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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Seattle cuts ties with Chone Figgins

Chone Figgins was expected to give the Seattle Mariners a spark when he signed a $36 million, four-year contract with them in December 2009.

Instead, he was an expensive burden in three lackluster seasons.

The Mariners finally conceded the deal didn’t work, designating Figgins for assignment Tuesday night.

...

Zduriencik said Figgins became an “expendable piece,” as the Mariners moved to protect some younger prospects on their 40-man roster. He could be traded in the next 10 days but will likely be released. Zduriencik said he already went down the road of trying to trade Figgins with no luck.

ajnrules Posted: November 21, 2012 at 02:08 AM | 35 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mariners, transactions

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   1. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 21, 2012 at 10:35 AM (#4307354)
The Mariners signing of Chone Figgins was the absolute peak of over-exaggeration of the importance of defense by some sabermetricians. Paying that much money to a 31 year old infielder who was a league average hitter or worse most of his career was pure folly. I didn't quite expect him to crater this badly, but I didn't think there was any way he was going to justify that contract.
   2. zonk Posted: November 21, 2012 at 10:38 AM (#4307355)
The Mariners signing of Chone Figgins was the absolute peak of over-exaggeration of the importance of defense by some sabermetricians. Paying that much money to a 31 year old infielder who was a league average hitter or worse most of his career was pure folly. I didn't quite expect him to crater this badly, but I didn't think there was any way he was going to justify that contract.


Amen... now it's on to the WAR wars over the (overly, IMO) significant component it makes up in that number.
   3. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: November 21, 2012 at 10:43 AM (#4307358)
Our long regional nightmare is over.

Man, as one who was a fan of the Figgins signing when it first went down, what can I say other than "I was completely, utterly, terribly, tragicomically wrong?"

I think the Figgins signing will come to embody the Zduriencik era for the Mariners better than any other single transaction: it was a fine idea at the time, now it's a brilliant mistake.
   4. Nasty Nate Posted: November 21, 2012 at 10:49 AM (#4307362)
The Mariners signing of Chone Figgins was the absolute peak of over-exaggeration of the importance of defense by some sabermetricians. Paying that much money to a 31 year old infielder who was a league average hitter or worse most of his career was pure folly.


"that much money"? He didn't get some Carlos Lee or Werth deal.
   5. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: November 21, 2012 at 10:53 AM (#4307364)
So in the other thread Voros said that there was a vesting option for 2013 based on 600 PA. What happens to that if Figgins catches on somewhere and gets the 600 PA? What about other clauses, like if he signs with the Yankees and wins WS MVP (if he had a bonus for that)?
   6. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: November 21, 2012 at 10:53 AM (#4307365)
The Chone Figgins deal made the Placido Polanco deal look like genius. And the Phils only got 6 decent months on a 3 year deal.

Figgins had been better offensively than I remembered. I knew that he had a career year in 2009 but he had a couple of >100 OPS+ before then.
   7. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: November 21, 2012 at 10:59 AM (#4307369)
I don't think it was such a terrible deal. He was a league averagish hitter who could play 2b, 3b, and CF and steal some bases. And he didn't get that much money. No one expected him to crater this badly.
   8. Spahn Insane Posted: November 21, 2012 at 11:19 AM (#4307386)
Esoteric--calling Zduriencik the game's No. 6 GM is one thing; calling him the King of America's quite another.
   9. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 21, 2012 at 11:22 AM (#4307389)
The Mariners signing of Chone Figgins was the absolute peak of over-exaggeration of the importance of defense by some sabermetricians.


If it was all about the defense, why did the Mariners switch a 32-year-old player to a tougher position, one that he had never played regularly in the majors? We'll never know for sure, but I wouldn't be surprised if the move to second base ended up having a detrimental effect on Figgins' offense as well.

