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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Kelley: Time for Mariners to waive Chone Figgins, play the kids

That Sunken feeling. 

Figgins, 34, has no role on this team. He lost his leadoff spot. He rarely gets into the lineup. Maybe he’s the most versatile player on the team, but playing him just takes innings and at bats away from younger players with promise.
In a different setting, he could be the veteran role model who helps the young players in their development. But he hasn’t been much of a leader.

frannyzoo Posted: May 23, 2012 at 09:28 PM | 35 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: free agents, mariners

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   1. McCoy Posted: May 23, 2012 at 09:32 PM (#4139056)
Rather than waiving Figgins they should have traded him to the Cubs for Alfonso Soriano.
   2. Tripon Posted: May 23, 2012 at 10:07 PM (#4139081)
Alfonso Soriano makes over $20 million more than Figgins.
   3. McCoy Posted: May 23, 2012 at 10:13 PM (#4139085)
And he'll give you 20 million dollars more of value than Figgins!
   4. madvillain Posted: May 23, 2012 at 10:50 PM (#4139094)
Actually, that wouldn't be a horrible idea for either club, assuming the Cubs pitch in about 10 million. The Mariners put him at full time DH, give their fans something (I'm grasping here, but Seattle's historic run of bad hitting has beaten the fanbase down) to cheer for.

Remember when the Mariner's under Jack Z were gonna be moneyball 2.0 with great pitching and defense? Maybe they should make a movie about it.
   5. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: May 24, 2012 at 10:42 AM (#4139219)
Not sure how Figgins would make the Cubs any better, but getting rid of Soriano would be aces by me.
   6. zonk Posted: May 24, 2012 at 10:51 AM (#4139226)
The Mariners put him at full time DH, give their fans something (I'm grasping here, but Seattle's historic run of bad hitting has beaten the fanbase down) to cheer for.


*stifles laughter* Yes, yes -- exactly!

Make it happen, Jack Z! I heartily approve of trading Soriano and 10 million for Fingers... or who? Figgins? Oh yes, yes, equally fine.
   7. franklloyd Posted: May 24, 2012 at 10:55 AM (#4139231)
Pull-hitting Soriano could be real ugly at SafeCo Field, the park where RH power goes to die.

How many of Soriano's homers are opposite field?

But Figgins is already a epic contract disaster on the level of the Titanic!

So, who won the Milton Bradley-for-Carlos Silva our-overpaid-crap-for-your-overpaid-crap trade?

I'd say the Cubs by a nose, even with Silva getting waived first.
   8. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: May 24, 2012 at 11:06 AM (#4139240)
Definitely Cubs, because they got some good/lucky/miraculous/whatever innings out of Silva.
   9. DA Baracus Posted: May 24, 2012 at 11:13 AM (#4139245)
Remember when the Mariner's under Jack Z were gonna be moneyball 2.0 with great pitching and defense?


Trust the process!
   10. Johnny Slick Posted: May 24, 2012 at 12:01 PM (#4139315)
Well, let's be fair... the league caught onto the idea of defense a lot more quickly than they did with the whole Moneyball thing, in part because of the aftereffects of Moneyball. Also, when you field a baseball club, you can't do it on ideas; you need actual baseball players in the lineup. As it turned out, the guy they found for centerfield wasn't able to stay healthy (and his backup was godawful last year - granted that he's much, much better now), the shortstop also got hurt a lot and wasn't much of a bargain in the end (although it should be said that the M's traded basically nothing for him), and catcher was a massive mess before him and is still one now.

