Mariners Sign Figgins

It’s not quite official yet, but all signs are pointing to Seattle signing Chone Figgins to a 4-year, $36 million deal. The Mariners are wasting no time in their efforts to compete in the AL West, having signed away one of their greatest rival’s more productive players. I’m pretty sure they’d like to snag John Lackey while they are at it. To beat the Angels, you gotta be the Angels.

Chone Figgins doesn’t garner the same sort of attention that Jason Bay and Matt Holliday do, but he definitely was one of the more attractive players on this year’s free agent market. Coming off a career high 6.1 WAR season (6.8 if you include baserunning), Figgins could not have hit the free agent market at a more perfect time.

It’s doubtful that Figgins will have another season quite this good, so the Mariners are factoring a healthy dose of regression into this contract, paying for 2 wins per season going forward. This is pretty prudent given that this contract will carry him into his age 36 season.

Up to the present at least, Figgins has aged like fine wine. With every season he has become increasingly more of a selective hitter.

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He also has become a more proficient fielder as he’s made his home at third. His past four seasons at the hot corner are: -7, -4, +8, +17. He’s probably not +17 good going forward; few are, but for what it’s worth the fans thought he was a tad better than Ryan Zimmerman, Scott Rolen and Pedro Feliz last year. That’s some elite company. Steve Sommer, who has put together 2010 UZR projections regressed to Tango’s Fans Scouting Report, projected Figgins at +9 next year. I feel comfortable projecting Figgins in the 6-10 UZR range for next season.

There’s also the matter of Figgins’ ability to wreak havoc on the basepaths. I’m not talking about stolen bases – if anything Figgins could be more selective in that regard. I’m talking about advancing on hits, fly balls and grounders. In the past four seasons, Figgins has been worth an extra 28 runs. Sneaky, sneaky.

Figgins isn’t as sexy of a free agent as Bay, but he’s someone who does a lot of undervalued things us nerds like: getting on base, taking extra bases and playing solid defense. And then there’s the matter of his versatility, which can only help the Mariners as they work in several young players. Some objectors say the M’s really needed a power bat, but production is production. Jack Zduriencik is a smart guy, he knows that. I would take Figgins at 4 years, $36 million over Bay at 4 years, $60 million plus any day of the week.

As for the Angels, it’s now or never for Brandon Wood. He’s tantalized Angels fans with his power in the minor leagues for years now, but can do it consistently at the major league level? The Angels should give him every opportunity, but it would not be a bad idea to bring in cheap player like Joe Crede to mitigate the risk that they have with Wood.

Think you have an idea of what Chone Figgins and Brandon Wood will do next season? Click here to enter your 2010 projections!




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Erik Manning is the founder of Future Redbirds and covers the Cardinals for Heater Magazine. You can get more of his analysis and rantings in bite-sized bits by following him on twitter.


87 Responses to “Mariners Sign Figgins”

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  1. Christian Seehausen says:

    This is a smart, smart move for the M’s, I just wish the Astros had been smart enough to top it and offer him a well-deserved $40MM over four.

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    • R M says:

      Why would the astros sign a free agent like that with the chances they have of competing? It wouldn’t make sense.

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      • Christian Seehausen says:

        They’ll have a chance to compete in 2011-13, I think, but with no infielders coming up from the farm they will have big needs at second and third base, and the market for SS/2B/3B is likely to be very bad next off-season. Figgins would have resolved that need for those three years. Anyway, the Astros are unwilling and unable to tear down and rebuild, so they need to sign *somebody*. I hope they at least go after Beltre.

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    • hk says:

      If you think the Astros are ready to compete in 2011-3, doesn’t it make more sense for them to restrain their spending this year and sign free agent IF’s next offseason? Why blow $9M on Figgins in 2010, a year in which he potentially could peak (if 2009 wasn’t his peak year)? I agree with your assessment of wanting Beltre, who could put up huge #’s in moving from Safeco to Minute Maid and it’s quite possible that Beltre will be a free agent next offseason. I don’t see any team coming close to giving Beltre the $10M per year that he wants, so he’ll most likely accept arbitration, make $13M or so in 2010 and be back on the market next offseason.