I also note that the Mariners were so impressed by Figgins' defense at second that he hasn't played a single inning there the past two seasons.
   10. PreservedFish Posted: November 21, 2012 at 11:29 AM (#4307399)
I thought he might become the new Tony Phillips. Or at least the new Mark McLemore.
   11. TDF, situational idiot Posted: November 21, 2012 at 11:47 AM (#4307416)
The Mariners signing of Chone Figgins was the absolute peak of over-exaggeration of the importance of defense by some sabermetricians.
Figgins was about a below-average fielder before '09 (and really bad before '08), yet averaged 2.5 WAR/season as a starter '04-'08.
Paying that much money to a 31 year old infielder who was a league average hitter or worse most of his career was pure folly.
Actually, "paying that much money" ($9M/yr) to a league-average, average-fielding full-time starter (if such a player is a 2 WAR/season player) seems about right, if not a bargain.
   12. President of the David Eckstein Fan Club Posted: November 21, 2012 at 11:57 AM (#4307421)
How will this affect his Hall of fame chances?
   13. zonk Posted: November 21, 2012 at 11:59 AM (#4307423)

So in the other thread Voros said that there was a vesting option for 2013 based on 600 PA. What happens to that if Figgins catches on somewhere and gets the 600 PA? What about other clauses, like if he signs with the Yankees and wins WS MVP (if he had a bonus for that)?


Nothing, I think... Presumably, he's on waivers now while DFA'd - no team is going to claim him during the waiver period because then they assume the contract. Anyone who wants him will wait until he clears, at which point Seattle will presumably release him and eat the remainder of the contract (plus whatever buyouts, etc are owed). He'll then get an NRI or MLB minimum from someone else.

Frankly, I don't think it would be an awful idea for the Cubs to take a flier on him - someone's got to play 3B, and I'm not so sure that Figgins isn't a better bet to outhit the drek we have in-house.
   14. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: November 21, 2012 at 12:21 PM (#4307453)
Presumably, he's on waivers now while DFA'd - no team is going to claim him during the waiver period because then they assume the contract. Anyone who wants him will wait until he clears, at which point Seattle will presumably release him and eat the remainder of the contract (plus whatever buyouts, etc are owed). He'll then get an NRI or MLB minimum from someone else.

Well, right, they are on the hook for buyouts. Does the vesting option count for the "remainder of the contract"? If so, I would assume that the Mariners would be better off keeping Figgins and not playing him so that they are only on the hook for 2013. If someone else picks him up and plays him, the Mariners could be on the hook for 2014 as well. No?
   15. Nasty Nate Posted: November 21, 2012 at 12:27 PM (#4307459)
I think if he clears and Seattle releases him the old contract is over, so there is no "remainder of the contract."
   16. BDC Posted: November 21, 2012 at 12:31 PM (#4307464)
the absolute peak of over-exaggeration of the importance of defense

I dunno. Figgins was a fast runner who could play anywhere on the field; he had more value than the sum of his parts, as it were. It seems to me more a conjunction of two ill-advised decisions: sign a player turning 32 to a longterm contract, and then put that player, who was a valuable roleplaying supersub on a good team, at second base every day (at the outside of his talent) and in the #2 lineup position every day (ditto). Even if he'd continued to hit .260/.270, that would have been a classic illustration of why good teams are better than bad teams.

A "bus list" of comps for Figgins, assuming that the bus has arrived:

Player           Rfield   PA OPS+  SB        Pos
Orlando Hudson       98 5413   97  85      
*4/5D
Woody English        46 5468   95  57      
*65/4
Jose Hernandez       39 5089   88  41 
*654/3789D
Jerry Lumpe          14 5438   87  20       
*456
Buck Weaver           4 5296   92 173      
*65/4
Jody Reed             2 5248   91  40    
*46/D59
Chone Figgins        
-1 5284   92 337  *548/796D
Bobby Byrne         
-12 5480   91 176      *54/6
Roy Hartzell        
-24 5221   93 182    59764/8
Lyn Lary            
-42 5422   91 162    *6/5347
Julio Lugo          
-59 5338   87 198  *64/57D98 


Well, he didn't do all the things that Buck Weaver did in baseball, at least.
   17. asinwreck Posted: November 21, 2012 at 12:44 PM (#4307479)
I think the Figgins signing will come to embody the Zduriencik era for the Mariners better than any other single transaction: it was a fine idea at the time, now it's a brilliant mistake.


