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Friday, March 08, 2013

AP: Chone Figgins trying to extend career with Marlins

For Figgins, life begins again at 35, if .000/.154/.000 in 14 spring training PAs is “life.”

Until this year, he spent his entire career in the American League.

“In the AL you’re limited,” he says. “They don’t pinch-hit much, and if they do, it’s usually somebody who might hit a homer.”

Figgins never had much power, but in his prime the switch-hitter contributed in many other ways during eight seasons with the Angels.

His production began to decline after he signed a $36 million, four-year contract with the Mariners before the 2010 season. He batted .188 in 81 games in 2011, then hit .181 in 66 games last year.

Playing part time made it tough to shake the slump, he says.

“I’d go three weeks to a month not playing, going from getting 700 at-bats every year,” he says. “It’s tough. You sign a four-year deal, and the second year of the deal you’re sitting on the bench. That’s hard to swallow. But I stayed positive as much as I could. This is where it has taken me.”

Greg Franklin Posted: March 08, 2013 at 04:58 PM | 40 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels, mariners, marlins

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: March 08, 2013 at 05:13 PM (#4384356)
His production began to decline after he signed a $36 million

This is what they call good timing.
   2. flournoy Posted: March 08, 2013 at 05:16 PM (#4384359)
Per the terms of the contract that Figgins signed with the Mariners, if he gets 600 PA in 2013, that triggers a $9M option for 2014.

I assume the answer is no, since otherwise I doubt the Mariners would have released him and taken the chance, but if Figgins gets 600 PA with the Marlins this year, does that option still trigger? And would the Mariners be on the hook for it?
   3. Good cripple hitter Posted: March 08, 2013 at 05:21 PM (#4384365)
I have no idea what Chone's talking about in the excerpt. Unless the hip injury that DL'ed him was faked (which I suppose is possible), the Mariners let him play slap his way to a .243 slugging percentage and an OPS+ was 40 until they decided Dustin Ackley (and, uh, Adam Kennedy) should get his playing time in mid-July. Then in August Chone was DL'ed.

If anyone asks Chone about his Mariners tenure, he should just thank the higher powers that someone in Seattle thought he was a defensive superstar who could get on base enough to be worth 35 million dollars, not ######## about his lack of PT.

And no, the Mariners would not be on the hook for the vesting option, the option evaporated once he was released.
   4. smileyy Posted: March 08, 2013 at 05:47 PM (#4384392)
Chone Figgins is in my book of the "Royce Clayton All-Stars" of players whose names make you think they should be better than they are.
   5. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: March 08, 2013 at 05:50 PM (#4384399)
Chone Figgins is in my book of the "Anfernee Hardaway All-Stars" of players whose first names make you think their parents were too abjectly stupid to be allowed to breed.
   6. zonk Posted: March 08, 2013 at 06:02 PM (#4384424)
So have we ever done an all-time debacle of a contract team?

I'm not talking just big contracts that became millstones -- contracts that almost immediately became the front office equivalent of getting drunk, going places you shouldn't, and learning the following morning that a stripper just opened a tab with your credit card and you blindly signed whatever was put in front of you (or so I've heard)... so A-Rod doesn't really count... neither does Soriano.

C Todd Hundley with the Cubs
1B ??? Mo had a good year or two, didn't he?
2B ???? Dan Uggla if we can play kreskin?
3B Chone... or Bobby Bonilla?
SS ???
OF Vernon Wells
OF Gary Mathews Jr
OF ???
SP so many to choose from... Carlos Silva... Mike Hampton...
   7. Hello Rusty Kuntz, Goodbye Rusty Cars Posted: March 08, 2013 at 06:19 PM (#4384453)
I assume the answer is no, since otherwise I doubt the Mariners would have released him and taken the chance, but if Figgins gets 600 PA with the Marlins this year, does that option still trigger? And would the Mariners be on the hook for it?


I found a couple of mlb.com articles from November (just before he was released) that say the option would be voided when he was released.
   8. cardsfanboy Posted: March 08, 2013 at 06:20 PM (#4384455)
1B ??? Mo had a good year or two, didn't he?


