2006

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    ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 11:  Brandon Morrow #35 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angels Stadium September 11, 2008 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
    Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    What else can be said other than that Tim Lincecum could have been drafted by the Mariners? He is 26 years old, and he has won two Cy Young Awards.

    What has Brandon Morrow won? He's won a trade to the Toronto Blue Jays that simply returned right-handed reliever Brandon League, who will never singlehandedly have an impact on the Mariners franchise.

    In all seriousness, how could Seattle have passed up an opportunity to select a laser-throwing starting pitcher who can be identified as "The Freak?"

    In all fairness to Morrow, he hasn't had a terrible career. But if the Mariners had made the right choice in the 2006 draft, they would have an untouchable one-two punch of Felix Hernandez and Tim Lincecum to lead off their rotation. It would certainly be more intimidating than anything the Mariners have tried to put together over the past few years.

    In four seasons now, Lincecum has struck out 855. That alone is a slap to the face of Seattle.

    For Brandon Morrow, he is gradually coming into his own in Toronto. He is throwing hard and finding his control a bit more. He nearly pitched a no-hitter this year. But that all doesn't do the Mariners any good. They messed up twice here. They passed up Lincecum and then failed to wait for Morrow to develop.

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