This poisoned Chone...

   18. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: November 21, 2012 at 12:48 PM (#4307485)
Oh Robert Andino, what hast thou wrought!?!
   19. Baseballs Most Beloved Figure Posted: November 21, 2012 at 12:54 PM (#4307493)
How will this affect his Hall of fame chances?
I'm not going to lie to you, this move severely damages his chances.
   20. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 21, 2012 at 12:58 PM (#4307499)
I dunno. Figgins was a fast runner who could play anywhere on the field; he had more value than the sum of his parts, as it were. It seems to me more a conjunction of two ill-advised decisions: sign a player turning 32 to a longterm contract, and then put that player, who was a valuable roleplaying supersub on a good team, at second base every day (at the outside of his talent) and in the #2 lineup position every day (ditto).


Bringing this back around to the Braves (which means, "making it vaguely interesting") I suspect the biggest downward draw on Michael Bourn's free agent contract will be Chone Figgins' last three years in Seattle.
   21. Ron J2 Posted: November 21, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4307520)
#15 Absolutely incorrect. If he clears and is released the Mariners are on the hook for $8million (less major league minimum if he signs elsewhere) next year. And $9 million (again less major league minimum) in 2014 if he clears 600 PAs in 2013.

Figgins is ... I don't know, maybe somewhat attractive at major league minimum. The Cubs make a degree of sense. Short term and cheap.
   22. Nasty Nate Posted: November 21, 2012 at 01:44 PM (#4307527)
#15 Absolutely incorrect. If he clears and is released the Mariners are on the hook for $8million (less major league minimum if he signs elsewhere) next year. And $9 million (again less major league minimum) in 2014 if he clears 600 PAs in 2013.


Ok, thanks. I guess the M's are willing to gamble that he won't reach the plate appearance threshold next year with his new team.
   23. Jim Wisinski Posted: November 21, 2012 at 01:47 PM (#4307529)
#15 Absolutely incorrect. If he clears and is released the Mariners are on the hook for $8million (less major league minimum if he signs elsewhere) next year. And $9 million (again less major league minimum) in 2014 if he clears 600 PAs in 2013.


Are you really sure about this? That goes against my understanding of the rules regarding stuff like that and it completely fails the logic and fairness tests as well.
   24. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 21, 2012 at 01:49 PM (#4307533)
#15 Absolutely incorrect. If he clears and is released the Mariners are on the hook for $8million (less major league minimum if he signs elsewhere) next year. And $9 million (again less major league minimum) in 2014 if he clears 600 PAs in 2013.


In that case, would it be in anyone's best interest to pick him up at the league minimum and play him 600 PAs as a super sub, just to screw with the Angels' purse strings next year?
   25. Good cripple hitter Posted: November 21, 2012 at 01:51 PM (#4307534)
#15 Absolutely incorrect. If he clears and is released the Mariners are on the hook for $8million (less major league minimum if he signs elsewhere) next year. And $9 million (again less major league minimum) in 2014 if he clears 600 PAs in 2013.


Unless things have changed since 2008 (which they might've), I don't think that's true. In 2008 the Jays released Frank Thomas in April after only 16 games and 72 PA. There was talk that Thomas would file a grievance with the Union because it looked like Toronto released him to avoid paying out his vesting option, not because of his performance. One article at the time wrote:

"I'm angry," Thomas said on Saturday, claiming the decision was made so Toronto could avoid having to automatically guarantee next year's $10-million US contract if he got 376 plate appearances this season.

Thomas's vesting option for 2009 was part of the $18.12-million, two-year deal signed in November of 2006.


Thomas didn't get to 376 PA with Oakland, but I'm almost certain it wouldn't have mattered. I'd be stunned in Seattle was still on the hook for the 2013 vesting option if Figgins is released, it wouldn't make any sense at all.

Edit: at the time, someone here claimed:

"The Blue Jays terminated Thomas' contract when they gave him his unconditional release. Under the terms of the CBA, he's entitled to all money guaranteed him under that contract. Because he did not have 376 PA this year, the 2009 option did not vest and so it was not guaranteed.