Still, in spite of all that the team isn't doing that badly. Maybe years of watching a Bavasi-run club has left me with drastically lowered expectations, but I no longer expect to say "OMG WTF!?" after the draft every year, and that's a pretty big improvement. Also, no more Rob Johnson.
   11. McCoy Posted: May 24, 2012 at 12:12 PM (#4139322)
Cubs won that trade easily. It could have been even more lopsided but Hendry refused to trade Silva at all and then when he turned back into a pumpkin they had to eat the remainder of his contract.
   12. JJ1986 Posted: May 24, 2012 at 12:13 PM (#4139324)
Well, let's be fair... the league caught onto the idea of defense a lot more quickly than they did with the whole Moneyball thing, in part because of the aftereffects of Moneyball. Also, when you field a baseball club, you can't do it on ideas; you need actual baseball players in the lineup. As it turned out, the guy they found for centerfield wasn't able to stay healthy (and his backup was godawful last year - granted that he's much, much better now), the shortstop also got hurt a lot and wasn't much of a bargain in the end (although it should be said that the M's traded basically nothing for him), and catcher was a massive mess before him and is still one now.


They also randomly swapped the positions of Figgins and Lopez. It might be a coincidence that both of their careers died after that, but I don't see how it was a good idea.
   13. zonk Posted: May 24, 2012 at 12:27 PM (#4139329)
Cubs won that trade easily. It could have been even more lopsided but Hendry refused to trade Silva at all and then when he turned back into a pumpkin they had to eat the remainder of his contract.


Is there any evidence of this?

I'm not aware of any offers for Silva -- the rest of the league didn't have their memory wiped of years of suckitude by Silva's two months of brilliance either. I can't imagine even the dumber GMs being interested in taking on Silva and his contract based on a few months of competence. I suspect any suggestions of a Silva trade were probably met with "Sorry, Jim - how nice for you that lightning seems to have been bottled, but I don't trust the cork."
   14. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: May 24, 2012 at 01:19 PM (#4139362)
Who are these alleged "kids"? Alex Liddi, he of the 170 strikeouts and .322 OBP in AAA last year? Francisco Martinez, 21-year-old walkless wonder who is currently totally overwhelmed at AA? While I agree that Figgins is doner than Thanksgiving dinner at Christmas, replacing him with random overmatched non-prospects is not really an answer, either.

While he has been better than Bavasi (who friends of mine took to calling "Hydrocephalus" late in his tenure), Jack Z has not proven to be any kind of genius, either. His drafts seem goodish so far, but other than Ackley I don't know that he's hit any home runs. His defensive strategy was (A) not as revolutionary as David Cameron wanted everybody to believe, and (B) also not that big of a marginal advantage -- the reason Moneyball worked in Oakland is that you could put together a lineup that would score 900 runs if you were willing to make certain sacrifices, at least you could in the late 90s and early 00s; positional defense, it turns out, just doesn't have as much value as hitting. Shock! How can that be? Having a bunch of really good fielders cannot make up for only having one or two competent pitchers? The fact that this lineup will be one of the worst in MLB history will defeat all marginal gains it attains in the field? I know that this is aesthetically displeasing, but it was also blatantly obvious to anybody who wasn't obsessed with the shiny new toys / desperate for any hope in Mariner land.

I realize that three years is not that long for a guy whose focus is meant to be scouting, so maybe it's best not to judge Jack Z just yet. But he has materially damaged the franchise by failing to improve in any way the product that Hydrocephalus put out on the field in Safeco on a day-to-day basis. The M's are not the poorest of the poor; they should not be on the Pirates/Royals constant rebuilding round-robin. Other than the occasional Russel Branyan, Z's pickups at the major league level have been pretty bad all around. I think it's possible that, like Dayton Moore, he'll have to be replaced once/if the system starts to bear fruit -- the team will need someone who can actually acquire major league talent to complement the kids.
   15. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: May 24, 2012 at 01:37 PM (#4139375)
Bavasi (who friends of mine took to calling "Hydrocephalus" late in his tenure)

Awesome.
   16. zenbitz Posted: May 24, 2012 at 01:55 PM (#4139393)
For a moment I though thought the Giants should sign him if he clears waivers. Then I looked him up, and thought, naw, they're not THAT desperate.
Then I looked at the Giants IF

Arias 86 RC+
Pill 82 RC+
Crawford 63 RC+
Burriss 29 RC+

Theriot has a "1" and will come off the DL and immediatly start at 2B. Burriss and Arias have negative fielding contributions as well (SSS)
Gillapii and Culberson - who were brought up to replace Theriot and Sandoval are being out hit by Zito, Cain, and Lincecum. Seriously.


