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Chone Figgins will serve as Mariners third baseman, leadoff hitter

Feb 21, 2012, 3:12 PM EDT

Chone Figgins AP

UPDATE: Eric Wedge confirmed the news today, stating that the Mariners would move Ichiro into the third spot in the order and try Figgins at leadoff. Check back later for the Mariners edition of “Running down the rosters” for a guess at the full lineup.

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And why shouldn’t he be? He hit .188 last year.

Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times believes the Mariners will soon name Figgins their leadoff man, with Ichiro Suzuki moving down in the order. The Ichiro move is something that’s been hinted at all winter, and FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal recently indicated that Figgins was the likely replacement.

Figgins’ position in the field won’t be quite as set, but he’s not so concerned about that, as long as he’s penciled in regularly.

“Like I told them ‘I’m going to be ready for wherever you play me in the lineup, as long as you play me every day’,” he told the Times. “That’s something I care about.”

It’s hard to believe Figgins has the gumption to make such a statement, as terrible as he’s been in his two years with the Mariners. He went from hitting .298/.395/.394 in his final year with the Angels to .259/.340/.306 in 2010 and .188/.241/.243 last year. By any measure, he rated as one of baseball’s worst players last season, and he collected $9 million in the process. The Mariners owe him another $17 million over the next two years.

Obviously, the Mariners’ decision to restore him to everyday status is financially motivated. In a fair world, Kyle Seager would have every chance to beat him out for the third-base job this spring. At 34, Figgins isn’t necessarily too old to bounce back. But at this point, he should have to earn his spot, not have it handed to him along with his millions.

That doesn’t seem to be the plan at the moment, though. Figgins will see some time in the outfield this spring, but third base is where he’s expected to play most of the time. Seager may well be Triple-A bound unless he forces the Mariners to carry him as a part-timer with a big month of March.

  1. diehardcubbiefan4life - Feb 19, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    M’s fans, I’m so, so, sorry. And this coming from a longtime Cubs fan.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Feb 21, 2012 at 4:09 PM

      Me too, and I am also a longtime Cub fan, and we have Ian Stewart to put up with.

      • diehardcubbiefan4life - Feb 22, 2012 at 4:09 PM

        heyheyhey. he promised that he would triple is BA this season…………………….ok you have a point.

    • mascmen7 - Feb 25, 2012 at 12:39 AM

      Red Sox have a similar problem with Carl Crawford who said recently that not batting near top of order made him try too hard to bat better so he could be on top of order. Mind games he says state he should lead off or bat 9th so he can steal as he does not want to be the 3rd out stealing. Manager will straighten him out, Bobby Valentine as Carl is a mess at present.

  2. dondada10 - Feb 19, 2012 at 10:15 PM

    The Mets tried this once with Joe McEwing. He would lead-off every game, but would play a different position daily. And, he also sucked at hitting.

  3. brokea$$lovesmesomeme - Feb 20, 2012 at 12:08 AM

    That will produce at least 10 wins, which last year would have put them in third place. Way to go M’s

  4. dirtyharry1971 - Feb 20, 2012 at 12:25 AM

    taking ichrio out of the leadoff spot makes a lot of sense but to replace him with someone thats going to be a even worse leadoff hitter would only make sense in seattle

  5. mmason0071 - Feb 20, 2012 at 1:14 AM

    This is mostly psychology. Wedge is trying to build up Figgins’ confidence to give him the best chance to become a useful player again, since they have to pay him anyway and don’t really have any other options at third base. But if he hits .188 again, the M’s will probably dump him by June.

    • IdahoMariner - Feb 22, 2012 at 6:33 PM

      One can only hope. Because he is too old, in baseball years, to bounce back, and he has been TERRIBLE. Sigh.

  6. Old Gator - Feb 20, 2012 at 1:22 AM

    Looks like another year in the horse latitudes for the crew of the Minnow.

    • nworca - Feb 20, 2012 at 2:40 AM

      Giving this particular nutcase what he wants…it may just work out. Little “Shawn (sic)” used to kill the Mariners when he was an Angel. who knows?

  7. cup0pizza - Feb 20, 2012 at 8:00 AM

    The M’s will continue to be cellar dwellers for seasons and seasons to come based on awful choices they’ve made such as this. But the worst play-by-play guy in sports (Dave Sims) will act all giddy at the slightest provocation in a transparent effort to excite any unfortunate fans that may remain for this moribund franchise.

  8. foreverchipper10 - Feb 20, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    It is hard to believe how far he fell off when he left the Angels. He stayed in the same division and therefore saw most of the same pitchers and even played in the same parks. I can’t wrap my head around how he fell this far.

  9. nothimagain - Feb 21, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    Is Seattle the only team that shamelessly prefers overpriced non-talent to young-guy-making-minimum who couldn’t possibly do any worse?

  10. farvite - Feb 21, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    Figgins and Ichiro should be moved…. Out of town.

  11. humanexcrement - Feb 21, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    Honestly, one of the things I hate about pro sports is assigning position by contract. “We’re paying this guy a ton of money, so he’s the leadoff hitter. Either him or the other underperforming, overpaid former star.” How about this philosophy: the best players get the best spots in the batting order, and it doesn’t matter how much you’re getting paid, what your name is, or how good you used to be. How much do you want to bet A-Rod opens the season batting cleanup in New York? When someone can play your position better than you, you’ve lost it. That’s how it goes at every level in sports except MLB, apparently.

    • El Bravo - Feb 21, 2012 at 4:10 PM

      Screw you, man.

      Sincerely,
      Adam Dunn

  12. icanspeel - Feb 21, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    New year, new optimism for a lot of players, but that can change fairly quickly once they start actually playing.

  13. AlohaMrHand - Feb 21, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    Sad when your franchise player is a self absorbed singles hitter who doesn’t speak a word of English.

  14. nothimagain - Feb 21, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    Ichiro is fluent in English. Most don’t know this because he’s a prick.

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