When Thomas signed with the A's, it was an entirely new contract. The 2009 option was never part of the A's contractual obligation. Now had he been traded or claimed off waivers (ie, had the Blue Jays assigned his contract to another team) then the vesting option would have still been a possibility. But the option was "killed" when the contract was terminated before the option vested.
   26. Nasty Nate Posted: November 21, 2012 at 02:05 PM (#4307540)
In that case, would it be in anyone's best interest to pick him up at the league minimum and play him 600 PAs as a super sub, just to screw with the Angels' purse strings next year?


Only if somebody had a serious serious grudge against the mariners - figgins has been struggling to hit his weight...
   27. Nathaniel Dawson Posted: November 21, 2012 at 03:10 PM (#4307590)
Seattle is obligated to pay Figgin's full 2013 salary of $8MM, unless another team assigns him to their Major League team. Any team that picks up Chone Figgins would only have to pay him the league minimum. They could pay more, but why would they?, so they won't. Seattle would be on the hook for the rest of his salary, which would amount to $7.52MM. If his new team plays him at least 600 PA's and triggers his vesting option of $9MM, they would then be responsible that. I don't know about the buyout, I would guess his new team would have to pay for that, too. But there isn't one, so that doesn't matter. Either way, Seattle's obligation to Figgins will be over after the 2013 season.
   28. JRVJ Posted: November 21, 2012 at 04:00 PM (#4307644)
13, if I understand waivers correctly, I disagree.

I would think that a team willing to take a flyer on Figgins might be willing to call the Mariners and say: "Hey, I'll take on $500K of what you owe Figgins. Trade him to me, and I'll send you an organizational palooka back".

I could see Figgins as a decent piece, at a cost of $500K to $1MM (pretty much no risk) for an organizational looking for a super utility player.
   29. Nasty Nate Posted: November 21, 2012 at 04:12 PM (#4307653)
I would think that a team willing to take a flyer on Figgins might be willing to call the Mariners and say: "Hey, I'll take on $500K of what you owe Figgins. Trade him to me, and I'll send you an organizational palooka back".

I could see Figgins as a decent piece, at a cost of $500K to $1MM (pretty much no risk) for an organizational looking for a super utility player.


You may be right, but he has been so bad that teams may only want to take a flyer with no risk (non-guaranteed minor league contract) rather than pretty much no risk ($500k guaranteed plus occupying a roster spot).
   30. Walt Davis Posted: November 21, 2012 at 04:19 PM (#4307663)
The Mariners signing of Chone Figgins was the absolute peak of over-exaggeration of the importance of defense by some sabermetricians. Paying that much money to a 31 year old infielder who was a league average hitter or worse most of his career was pure folly. I didn't quite expect him to crater this badly, but I didn't think there was any way he was going to justify that contract.

You just described Adrian Beltre.
   31. JRVJ Posted: November 21, 2012 at 04:26 PM (#4307675)
29, I would think that it depends on whether you want to have exclusive rights to very cheap, potential upside vs. risking some (not much, all things being equal) money on a potentially spectacular bust of a player.

IMO, a big budget organization should take a $500K-$1MM guaranteed flyer on Figgins. But that's just me.
   32. Baseballs Most Beloved Figure Posted: November 21, 2012 at 04:41 PM (#4307695)
21. You're (absolutely) incorrect.
   33. BDC Posted: November 21, 2012 at 06:21 PM (#4307738)
IMO, a big budget organization should take a $500K-$1MM guaranteed flyer on Figgins

He would indeed seem to fall into the Andruw-Jones/Eric-Chavez class of player. But OTOH he's hit .185 over the last two years. I'd keep him in AAA till he showed signs of life, if he'd agree to that.
   34. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: November 21, 2012 at 08:13 PM (#4307784)
He'll be a Cardinal. And hit .330 in 2013.
   35. bookbook Posted: November 21, 2012 at 10:08 PM (#4307833)
Guys, they only paid him $8 million per year. League average offense and solid defense (plus positional flexibility) is easily worth that on the FA market. His collapse was dramatic.

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