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    • There’s more info in the name link, but…

      In the post-Moneyball era, the value of raw offensive power has become more universally recognized. Where as once upon a time, slow and aged one-tool sluggers had difficulty finding non-DHing jobs, nowadays, even hated players like Adam Dunn can find a good pay day. However, as a consequence of offensive value appreciating on the market, the yang to the baseball’s ying, defensive ability and runs prevention, has become the new underrated asset of baseball.

      Despite popular belief, the spirit of Moneyball was not about on-base ability and slugging. It was about exploiting market inefficiencies so as to maximize the difference between runs creation and runs prevention. Back in 2002, when the raw tools of offense were undervalued, the focus of the underrated market value game was OBP and OPS. In this new era of baseball, however, “[t]he newest, cheapest commodities are defense and athletic players.” And it’s not just Billy Beane who has taken notice. Enter Jack Zduriencik.

      Jack Zduriencik, the man who built the Brewers’ talented farm system, was hired as the GM of the Seattle Mariners following a disastrously disappointing 2008 season, where the M’s went 61-101. Just one year later, Zduriencik has made some big, bold changes, exploiting both market inefficiencies and Safe Co.’s park dimensions to the benefit of the organization and put the team in a position to contend in 2010.

      Despite the presence of strong defenders like Adrian Beltre and Ichiro Suzuki, the Mariners ranked in the bottom half of the league defensively in 2008. Not surprisingly, the pitching staff ranked in the bottom half of the league as well. The other side of the game was much less pretty. The team’s cumulatively below average glove was poorly complemented by an even weaker bat, as the team’s collective .310 wOBA was bottom five in all of baseball. In short, the active roster was in shambles and the minor league system…well, the Mariners really did not have much of one. This was the state of being for the Mariners when Zduriencik stepped in.

      Since taking over as GM, Zduriencik has made a bold change by moving the team’s spending away from offensive production and shifting it towards runs prevention and defense. Instead of luring in “offensive” players to fill team holes last season (those like Adam Dunn, Bobby Abreu, or, god forbid, Richie Sexson), the Mariners went out and got guys for their gloves, acquiring Franklin Gutierrez and Endy Chavez. Even Russell Branyan, who was brought in for his offensive contributions, provided the team with a league average glove. Zduriencik, realizing that both Safe Co. Park and the Oakland Coliseum, between which the Mariners play approximately 92 games a season, similarly deflated offensive production, decided to exploit the runs creation/prevention gap by focusing on the prevention aspect of the game. And he did successfully.

      By a wide margin, the 2009 Mariners had the best defensive team in baseball last season, preventing 16 more runs from scoring than the second best defensive team (the Rays). Between the park’s cavernous dimensions and +62.0 UZR outfield, the team was able to turn even Jarrod Washburn into a staff ace and the team won 85 games behind the league’s 6th best team in ERA (note: ERA is a terrible metric to evaluate future success, but it does evaluate the level of success a pitching staff had in a single year, whether it be luck, defense or talent based). And although I normally lobby for FIP-based ERA regression, I dare utter no such thing about the Mariners’ league leading -0.52 ERA-FIP split going into next season. Why? Because the Mariners defense is only gettting better.

      As Erik Manning points out, the Mariners continue to abuse the persistence market inefficiencies of defense. Chone Figgins has a stellar glove and above average/no-power skill set that should bode well with Safe Co. and the Mariners. After posting a +6 WAR season, $36 million over four years seems a steal for Chone Figgins; especially when you consider that Jason Bay is posed for a +$60 million dollar, four year pay day after posting a mere +3.5 WAR season. In addition to bringing into Chone Figgins to play third, the team has also extended mid-season SS acquisition Jack Wilson, who averaged a +18 UZR/150 over the last two seasons. That solidifies the left side of the infield, while Ichiro, Ryan Langerhans, and Franklin Gutierrez man the outfield.

      The right side of the infield is more ify, though still solid with some combination of Jose Lopez (decent bat, average glove) and Ronny Cedeno (terrible bat, great glove) playing 2B. 1B remains an unknown at this point, though the team seems intent on bringing Russell Branyan back. If they cannot, however, the market is plenty saturated (I smell value) with players the team can plug and play at 1B.

      In sum, the Mariners are poised to again be the league’s best defensive team. A few high risk, low cost gambles like Rich Harden or Ben Sheets help lead the team to a stellar 2010 season (escpecially when you consider that Chone Figgins and Jack Wilson cannot possibly hit any worse in 2010 than Adrian Beltre and Yuniesky Bentacourt did in 2009).