So I actually think they should pick up Figgins for the minimum. At least until Sandoval gets back.


   17. GregD Posted: May 24, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4139404)
And the Mariners and Giants aren't really hitting that poorly--Giants in top half of league in OPS+ so far though below average in runs, Seattle second to last in OPS+ but way ahead of Oakland and not that far off average in runs. Now Pittsburgh, that's a team that can't hit
   18. Spahn Insane Posted: May 24, 2012 at 02:27 PM (#4139426)
Definitely Cubs, because they got some good/lucky/miraculous/whatever innings out of Silva.

Yeah, and didn't the M's have to fork over some cash as well? That seemed to be Hendry's main criterion for a Bradley trading partner--one with a contract so bad they'd have to pay for the privilege of taking on Milton Bradley's contract.
   19. Monty Posted: May 24, 2012 at 02:39 PM (#4139437)
Still, in spite of all that the team isn't doing that badly.


They're coming off two years of last-place finishes and are a half-game out of the cellar right now.
   20. Johnny Slick Posted: May 24, 2012 at 02:44 PM (#4139442)
Meh, both the Silva/Bradley trades and the Figgins deal were moves that were okay at the time but just didn't work out. Bradley was significantly more done than the M's thought he was going to be and while the team may have overpaid for Figgins in the first place he's probably hit at about the 10th percentile of expectations. After years of dumb moves that looked dumb from the outset and proved to be as dumb as everyone thought they'd be (the Erik Bedard trade, signing Jose Vidro, giving that big fat contract to Richie Sexson, signing Silva in the first place), I'm pretty okay with a GM who is only competent.

As far as the kids go, yeah, Liddi is still striking out a ton but the BABIP is high at the moment and maybe some of that will stay up there. Then you've got Casper Wells, who isn't young but who definitely deserves to take up PAs in the outfield over Figgy, Franklin Gutierrez is going to have to get worked in there somehow once he's healthy enough to play again, Carlos Peguero might be finally starting to learn how to draw a walk (although the K rate is still problematic), Trayvon Robinson sucks but less than Figgins as well, Luis Jiminez is playing well enough that he might deserve a call-up later this year, and Carlos Triunfel is finally starting to maybe look like someone who can occupy a major league roster spot. It's not like the team is hiding a Mike Trout in AAA at the moment but you don't need to be Mike Trout to have a better future with the team than Chone Figgins.

As for moving Figgins and Loafie around, whatever. Figgins was pissed off in general his first year here. Lopez OTOH was never all that great of a player and it's worth noting that he has not rekindled that slight ability to hit he had for a couple years here with other teams. He was always a middling-power guy who never walked and whose entire value was predicated on hitting .290. BA goes up and it goes down and Lopez never evinced the kind of dedication to the game that's required for a talented young hitter to transform into a wise old one.
   21. Johnny Slick Posted: May 24, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4139445)
They're coming off two years of last-place finishes and are a half-game out of the cellar right now.


This is overstating things IMO. The American League in general is really good this year and the M's, while not great, do have a better SRS score than 13 teams in baseball (per bbref). Yeah, they've been awful the past few years, but I'm having problems blaming the utter lack of Bavasi draftees to produce on GMZ.
   22. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: May 24, 2012 at 03:31 PM (#4139481)
Yeah, and didn't the M's have to fork over some cash as well? That seemed to be Hendry's main criterion for a Bradley trading partner--one with a contract so bad they'd have to pay for the privilege of taking on Milton Bradley's contract.

Yup, $9m to Chicago. In retrospect, one of Hendry's better trades.
   23. Monty Posted: May 24, 2012 at 04:02 PM (#4139508)
This is overstating things IMO.