I'm a Cardinal fan. Tino Martinez. A 33+ old first baseman, coming off a 114 ops+ season preceded by an 89 ops+ season, in which a significant portion of his homeruns of the revious season came at the expense of his doubles, and happened to be playing in a park that is homer friendly to a lefty bat. Sounds like a perfect match for Busch Stadium. Let's sign him for 3 years at 7 mil per(when 7 per was good money for a player). At least with Mo, he was coming off of an MVP quality season.

I'm assuming you are talking about players who the collective wisdom around here would have been "That is a stupid signing" more than players who are just busts.

I have Gary Mathews Jr as the dumbest signing in MLB history, so fully support that nominee.
For shortstop, Renteria is a possibility, but he put up a decent season after leaving Boston. (Full disclosure, I supported the signing at the time, but was in the vast minority as I was projecting a rebound season from Edgar which didn't materialize) But still 4 years, 40 mil for 9.8 war?





   9. zonk Posted: March 08, 2013 at 06:27 PM (#4384472)
I'm assuming you are talking about players who the collective wisdom around here would have been "That is a stupid signing" more than players who are just busts.


Yeah.... I think the criteria is somewhere in the realm of the collective wisdom being "that's a pretty bad overpay" coupled the player completely imloding.

I was thinking about Andruw Jones with the Dodgers -- but, I guess -- you could make the argument it was bounceback bet?

GMJ is definitely the archetype... everyone thought it was a horrid deal... and it turned out even more horrid that feared.

   10. Austin Posted: March 08, 2013 at 06:41 PM (#4384511)
Julio Lugo's contract with Boston has to be up there, right?
   11. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 08, 2013 at 06:49 PM (#4384526)
I have Gary Mathews Jr as the dumbest signing in MLB history, so fully support that nominee.


Which signing, though? Even though the money was miniscule, that Minaya voluntarily picked him up to start ahead of Angel Pagan makes me think the Mets acquisition was even more senseless than the 5/50 deal.
   12. DA Baracus Posted: March 08, 2013 at 06:49 PM (#4384527)
1B ??? Mo had a good year or two, didn't he?


Wasn't Ryan Howard's extension pretty much universally shat on?
   13. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 08, 2013 at 06:53 PM (#4384533)
@12: yes, but it seemed to be more in the 'really, really dumb' category, whereas the Vaughn deal was stupefying.
   14. smileyy Posted: March 08, 2013 at 07:36 PM (#4384572)
Adrian Beltre with the Mariners is somehow the sideways version of this, where only _that_ contract was bad -- though not egregious, given what we know about his defense, but he sure didn't hit for the Mariners. But then he hits in Boston and Texas, like he never had before except for 1 season in LA.
   15. AJMcCringleberry Posted: March 08, 2013 at 07:40 PM (#4384575)
Wasn't Ryan Howard's extension pretty much universally shat on?

So far Howard's put up a 91 OPS+ in 71 games, but he still has four years to turn it around.

Ah, funny stuff.
   16. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 08, 2013 at 08:26 PM (#4384608)
Yeah.... I think the criteria is somewhere in the realm of the collective wisdom being "that's a pretty bad overpay" coupled the player completely imloding.

Zito and Crawford.
   17. Sweatpants Posted: March 08, 2013 at 08:39 PM (#4384614)
Aaron Rowand's was a pretty lousy contract. I didn't know the Giants were still paying him in 2012.
   18. Walt Davis Posted: March 08, 2013 at 08:46 PM (#4384620)
Howard's extension was crapped on around here but it was signed years in advance -- which increased the stupidity but opens a lot of room around "what were they thinking?". It's easy to see what the Phils were thinking and, being signed so far in advance, none of us could really guarantee that he wasn't going to maintain. (That's not a defense of the Howard extension, I'm just not sure extensions should qualify for this team. I mean I've got serious doubt about the last 5+ years of that Votto contract and none of us thought the 2nd ARod contract was a good idea and that's really no different than saying "I'm pretty sure Howard is gonna kind stink in the last 5 years of his contract." If extensions do qualify, I'd put Howard there ahead of Mo.