      The AL West needs to look out. With Jack Zduriencik aroud, the M’s are back in force.

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      • Joser says:

        TL;DR

        The AL West needs to look out. With Jack Zduriencik arou[n]d, the M’s are back in force.

        You did realize that the post you were responding to said “Why would the astros sign a free agent like that with the chances they have of competing? It wouldn’t make sense,” right?

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      • Joser says:

        Also, if you’re going to do all that work you really should use something better than ESPN’s park factors. It didn’t affect your conclusion (the observation that Safeco and McAfee both suppress offense — especially to LF — and that disproportionately affects the M’s and the A’s, is valid and has been noted elsewhere although it’s been overlooked by many including, apparently, Bill Bavasi). But for future reference you might want to look at Home Run Park Factor: A New Approach and Batted Balls and Park Effects, both at THT.

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      • I do realize i should use something more scientific, but I was in the middle of law finals and just wanted to finish the article

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    • Svp says:

      Chridtian should have his commen rights revoked after this one

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  2. “Bring in a cheap player like Joe Crede to mitigate the risk…”

    I’m sorry, but as a Twins’ fan, I find that a tad bit humorous.

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    • Erik Manning says:

      Crede has been worth about 4 WAR despite playing less than 100 games in each of the past two seasons. He gives a team production, even if he does inevitably end up on the DL.

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      • Oh, I agree. If the Twins choose to re-sign Crede, I wouldn’t be miffed at all. It’s just that this topic has been endlessly discussed among Twins’ fans, and to see it brought up again gave me cause to chuckle.

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      • ineedanap says:

        Why would they need to sign Crede when they already have Macier Izturis on the roster?

        Sure his D probably better because he’s had more reps at the position, but Izturis won’t kill you with the glove and at least he has a viable bat. Also, dispite some recurring hamstring issues, Izturis is alot more stable health-wise.

        Let Crede go to a team that really needs him.

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  3. Christian Stilp says:

    What I’d like to know is the swing in projected WAR for this intradivisional move — Figgins minus Wood for LAA (given that the Angels were widely considered to be the favorites to resign Figgins) versus Figgins’ projection (already over a replacement player, since no one really knew who the Mariners were going to start at 3B next year).
    To make this kind of upgrade is incredibly smart for Zdurencik — to do it at the expense of a divisional rival, who subsequently downgrade, is *genius*.

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    • circlechange11 says:

      I agree with this whole-heartedly. I said the same thing with NYY signing Teixeira and [1] adding him to the NYY lineup AND [2] Keeping him out of BOS lineup. Win-Win, so to speak.

      Brandon Wood is a guy I’ve followed a bit, for “video game / fantasy ” purposes. He seems to be the new face of a “4A player”, triple A tiger, MLB kitty.

      If you didn’t consider his past MLB performance (not good), he’d likely project as a pretty decent MLB hitter … but his monster AAA stats have not translated to much, if any, MLB success.

      I’m kinda surprised LAA didn;t resign Figgins, since “taking extra bases” (1st to 3rd, etc) seems to be a BIG part of their success.

      This is a great move for the organization that threw a ton of money at Richie Sexson.

      Ichiro followed by Figgins is an interesting situation.

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    • Svp says:

      Christian still needs comment rights revoked

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  4. Scottwood says:

    He takes quite a few walks, doesn’t really have any power to lose, is good defensively and has always had a very good line drive %. Historically, wouldn’t that suggest that he would age better than some other players? This could be a great deal for the Mariners.

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  5. Bigmouth says:

    Excellent signing for the Mariners, even taking into account the lost first-rounder.

    PS: Scottwood, because a lot of Chone’s value comes from his steals, that aspect of his production is likely to decline with age.

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    • philosofool says:

      This is a common view, but I don’t think it’s true. Figgins SB% is about 74% career, and it’s even lower the last few years. That’s the break-even point, so his base stealing isn’t very valuable. However, according to BPro, Figgins is worth a few runs above average from advancing on ground balls, flyballs and so forth, i.e., he runs the bases well when he isn’t stealing.

      I think he’ll improve his SB% next season because Scioscia loves to steal bases, which probably means he’s telling people to do it more than they should. If he tries less often, but in better situations, he will probably actually net some value swiping bags.

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    • Scottwood says:

      The amount of stolen bases he gets will decrease, but he is not an overly efficient base stealer. So, with age regression, he will lose some stolen bases. But, if he attempts to steal bases less to compensate for that and remains as efficient as he has been, then I don’t think that will effect his value much.

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  6. Christo says:

    Great move by the Mariners. As an Angels fan, it’s a move that has to be respected.

    Figgins had a great year, something that was enhanced by the fact that 2009 was the first year seemingly in awhile that he didn’t have some nagging injury.

    I do think if that fifth year’s vesting option is easily attainable, it may mitigate the some of the excitement over this move, but it’s still a good move. Five years for Figgins totaling $45M might be a bit too much to commit. Before 2009, in the five years previous, he totaled $42.6M in value during his 26-30 years.

    But as you said, he learned things. He learned to be more patient. He learned to field at a superlative level. He’s a superior baserunner.

    There’s some risk here that deserves mentioning, though. Offensively, he makes a living on his feet to the nth degree. No power to lose here. You can’t predict injuries but Figgins has a moderate history of hamstring issues that may not age particularly well and the Mariners will possibly be locked in through age 36 if this is indeed guaranteed money.

    The risk is that Figgins, with expected regression and possible injury, may become a plus defender who walks a lot while offering little else.

    Now, that’s the kind of guy you want on your team, but it will depend if and how soon that happens. The Mariners may have given a larger window for error here.

    A lot of ‘ifs’ and ‘mays’. Sure.

    I just wonder if Polanco’s 3/$18M might become a better deal than a possible 5/$45M For Figgins given the money and commitment.

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    • Kevin S. says:

      The one thing I would say is that the dollar values over that time period were when the market paid less for a win than it does now. Also, it includes Chone’s down outlier season, but not his up outlier season. Throw out the top and bottom numbers, BCS/figure skating style and you get a player who’s posted seasons between 2.4 and 3.2 WAR. If the Ms are paying $4.5 MM/win, then they’re paying him to provide, on average, 2 WAR/year. That seems reasonable.

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      • Kevin S. says:

        Also, any three-year weighted average of his previous performance (7/5/3, 5/4/3, 5/3/2, whatever) projects him to be a little more than 4 WAR next season. Even if you expected him to lose a full WAR per year (which is a massive and unrealistic expectation), he’ll provide fair value over the course of the contract.

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      • Christo says:

        Absolutely true. Totally agree.

        Something I didn’t include was that I think this might be a great deal for the first two and possibly three years. I do wonder, though, if over time, will the Mariners have signed a deal that garners superlative value for the money or merely money equalling the value.

        Nothing wrong with money equalling value. Nothing at all. I just wonder if another year like his ’06 outlier is in the offing. His injury history always felt like he dodged missing significant playing time on a few occasions.

        And Figgins may be a prototypical example of what a free agent should want. He has every right to look for that fifth year taking him through age 36. That’s exactly what a guy with his age and skill set should do and he should have and did get.

        From the Angels perspective, a 3/$36M should have been on the table with a fourth option year. Doesn’t sound like it was. In fact, it sounds like it was much lower than that. They offered exceedingly low after offering arbitration, making it pretty obvious they were going to go with Wood and Izturis in 2010.

        I should heed incremental and moderate expected regression, but I feel Figgins, as he ages, may be all over the map.

        Fair value is realistic over the course of the contract. Absolutely. It’s that fourth and fifth year where it could get particularly dicey in my world.

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  7. Logan says:

    This isn’t really the place for this, but could someone help me out? How do you access the final yahoo player rankings for 2009? I can’t seem to find them anymore.

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  8. ZDValentine says:

    I’m curious to see if the fan projection go up a little for Chone’s RBIs. I’m just thinking Ichiro single, Chone double, RBI. Or something like it.

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  9. Luke Appling says:

    Ichiro single, Chone single, Griffey grounds into triple play.

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  10. coreyjro says:

    It’ll be interesting to see what happens when two of the best lead-off hitters in baseball play on the same team.

    Also, this move gives the Mariners three position players who had more than 5 WAR last year.

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    • Kevin S. says:

      It’ll be interesting to see what happens when two of the best lead-off hitters in baseball play on the same team.

      One will bat first and one will bat second. If by “interesting” you mean the middle of the order will have plenty of RBI opportunities, sure. It’s not like teams haven’t had two fast, relatively-high OBP guys at the top of their order before. Heck, look at the Yanks the past couple years. Jeter and Damon were essentially interchangeable up top.

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      • coreyjro says:

        Maybe instead of interesting I should have said fun.

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      • Kevin S. says:

        Yeah, sorry. I was reacting to what I read on ESPN.com in that vein as much as I was to what you said. They tried to make it out like there was some kind of problem that they would have two *good* lead off-type hitters. Idiocy.

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      • circlechange11 says:

        This has an “80s Cardinals” feel to it, although likely much better since Ichiro and Figgins get on base more often than say, Vince Coleman and Ozzie Smith.

        Having these two at the top of the lineup, particularly if on base a lot, is going to be uncomfortable for opposing P’s and defenses as well.

        I doubt there’s statistics for this type of thing, but it likely affects how many throws from the OF are cut off vs. throwing lal the way to a base, because both guys mentioned are threats to take an extra base at any time, and the risk for throwing to the base is giving up a trailing base essentialy every time.

        For an example of what “could” happen, look at the 85 Cardinals where Tommy Herr racked up 100+ RBIs on 8 HRs (IIRC). JUst from memory, Herr as a SH often batting L, racked up a decent numbers of RBI just by grounding out to 2B. I bring this up b/c i works for Griffey b/c he seems to be primarily a pull hitter.

        I don;t often follow SEA b/c of their region and time zone, but this adds a very interesting/fun dimiension to their lineup … and well, I miss “Whitey (Herzog) Ball”.

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    • Boxkutter says:

      Think Marlins circa 2001. A team built on solid defense and pitching in a pitcher’s park. It had essentially two lead-off hitters with Castillo and Pierre. But they did have better power hitters in that line-up.

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  11. Sky Kalkman says:

    Assuming the Mariners are smarter about breakeven rates on stolen bases, I look for Figgins to steal fewer bases but get caught a lot less often with Seattle, increasing his value by, oh, another half a win.

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    • circlechange11 says:

      I also wonder how 2-out, Ichiro on 1st, Figgins the plate, Hit and Run type situations this creates?

      With Ichiro in motion, or perhaps even just aggressive and fast, how many runs does he score on a “tweener” hit (single/double type hit to the gaps)? It also cretes defensive situations where you have to decide whether to try and nail Ichiro as lead runner and allow Figgins to move into scoring position on the throw.

      As I said earlier, I don’t know how often these situations arise, but it does have the potential for a 2 run scoring situation with 2 outs, on hits that normally (with other top of the order guys) that might not result in a single run.

      I tend to look at these type of situations from an “on-field” perspective instead of the straight forward statical analysis viewpoint, but these two guys create a lot of situations that shift the pressure from the lineup having to drive thm in with Xbase hits, to putting the pressure on the D by keeping them from advancing, and sometimes advancing multiple bases. It’s not often that tems at the MLB level really get to pressure the D a lot.

      It also creates some “Alfredo Griffin” situations where Ichiro could potentially go from 1st to 3rd on a Figgins sac bunt, if one were so inclined. It’s fun all the way around (for your team, anyway).

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    • Nathaniel Dawson says:

      I’ve been thinking the same way. Hopefully, he’ll either realize himself that he needs to scale it back a little and be smarter about his opportunities, or the Mariners hold him back more than they did in Anaheim. I can’t see him adding as much as a half a win though……that seems a little optimistic.

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  12. Jason T says:

    This had better not be one of those too early calls. You know, ‘Gore wins Florida!’ things.

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  13. NEPP says:

    They’re overpaying for a career year that he will likely never have again. They’re also overpaying for a reputation of a super-utility player. That is also no longer the case. He’s a 3B/LF at this point and he gets caught stealing way too much. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Ms are highly disappointed in 3 years.

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  14. Bob R. says:

    I am very impressed with the Mariners’ front office. In two years, they have made a lot of smart moves and positioned the club to contend a lot sooner than I had expected.

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  15. Joser says:

    You want to talk “interesting” — Beltre still has until Monday to accept arbitration. Suppose he does. Then Figgins goes to 2B and Lopez becomes expendable. (Or Figgins plays LF and Saunders stays in Tacoma).

    No, I don’t think it will happen — in fact you could look at this move as a last send-off gift to Beltre. With Figgins off the market, Beltre is the best 3B still available, especially for any team that values defense and/or has shorter fences in their home left field.