It's a statement of facts! They've got a team OPS+ of 89, which only Oakland trails. They've got a team ERA+ of 97, which only the Royals, the Red Sox, and the Twins trail. They're a long way from a .500 record, let alone being any good at all.
   24. Johnny Slick Posted: May 24, 2012 at 04:20 PM (#4139516)
4 games is a long way? :argumentativeocelotsmiley:
   25. zonk Posted: May 24, 2012 at 04:38 PM (#4139526)
4 games is a long way? :argumentativeocelotsmiley:


Well, I thought "long way from a .500 record" was just a semantic expression of "they're shitty".
   26. Monty Posted: May 24, 2012 at 05:12 PM (#4139552)
4 games is a long way? :argumentativeocelotsmiley:


I meant in time, not in games. They're not a .500 team this year, and I don't think they'll be a .500 team next year. Like that.
   27. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: May 24, 2012 at 05:54 PM (#4139588)
Meh, both the Silva/Bradley trades and the Figgins deal were moves that were okay at the time but just didn't work out.


The Silva / Bradley trade, I agree -- I thought Bradley was a good hitter who woud benefit significantly from time in the DH slot, and he was only a year removed from being one of the best hitters in the AL. That he was cooked was not obvious from his time in Chicago, and was mostly a bad break.

Figgins, on the other hand, was probably a poor move up front. He was 31, a middling fielder in the infield, and had just set a career high in Ks and CS, paired with a mysterious spike in walk rate. It seemed fairly likely that he wasn't swinging as well as he used to, and had become passive at the plate. Given that he was prone to bad seasons with some regularity anyway, committing to him for five years was a dumb idea, probably driven unnecessarily by the loss of Beltre. The money isn't too awful, except when compared to what they're getting, but still, Chone Figgins was not the solution to the Mariners' problems at the moment he signed, and he's really not the solution now.
   28. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: May 24, 2012 at 06:23 PM (#4139605)
Who are these alleged "kids"?


Nick Franklin would seem to be the obvious recipient of Figgins's playing time. Triunfel isn't doing all that badly at AAA, either. I don't think he's ready, but I think you could make a case for it.
   29. Tripon Posted: May 24, 2012 at 06:35 PM (#4139615)
I don't know, the $9 million involved in the Bradley/Silva trade made no sense to me considering at that point, they were being paid similarly. When you're paying a big contract and you have to send money to do it, you should probably walk away.
   30. Johnny Slick Posted: May 24, 2012 at 07:04 PM (#4139642)
Actually IIRC the $9M represented the difference in salary between the two players. Not that that necessarily made it an easier pill for me to swallow as an M's fan. In the end, though, the M's had already left Silva on the DL the entire year before that trade with no real injury but a complete inability to get outs in the major leagues. At the time I was totally stoked about getting something - anything! - for him. It just turned out that, as noted, Bradley's attitude was the least of his baseball issues.

Also, point taken about Figgins' contract, although I don't think anyone was expecting him to repeat his 7(!) WAR season and he certainly wasn't paid to do so. Figuring on $5M per win and a 4-year, $36M salary, if he'd have put forward around 1.8 WAR a year - a mark he achieved in every season with the Angels save one - he'd have been worth the money. Instead he had the worst year of his career in 2011 and followed it with a season and a half of sub-replacement level ball. Fortunately, the 4th season won't vest, but the point here is that there weren't a lot of people who thought that he'd tank quite *that* badly.
   31. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: May 24, 2012 at 08:08 PM (#4139682)
4 games is a long way? :argumentativeocelotsmiley:

I meant in time, not in games. They're not a .500 team this year, and I don't think they'll be a .500 team next year. Like that.


Their pitching has been generally decent the last few years, their offensive lineup has been abysmal.

C: Olivo at one time was almost a league average hitting C (well for one year he was better than that, but that was one year I suspect his "true talent" was never better than average- for a catcher... he's been losing time to Montero- who I think would be an elite hitter for a catcher- if he can actually catch, plus he's really young

1B: Smoak, still just 25, but he's quite aways along towards bustdom, over 1000 PAs now and a career OPS+ of 89- for a 1B that... is... not... good...

