By Shannon Drayer
At the time it all made sense. He would complement Ichiro. Double leadoff hitters! Chaos on the basepaths. It went from a sure thing to an experiment to an expensive weight at the end of the bench, and now it is over.
The Mariners have designated Chone Figgins for assignment.
"I spoke to Chone and wished him the very best," general manager Jack Zduriencik said during a conference call with the media after the move was announced Tuesday.
"He was very gracious and appreciative of his time in Seattle. Unfortunately it didn't work out the way that he thought it would work out or how we thought it would work out, but he understands it is time to turn the page and move forward."
With the final 40-man rosters due before 9 p.m. Tuesday, the Mariners could no longer afford the roster spot. It was hard to see how he could provide any value for the team last year, be it in trade or on the field. There were talks with other clubs about moving Figgins but nothing materialized.
"There was some curiosity," Zduriencik said, "but we didn't have anyone say they would take him off [their hands], otherwise we wouldn't have gotten to this point."
Last season Figgins wasn't blocking anyone so an argument could be made that the team might as well hold onto him as a 25th man.
This has changed. Perhaps his position will be filled by a versatile player from the minor leagues. His position could also be filled via trade or free agency with a player who has big league experience. Either way the roster spot was needed to protect a player the Mariners could need in the future. Chone Figgins is obviously not a part of the future so with one year remaining on his contract he is a now a very well paid ex-Mariner.
Figgins never approached the success he had in Anaheim. In three years with the Mariners he played in 308 games and hit .227/.302/.283/.585. Various managers tried to get his bat going by moving him around in the order with no luck. He was given every opportunity and then some but nothing ever clicked. If he has anything left it will be up to another team to find it.
Figgins, for his part, went about his business of staying prepared for games he most likely would not play in. The dustup in the dugout with Don Wakamatsu aside, he mostly kept quiet about his situation. On the final day of the season, however, he told John Hickey of Sportspress Northwest, "I can't take two more years of this."
A little optimistic on his part that he would accumulate the needed at bats for his 2014 option to vest, but not surprising that he would want out.
This no doubt is best for everyone involved.
Newly acquired outfielder Scout Cousins was also DFA'd as Zduriencik looked to protect more players in the Rule 5 Draft.
Added to the 40-man roster were: INF Vinnie Catricala, LHP Anthony Fernandez, LHP Bobby LaFomboise, RHP Brandon Maurer and OF Julio Morban.
With these additions the 40-man roster is now full.