GMJ is definitely the archetype... everyone thought it was a horrid deal

Not true. Both MGL and I "defended" the AAV although thinking it was too long. It's what average CF cost in those days. In the three years prior to that deal, Matthews put up a 108 OPS+, 6.8 oWAR and 9.6 WAR in 1500 PA. He had a big season at 31 but 27-30 is still 5.3 oWAR and 8.1 WAR in 1750 PA ... about 3 years of playing time. "Everybody" slammed it because they claimed it was based on his one big year but GMj was an average or better CF at the time of that signing and had been for years. Obviously signing him for 5 years was dumb. Nobody here seemed to object to the Swisher contract and he put up 8.4 WAR the last 3 years.

I will grant you that everybody but MGL and I predicted the outcome of that contract much better. But I'm not sure y'all didn't just get lucky. :-) The thing collapsed in a somewhat different way than folks recall. In his first year with LAA, Matthews put up 2 oWAR. The problem was he went from a very good CF (average +9 from 28-31) to terrible (an average about -9 from 32-34). That's an unusually steep defensive decline.

Juan Pierre was a no more defensible contract even though a bit cheaper than GMj. In the previous three seasons, Pierre had a 91 OPS+ and 5.7 WAR (but somehow 7 oWAR). He'd had one disastrous defensive year. For his 5 year contract, he put up 1 WAR with -4.5 dWAR. There was also Aaron Rowand. A 103 OPS+, 7.4 oWAR, 8.2 WAR, coming off a big year and he only managed 1.9 WAR over his 5-year contract. Add in Andruw Jones and it was a bad time to be signing CF not named Torii Hunter.

So lots of CFs to choose from.

Wayne Garland is still the SP. :-)


   19. Carlo Paz Posted: March 08, 2013 at 09:42 PM (#4384639)
Chone Figgins is in my book of the "Anfernee Hardaway All-Stars" of players whose first names make you think their parents were too abjectly stupid to be allowed to breed.


Say what? Maybe you should pull off your glory suit and let us take a look at your 21st chromosome before we issue you a reproductive license.
   20. michaelplank has knowledgeable eyes Posted: March 08, 2013 at 10:44 PM (#4384695)
Chone Figgins is in my book of the "Anfernee Hardaway All-Stars" of players whose first names make you think their parents were too abjectly stupid to be allowed to breed.


Actually it's not even his first name. He's Desmond DeChone Figgins. Which is totally cool.
   21. Yastrzemski in left. Posted: March 09, 2013 at 01:15 AM (#4384786)
But Michael, #20 - to know his full name would require a modicum of knowledge about the subject or three seconds of research.
   22. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: March 09, 2013 at 01:35 AM (#4384797)
Park, Chan Ho
   23. Drexl Spivey Posted: March 09, 2013 at 07:35 AM (#4384860)
Jeffrey Hammonds: 3 yrs/$22.2MM following a Coors-aided .335 ba season.
   24. McCoy Posted: March 09, 2013 at 10:16 AM (#4384884)
I think it would be a huge mistake to defend the GMj contract based on AAV. The fact that the Angels gave him 50 million over 5 years was why it was a colossal mistake. If the Angels signed him to a one year 10 million dollar contract it would have been hailed as a good signing.

For me the biggest red flag is hitting. I wouldn't sign a single player to a long term contract that wasn't above average with the bat right now, had been in the past, and looked to be in the future. GMj was not a good hitter and it was the defensive metrics that were making him look like an average MLB player. I'm not handing out a long term contract to a player with that kind of performance.
   25. michaelplank has knowledgeable eyes Posted: March 09, 2013 at 10:53 AM (#4384897)
But Michael, #20 - to know his full name would require a modicum of knowledge about the subject or three seconds of research.


I only know because I looked him up on bbref, and I only looked him up because I couldn't believe he hit 180-something for two straight years, and was skeptical that he'd ever really gotten 700 ABs a year. Incredibly, both checked out. More incredibly, his full name is ... once again... Desmond DeChone Figgins.
   26. Yastrzemski in left. Posted: March 09, 2013 at 06:03 PM (#4385080)
My point exactly, had #5 done the same his comment would only have been half as ignorant.
   27. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 09, 2013 at 06:14 PM (#4385084)

Actually it's not even his first name. He's Desmond DeChone Figgins. Which is totally cool.