2B: Dustin Ackley, was once the 2nd overall pick, hit for a 117 OPS+ at age 23 in the MLB, hit .303/.421/.487 in AAA, what's not to like?- Hasn't hit a lick outside of 2011, plus that AAA line was in less than 200 PAS, and was in a league that hit .286/.359/.448, but his MLB OPS+ of 109 is good for a 2B and he's reasonably young

SS: Brenda Ryan...
3B: Kyle Seager- actually I kind of like him, better hitter in the minors than Ackley, MLB record to date quite comparable, I suspect that as each piles up PAs, Seager will be the better hitter (of course Ackley is a Middle Infielder and Seager is not..)

OF: old guys and Saunders, Ichiro is no longer Ichiro! Saunders is 25 and has a 100 OPS+ playing CF, of course, I'm not really convinced he's a CF and I'm far from convinced that he's a 100 OPS+ hitter. A guy who can play good CF and hit 100 is a decent regular, a guy who plays a mediocre CF and hits 90 is a guy you want to replace, a guy who plays a mediocre Cf and hits 69 (Saunders MLB career average) belongs in AAA

The Mariner with the highest career OPS+ is... Ichiro, but tied with him is Mike Carp, the M's should just ditch Smoak, plant Carp at 1B and look for an outfielder who can both hit and catch the ball. Carp is only 1 year older than Smoak, his MLB OPS+ is 25 points higher than Smoak's his AAA OPS was 68 points higher than Smoak's... Smoak outhit Carp in AA... Smoak was a 1st round pick and was once ranked #13 overall by BA (an absurd overrating at the time imho), Carp was a 9th rounder who never was ranked by BA (I think BPro had him 99th or something like that one year- or maybe 9th on the Mets)-
   32. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: May 24, 2012 at 09:03 PM (#4139701)
Nick Franklin would seem to be the obvious recipient of Figgins's playing time.


Franklin has started well this year and I expect (hope for?) him to be a staple of the M's infield one day, but let's not get carried away. He's 21, and he's never hit quite like this before. He's been young for his level most of the way through, which is why one hopes he's got a future, but putting him in the majors today strikes me as a good way to destroy any progress he's made.

Look, I'm not arguing that they shouldn't cut bait on Figgins, clearly they should. I just don't know that there are any "kids" who should be playing in his stead this year.
   33. Tripon Posted: May 24, 2012 at 09:34 PM (#4139714)
Actually IIRC the $9M represented the difference in salary between the two players.


Not really, unless one of the teams did some significant salary deferments that nobody knows of, for 2010 and 2011, Milton Bradley was being paid $24 million, and Carlos Silva was being paid $24,250,000. I took those numbers off of their players pages on B-Ref.

Seattle kicked in $9 million to the Cubs because they liked Milton that much.
   34. McCoy Posted: May 24, 2012 at 10:36 PM (#4139753)
Silva had 25 million left on his contract and Bradley had 21 million. Mariners sent along 9 million dollars. So JackZ paid 5 million more dollars than he had to to make Carlos go away and take a chance on Bradley doing something worthwhile. Hendry saved 5 million to make Bradley go away and take a chance on Silva doing something worthwhile.
   35. Johnny Slick Posted: May 24, 2012 at 11:41 PM (#4139778)
Point taken on Bradley.

The thing with Saunders is, I think anyway that his career OPS+ is depressed unnaturally by a horrendous 2011, when he looked completely overmatched at the plate. He had some issue with his swing that he just could not solve, he worked all offseason to fix it, and now he's recovered. Maybe he'll regress to the mean but I for one am reasonably confident that won't happen.

Nick Franklin is still a little ways away but the year before last he looked like a monster in High Desert, where granted it's easy to look like a monster but this is not the first time he's looked this good. So... promising. Carlos Triunfel is a guy OTOH who has never quite lived up to the hype, although he's looking fine in AAA now and is still only 23. I'm also a bit higher on former #2 pick Dustin Ackley than "he's average and reasonably young", although admittedly if he's going to turn into an All-Star caliber player he's going to need to get better than this pretty quickly.

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