Chone Figgins Speaks Up

Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

The end of a season like this is a time of relief, as players no longer have to worry so much about the day-to-day regular season routine. Players will talk about how much they're looking forward to going home and spending time with their families. Players will talk about how much they're looking forward to working hard in the winter to make the next year more of a success. Players will talk about how much they're looking forward to traveling and gaining new experiences. And sometimes players will talk about how much they're looking forward to getting the fuck out of here.

Nice to hear from you, Chone Figgins!

I'm not gonna lie, my first response was not "neither can I." My first response was "either Chone Figgins has forgotten how long his contract is or he seriously thinks his option is going to vest." Figgins' option vests with 600 plate appearances next season. That would be a nightmare for us, and, apparently, that would be a nightmare for Chone Figgins, too.

I don't actually intend to make this snarky. The fact of the matter is, consider Chone Figgins, and consider what he's probably like. Consider how you responded when you first read that tweet up there, whether that was a minute ago or hours ago. Such viciousness, probably, such disdain. That's what Chone Figgins has to put up with. Not when he's in the clubhouse, with his teammates, but when he's batting, or when he's online, or when they talk about him on the radio, or whatever. People are over Chone Figgins, they're mad at Chone Figgins, and he doesn't have an escape. Among the guys who probably live real good lives, Figgins has to live a pretty upsetting life.

He knows, and we know, that it doesn't have to be this way. We'd all love Chone Figgins if he played for the Mariners and was good, even in 2013. If he played like the Chone Figgins he was supposed to be when he signed here, he might even be a fan favorite. I can't imagine that any player can ever be too far gone, completely irredeemable. A lot of Mariners fans were ready to welcome Milton Bradley. Barry Zito just finished a full season 15-8. If Figgins could just play, and if Figgins could just perform, we'd be happy and he'd be happy.

But Figgins isn't going to play here. After May 3 he started 20 times. Here are Chone Figgins' 2012 starts by month:

April: 22 starts
May: 7
June: 6
July: 4
August: 4
Sep/Oct:
1

After April, Chone Figgins started 22 times and Munenori Kawasaki started 22 times, and Munenori Kawasaki isn't even a real baseball player. Figgins didn't play after the first month in 2012 and there's no reason for him to believe he'd play in 2013 were he to remain on the Mariners' roster. So he'd have to go through another year of being either completely loathed or completely forgotten, or alternating, and who would want that? Who would ever want that for themselves?

Chone Figgins probably believes he's still got some gas left in the tank, and if we're going to be honest, he probably doesn't, at least not enough to be a valuable player. But he knows he'd have a miserable 2013 in Seattle, and he doesn't know that about other places. It's practically guaranteed here. It's not guaranteed not-here. Figgins is nearing the end of the line and he just wants to be in a better situation because his present situation is absolute shit.

Not that it always seems like it to the naked eye:

Clip0220

That right there, that's been Chone Figgins' role on the team for months. He's been hanging out at the end of the dugout and shooting the shit with teammates, or staring motionless at the field. You could say that might be the best job in baseball, getting paid millions to do almost literally nothing at all, but that's not actually fulfilling and people, all people, want to feel fulfilled. Chone Figgins makes money, but he never feels valued, because he's presumably not valued, by anyone but his family and friends.

This all needs to end. I give credit to Figgins for not becoming a distraction, at least publicly, and I figured this was the offseason he'd finally be dropped. Now you'd think the odds of that are even higher, as Figgins has publicly aired his grievances. The Mariners are trying to build something and they can't allow Figgins to use up a roster spot. They stopped using him in 2012 and there's no squeezing value out of that contract. Figgins should be cut and allowed to pursue whatever other opportunities might be out there for him. Some front office would squint and see a guy who might've just been trapped in a bad situation, and who could bounce back with a change of scenery.

I remember when the Oakland A's wanted to trade for Chone Figgins, and the Mariners were all "nawww". That looks worse now, on both sides, than it did at the time, but let it not be said the Mariners haven't had chances to remove Chone Figgins. They haven't seized any of them, but they ought to seize this one. It's just a total no-brainer. They say, if you love something, you should set it free, and if it comes back, it's yours. The Mariners should set Chone Figgins free, and lock the door just in case.

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