Sunday, December 6, 2009

Figgins Bolts to AL West Rival Mariners

Chone Figgins has signed a four-year, $36 million contract with the Seattle Mariners pending a physical. There is also a club option for the 2014 season.

Figgins has played his entire 8-year MLB career with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He collected a World Series rings with the Angels during his rookie season in 2002.

Early in his career, Figgins was something of a superutility player. But since 2007, Figgins has been the Angels everyday third baseman. In 2009, Figgins led the AL in walks with 101, made his first appearance in an All-Star Game and finished in the top ten in AL MVP balloting. He enters the 2010 season with a .291 lifetime batting average and 280 career stolen bases.

Figgins has hit in the leadoff spot most of his career. But with the Mariners, he will hit in the number two spot behind Ichiro Suzuki. Ichiro and Figgins hitting one and two will give AL pitchers and their managers fits. Between the two of them they stole 68 bases last season. Figgins will also certainly be an improvement over Adrian Beltre at third base.

Yes, Beltre did win two Gold Gloves and hit over 100 home runs in his five seasons with the Mariners. But the Mariners never got the Beltre that hit .334 with 48 home runs and 121 RBI in 2004 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Nor did the Mariners reach the post-season with Beltre on the roster. Of course, that can't be laid entirely at the feet of Beltre. But Beltre has gone as far as he can go in Seattle.

Let us also consider that Figgins has reached the post-season in six of his eight big league campaigns. That's the kind of experience and leadership the Mariners will need if they are to compete in the AL West in 2010.

No comments: