How Chone Figgins Plays Out

Because of his struggles, Chone Figgins was given a day off last Friday. He returned to go 0-for-5. Dropped to eighth in the lineup yesterday, Figgins responded by having maybe his worst overall game of the season, and now word's out that Figgins is going to sit for a few days in a row to get something of a mental break. I don't know if he'll be considered available off the bench, but he won't be starting, and Luis Rodriguez will man the hot corner instead.

It's been a nightmare. Obviously. Figgins is 0 for his last 22. He's batting .190. His OBP is .232. His slugging percentage is .256. As much as we complained about Figgins a year ago, that Figgins still reached base more than a third of the time, and so far in 2011 he's cut his OPS+ in half. There are a lot of things that one intends to cut in half - bread, tomatoes, logs, villains - but OPS+ is not one of them, and Figgins has been the worst qualified hitter in baseball.

Subjected to analysis, it's hard to figure out why Figgins has gotten this bad. It really is as simple as: he's not hitting. Figgins has said as much when pressed on the subject, and while his contact rate is at a career best, the balls in play just aren't going anywhere. When Figgins bats, I anticipate poor contact, and when he flies out to an outfielder playing shallow, I wonder why the outfielder wasn't playing shallower still. It feels like there is so little risk of Figgins hitting the ball over anyone's head.

Yet because the Mariners are short on quality third base options, and because Figgins is still under contract for another $23 million or so through 2013, one figures he's going to get every opportunity to play himself out of this. It's the sensible thing to do. Figgins may not play every game the rest of the season, but I imagine he'll play many of them, or most of them. And given that, I'm curious as to how the community thinks he'll perform over the remainder.

ZiPS projects Figgins for a .247/.329/.304 batting line from now through the end of the year, good for a .633 OPS. ZiPS, of course, only considers Figgins' recent numbers, and has no idea how he actually looks at the plate. So I'm wondering what you think, having watched Figgins with your eyes. Does that observation make a difference?

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