He gave up Desmond for Chone?
   28. Walt Davis Posted: March 09, 2013 at 07:31 PM (#4385147)
I think it would be a huge mistake to defend the GMj contract based on AAV.

Like I said, literally everybody thought it was too long. But that was just as true of the Pierre and Rowand contracts (and we mostly thought Hunter too).

GMj was not a good hitter and it was the defensive metrics that were making him look like an average MLB player.

As I showed, this is not true. From ages 28-31 he put up 7.4 oWAR in 2000 PA. He was +4 Rbat which is average for a CF. His defense and baserunning made him above-average. Or ignore his big year and from ages 27-30 he was -7, just below average for a CF. For the last 3 or 4 years, Michael Bourn is -6 Rbat and his value is defense and baserunning but folks seem to think that contract was just fine.

But, true, due to age, he certainly didn't project as an average or better hitter going forward. He still had a way to fall to become a below-average player and, as I noted, he actually was perfectly OK with the bat in year 1 of the deal (-5 Rbat, 2 oWAR). It was the 20 run swing in defense that killed him. Then, the next year, the power disappeared and he was done.

I completely agree with the conclusion it was an awful contract. He was a classic late bloomer, a guy who at his peak is a decent MLer but is barely hanging on. Those guys often fade quickly in their early 30s. It was clearly foolish to sign him for 5 years. But Matthews was not a guy who'd never had success nor was he a one-season wonder.
   29. McCoy Posted: March 09, 2013 at 08:05 PM (#4385166)

As I showed, this is not true.


No it is true.

2003: -11 Rbat
2004: -1 Rbat
2005: -3 Rbat
2006: 18 Rbat

Except for a very flukish year he was never any good with the bat (well, you can count his time as an Oriole in 2002 if you want) and there was little reason to think going forward that he would be good with the bat. Like I said if the Angels gave him a 1 year contract nobody would have had a problem with the contract.
   30. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 09, 2013 at 10:43 PM (#4385231)
Part of the beauty of Little Sarge's career is that Omar Minaya decided, after Gary had proved to absolutely everyone else's satisfaction he could no longer play, even badly, that the Mets just had to have him--and they had to start him ahead of Angel Pagan.

Iirc, a big reason for the mass recoiling was that the deal was for GMJ's age 32-36 seasons, betraying a hopeless failure to understand aging in baseball. It wasn't the deal's length itself that led to the bout of mass retching, but the length of it given to an old man.
   31. Walt Davis Posted: March 09, 2013 at 11:29 PM (#4385266)
Except for a very flukish year he was never any good with the bat (well, you can count his time as an Oriole in 2002 if you want) and there was little reason to think going forward that he would be good with the bat. Like I said if the Angels gave him a 1 year contract nobody would have had a problem with the contract.

For a CF, -1 and -3 Rbat are absolutely fine. That is not "never any good with the bat." And of course in 2002 he was +7 in just 400 PA.

He had

one good year
one bad year
one average year
one average year
one very good year

I have no problem with the statement "I would not give a long-term contract to someone who is not an above-average hitter." And Matthews was not an above-average hitter, even for his position. But the statement that "it was the defensive metrics that were making him look like an average MLB player" is FLAT OUT WRONG. He was an average hitter playing an average defensive position -- the absolute definition of an average player without considering defense. His defensive ratings made him look like an above-average MLB player.

Matthews WAA

age 27: 1
age 28: 0
age 29: .8
age 30: 1.1
age 31: 3

That was 5.8 WAA and 13 WAR in 5 seasons and only 2400 PA (a little less than 4 full seasons). He was a 3+ WAR player in those years. Not a single below-average year there and age 28 was the only year he needed his defense and baserunning to pull him up to average. And, at age 32, he once again put up an average offensive year (-5 Rbat, +4 base/dp).
   32. vivaelpujols Posted: March 10, 2013 at 06:14 AM (#4385375)
Don't think Chone qualifies as a stupid signing without hindsight. He was a very, very good player and signed a pretty reasonable deal.

Worst contract ever is Ty Wigginton this year
   33. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 10, 2013 at 09:47 AM (#4385428)
Don't think Chone qualifies as a stupid signing without hindsight. He was a very, very good player and signed a pretty reasonable deal.