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    • hk says:

      Joser, Beltre accepting arbitration is exactly what I think will happen. While Beltre is the best 3B available, after the Phillies signed a 2B (Polanco) to play 3B, there aren’t a lot of teams that (a) need a 3B and (b) will pay $10M per year for 3 years. What teams are possibilities? The Angels will probably go with Wood / Izturis, the Twins won’t pay that much and the Cardinals would probably rather spend on a LF. The Red Sox are a possibility, but I think they will go after Holliday or Bay to play LF and fill 1B and 3B with a combination of VMart when he doesn’t catch, Youk, Lowell and Lowrie with maybe a cheap free agent corner man.

      With the leverage of accepting arbitration and making $13M to $14M in 2010, Beltre can hold to his contract demands and accept arb rather than accept a lesser deal in free agency. If this happens and the M’s don’t trade Beltre, Figgins loses a little value in 2010 because 3B is the only position at which he has a positive UZR/150.

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    • philosofool says:

      It’s not going to happen, but the M’s would be able to trade a player if they wanted. This would not be a big log jam for the M’s.

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  16. maqman says:

    I’m sorry, I’m having a hard time grasping the concept of a Boras client accepting arbitration.

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    • hk says:

      maqman,

      Boras did it with Greg Maddux in 2002 when he realized his salary for one year in arbitration would greatly exceed the average salary of any contract he could get in free agency. That’s why I think he’ll do it with Beltre.

      Kevin S.,

      I agree that he loses leverage if he doesn’t accept tomorrow. However, I also think that Boras will advise him that he’s not going to get anythig close to $10M per year in free agency and that accepting arbitration will be the best way to maximize his dollars.

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      • Nathaniel Dawson says:

        I believe at the time, Maddux prefered to stay with the Braves and he used the potential for a high one-year award to force them to negotiate with him on a long-term deal. It’s a valid point, but I think Beltre’s in a different situation. He realizes that the M’s aren’t going to offer any long-term deal, and he probably doesn’t have a great desire to stay there, either.

        A week ago, I would have said there’s almost no chance that he would accept. I’m beginning to wonder about that now, because the money that has been given out so far seems lower than what we are used to seeing. A lot of contracts are still left to be signed, but it looks very possible that we could be seeing salary deflation taking hold. If Boras thinks the market for Beltre is going to be super soft, they might want to go through arbitration.

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    • hk says:

      Kevin S., I believe he actually has until 12/12 to accept arbitration.

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    • Bodhizefa says:

      Jim Bowden is reporting on Twitter that Beltre has declined the arbitration offer. It’s not super surprising given that he will probably end up with a 3 or 4-year deal somewhere, but it’s a bit of a relief for the M’s front office as they plan their next move.

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      • Joser says:

        Having Beltre at 3rd and Figgins at 2B (and trading Jose Lopez to a team with a shorter left field wall) wouldn’t have been the end of the world — just an added complication for Zduriencik. That said, from a salary flexibility perspective I’m sure they’ll be breathing a bit easier when he declines. (And the draft pick is nice too — as Dave Cameron pointed out, by giving up the 18th to get Figgins and then getting a supplemental pick for Beltre they’re effectively just “trading down.”)

        That said, I think the wait on the “official announcement” of the Figgins deal is probably entirely contingent on Beltre making his own announcement. I suppose it’s possible that the Figgins deal itself is contingent on Beltre declining arbitration, but I think it’s more likely this is a pro forma thing, not wanting to announce the new guy before the old guy is even officially and happily out the door. And while it may be a little rude to Beltre to have the Figgins thing already widely known before he’s even officially made up his mind, the M’s are doing him a bit of a favor by taking Figgins off the market. There’s not a lot of need for 3Bs out there, but Beltre is now the best of the contenders.

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      • james says:

        …or even sign a 1-year deal somewhere he can improve his market value. As long as he doesn’t decline with the glove and shows the perceived offensive value he had with the dodgers, he could cash in on a bigger multi-year deal next offseason.

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  17. NEPP says:

    You don’t pay a guy $9 million per season to be “league-average”. That’s asinine in the least.

    Also, look at his career splits for Safeco and his “spectacular” .685 OPS in that stadium. 50 games and 200 PA are enough to see he probably won’t enjoy hitting there very much. His “speed” is overrated. He stole 40+ bases last year. He also got caught 17 times (29% CS). That’s barely breaking even on the basepaths.

