I learned something I didn't know before about the designated-for-assignment process. A little over a week ago, the Mariners finally designated Chone Figgins for assignment. These words are familiar to us, and we know that means the Mariners had ten days to waive Figgins, trade him, or release him. But there's also a fourth option, at least according to Wikipedia. Quote:
A player who is designated for assignment is immediately removed from the team's 40-man roster, after which the team must either:
- return the player to the 40-man roster within 10 days from the date of designation[...]
So when a player is designated for assignment, the team can either waive him, trade him, release him, or be like "whoopsadoodle, just kidding!" A player is not yet formally gone after he's been DFA'd, and there existed the possibility that the Mariners would place Figgins back on the roster, for reasons unknown but unquestionably sinister. It was a slim possibility, but it was a possibility, in that it wasn't a mathematical impossibility. The Mariners have said all along they want to add a hitter. Chone Figgins is a hitter!
After Figgins was designated for assignment, he was still technically Mariners property more than anything else. Things had changed, but the book wasn't over. At last, we've reached the last sentence. On this Wednesday, Chone Figgins has officially been released. He is a free agent. He is able to sign with anybody, in theory, including the Mariners and all of the other teams that are not the Mariners at all.
I don't know if this is true, but I'm running with it anyway because it's basically my mom's fault. My mom was a nurse (practitioner) (they get uppity if you leave that part out), and as a nurse (practitioner) she frequently dealt with sick people. She was educated in the field of sicknesses. What I remember her telling me is that coughs tend to linger, even after you're over being sick. Has to do with the cilia. Science stuff, you wouldn't understand. You can have a cold, and the cold can involve a cough, and when you're over the cold, you might still cough for another week as your body completely repairs. Otherwise you feel mostly fine. It's just that damned cough.
Suffice to say that, on some level, Chone Figgins made us all sick. While Figgins was a Mariner, we felt under the weather almost all of the time. We were excited at first, like you might be right before a tropical vacation, but sometimes tropical vacations result in tropical illnesses. We contracted an illness, and it felt like it lasted forever. It made us tired, it made us feel weak. It made us want to stay in bed and throw our alarm clocks at the wall. We might've, too, if throwing an alarm clock didn't require so much energy. Easier to just slap it and groan. We still had to go about our business while we were sick, but it made our business all the more unpleasant.
At last, Figgins was designated for assignment. At last, we started to feel better. The headaches were gone. The cold sweats were less cold, and less sweaty. Our appetites were restored. Our days could feel like normal days again, only interrupted every so often by a deep, irritating cough. We knew the cough would get better and go away shortly; still, we had to think about the cough. We had to actually cough. It cleared, but it took its time.
Now Figgins has been released. Now we wake up with a spring in our step. We put on the coffee, we drink the coffee, and not once do we cough. We wait for the cough and it just never comes. There are sneezes, occasional sneezes, but we don't mind them because they're unrelated and because sneezes are the best. Life is normal. In fact, life is better than normal, if only for a time -- having been sick, we can better appreciate the feeling of health. Soon, we'll resume taking it for granted, but for now it feels so fresh and welcome. That first day you feel like you can exercise, all you want to do is exercise.
The Mariners, in theory, could re-sign Figgins as a free agent for some reason. In theory, we could contract the same exotic illness. But the Mariners, in practice, won't re-visit the same point of disaster, and neither will we. Maybe Figgins goes elsewhere and re-discovers how to play baseball like a good player. People, certainly, will go on tropical vacations and enjoy themselves without nearly dying. But there's no reason to feel bad, no reason to feel spiteful. It's over. One should worry less about the happiness of other people, and more about the happiness of his or herself. Man, that looks really selfish when you type it out. I swear that's not what I was going for. One shouldn't hold grudges, would be better advice.
That Figgins wound up getting released means that, obviously, Figgins didn't get traded. Figgins could've been traded -- with the Mariners covering his salary -- in exchange for cash considerations or a player to be named later. For nothing, basically. It would've been a way for an interested team to land Figgins without having to grab him from free agency, when every team in baseball has an equal shot. Figgins will get a job somewhere, with someone, but the fact that he couldn't get dealt implies that even the more interested teams could take him or leave him. They'd be willing to give him a shot, but they're not going to go to any lengths to make it happen. Figgins has thus been evaluated as a replacement-level player. Which happens to be a higher bar than the one he's set for himself the last couple seasons.
The healing begins now. That's not entirely true -- the healing began to some degree when Figgins got put on the bench in early May. That's when he essentially disappeared. But only now may the healing proceed toward completion. Chone Figgins is gone. His every last belonging is gone from the apartment. We're no longer going to go our separate ways -- we're actively going our separate ways. There are probably good memories. Maybe one will occur to us someday.