At the time it didn't look bad at all. Granted, no one expected him to come close again to his 7.5 WAR walk year, but even cutting it in half meant Figgy had put up three solid years in a row, with 5 of his last 6 being better than 2 wins.

I suppose if you let ALL the air out of his career/walk year (high BABIP, a preposterous +29 Rfield), and take note of the high walk and strikeout totals, which sometimes presage collapse (and the significance of which we can now better verify with pitchfx data), the signing looks risky; but how risky, really? Would you draw the line at 3/24 instead of 4/35? I don't see how anyone can argue that the deal, AT WORST, was more than a year too long.

I wonder how many teams have their guys poring over data for players like Figgins who collapse, looking for indicators to use for future signings? You'd think they all would, but it's probably only a few.

   34. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 10, 2013 at 10:23 AM (#4385437)
I'm not talking just big contracts that became millstones -- contracts that almost immediately became the front office equivalent of getting drunk, going places you shouldn't, and learning the following morning that a stripper just opened a tab with your credit card and you blindly signed whatever was put in front of you (or so I've heard)... so A-Rod doesn't really count... neither does Soriano.

C Todd Hundley with the Cubs
1B ??? Mo had a good year or two, didn't he?
2B ???? Dan Uggla if we can play kreskin?
3B Chone... or Bobby Bonilla?
SS ???
OF Vernon Wells
OF Gary Mathews Jr
OF ???
SP so many to choose from... Carlos Silva... Mike Hampton...


1B Todd Helton?

2B Would Michael Young count?
   35. McCoy Posted: March 10, 2013 at 11:16 AM (#4385452)
For a CF, -1 and -3 Rbat are absolutely fine. That is not "never any good with the bat." And of course in 2002 he was +7 in just 400 PA.

They are fine now but not going forward. You don't sign someone to a long term contract who is over 30 years old and below average with the bat. It is just a recipe for disaster. The definition of good in my book is being better than average. He wasn't that.
   36. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: March 10, 2013 at 12:12 PM (#4385493)
Adrian Beltre with the Mariners is somehow the sideways version of this, where only _that_ contract was bad -- though not egregious, given what we know about his defense, but he sure didn't hit for the Mariners.

This contract wasn't even bad, really. It was 5/64, which wasn't superstar money in 2005. He hit OK for the Mariners (101 OPS+, +8 Rbat over 5 years), and fielded brilliantly. bWAR has him as the 9th-best position player in the AL in 2006, and the 7th-best in 2008; obviously that's heavily dependent on his +19 and +27 fielding scores those years, but even if you take some of the air out, that's pretty good for not-top-shelf money.

B-R gives him 19.6 WAR over his Mariners tenure, Fangraphs 16.7. Even if you take the lower number, that's slightly less than $4M/win, which is perfectly reasonable.
   37. BDC Posted: March 10, 2013 at 12:36 PM (#4385504)
2B Would Michael Young count?

Young was a shortstop when he signed his humongous "face of the franchise" extension. Not really a "what on earth were they thinking" deal, though an overpay. They were thinking he'd keep hitting .300, and he did; he just was never as valuable as the .300 made him seem.


   38. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: March 10, 2013 at 03:03 PM (#4385605)
The Figgins deal doesn't require hindsight to know it was going to be bad. I hated it at the time. He was a 32-year-old who had just seen a spike in his CS, BB and Ks all in the same year -- and he was never reliably good before that. It was a dumb deal, and most of us knew it.
   39. Baldrick Posted: March 10, 2013 at 03:16 PM (#4385612)
The Helton contract gave them more or less what they expected, didn't it? A couple superstar years at the beginning, one or two All-Star quality years, and mostly league average performance at the back end. Not a huge victory for a contract, but not a disaster by any means.
   40. frannyzoo Posted: March 10, 2013 at 03:22 PM (#4385616)
As a Ms fan, a thread debating whether the Beltre or Figgins Ms contract was worse is like the French debating Dien Bien Phu v. the occupation of Paris, 1940. Both bad, but simply no comparison in terms of personal devastation. Watching Beltre play for the Sox/Rangers is a bit like watching the helicopters lift off from the Ho Chi Minh City (now) U.S. Embassy, however. Watching Figgins play, if ever, for the Marlins should be schadenfreudalicious.

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