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    • Mark says:

      You’re insane if you think 200 PA is a big enough sample size to make any conclusion on. By the way, how exactly is Figgins going to be negatively affected at Safeco? Is big slugger gonna drop from 5 home runs to 4?

      Maybe, just maybe, the problem was that Figgins had a problem against Mariner pitching, and not hitting at Safeco. He has a career 262/340/311 (651 OPS) line against Seattle, vs a 266/358/327 (685 OPS) line in Safeco.

      Like I said, I’m not going to make a solid conclusion based on what, 300-400 PA. But I don’t think Figgins problem was hitting in Safeco, so much as it was that Seattle’s pitching just owned him.

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    • Eric says:

      What do you mean you don’t pay a player $9 million to be league average? Maybe you have league average and replacement level confused?

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    • ThundaPC says:

      It always amazes me when people come to FanGraphs and say stuff like this.

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  18. NEPP says:

    There is a huge difference between “league average” and “replacement level” as any idiot can tell you. However, you still don’t pay most league average 3B $9 million a year.

    -8 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Michael says:

      Whatever you pay for league average doesn’t seem to be what GM’s pay for league average. Just curious, what would you pay for a league average player?

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      • Joser says:

        It varies a bit from year to year, but a “league average” player is about 2 WAR (remember, WAR is Wins Above Replacement). And while this also varies from year to year, teams lately have been paying about $4M per win. So you’d expect a properly-valued “league average” player to be making about $8M a year.

        This is something that confuses a lot of people because of the word “average.” In everyday colloquial usage “average” is a synonym for “mediocre.” You don’t expect an “average” anything to be especially good, and you certainly don’t expect to pay an “average” worker millions of dollars. But even replacement level MLB players are very, very good: the 750 guys on the MLB rosters are really just the tippy top of a very large pyramid, or the very outer edge of the bell curve. Anybody who is average in that group (or the much smaller group of peers at a given position) is remarkable indeed. So that skews the meaning of “league average” compared to what people think it means when they first hear it. A “league average” player is worth a lot.

        And of course salaries are non-linear as well: at one end you have all the cost-controlled (ie underpaid) guys under team control; at the other end, you have contracts like ARod’s. That skews what a “league average” player gets paid.

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    • Eric says:

      “Average” refers to ~2 WAR, not your arbitrary definition of what league average should be.

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  19. Xeifrank says:

    All the Mariners have really done at this point is replaced Adrian Beltre with Chone Figgins. Different skill sets, but a pretty even trade. If Beltre does not accept arbitration, the Mariners haven’t really gained anything, they’ve just kept the status quo at this point in time.
    vr, Xei

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    • bikozu says:

      Well, Beltre was a poor fit for Safeco Field and maybe GMZ believes Figgins’ skillset will age better. Either way, There’s a reason that he went this route instead of re-signing Beltre, and either way the team is better than it was before the signing.

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    • Sky Kalkman says:

      And saved about $7M per season.

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      • Steve says:

        they “saved” $7M compared the Beltre’s last contract.

        compared to his current market value, is there really a save between Figgins and resigning Beltre?

        not saying it was a bad move, just don’t think they really “saved” all that much.

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      • Xeifrank says:

        You can’t say they saved $7M as Beltre has NOT signed a FA contract yet. Chances are you are looking at < $2M per year at most!
        vr, Xei

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    • ThundaPC says:

      Mariners gain more flexibility as Chone Figgins can play multiple positions besides 3B going forward. Jose Lopez’s future as a Mariner 2B is diminishing further. Jack Wilson (SS) only has a two-year contract. LF isn’t a lock. We still have Matt Tuiasosopo as a 3B option (or even Carlos Triunfel?).

      Assuming Figgins doesn’t completely collapse and break both of his legs right out of the gate we gain a lot of flexibility over the next four years and at worst he becomes a backup utility player.

      Not bad.

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  20. NEPP says:

    The Mariners will definitely have a better team this year as a result of having Figgins instead of Beltre. Of course, if Beltre were to accept arbitration, they would have to move Figgins to LF most likely and have an even better team…albeit a costly one. He’s running out of time to accept though and as a Boras client, its doubtful he would even consider it.

    The Phillies will regret signing Polanco over Figgins or Beltre.

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  21. ElToroStrikesAgain says:

    awesome/hilarious to come back and read this

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