Seattle looks to be adding third baseman Chone Figgins to the fold. Figgins, who had his best season with the Angels in 2009 – a .395 OBP and .298 Batting Average with decent stolen base numbers – would likely bat on either side of Ichiro Suzuki at the the top of the Mariner lineup. FoxSports and SI are reporting a 4-year, $36 million deal with a $9 million option for a fifth season.
This means, of course, that Adrian Beltre will become a free agent. The Mariners offered Beltre arbitration, but it would appear that Beltre will decline it and test the market. Beltre really slipped offensively last year ( 8 – 44 – .265 – 19 walks in 111 games), though he still has as much range as any third baseman in the AL. If Beltre doesn’t hit for any power, Figgins will generate a lot more offense. Defensively, however, I show Beltre (and his replacements) to have made about 11.26 plays more than the average third basemen per 800 balls in play – and Figgins is that average third baseman (.30 better than average).
So, let’s figure this out. Last year, Figgins generated about 100 runs of offense to Beltre’s 53. Of course, Figgins played the whole year while Beltre missed about 50 games (and his backups weren’t much better), so the net difference is probably closer to 30 runs improvement on offense. By my defensive rating system, the Seattle’s third basemen likely prevented an additional 58 hits – equal to about 32 runs. (My system says that for every eight hits saved, the fielder saves his team about 4.38 runs, which is how I get to that number…) So – the net change, assuming Figgins plays a full season again is, well – no change. For every extra run scored, the defense will give one back. Figgins will make less money than Beltre (just finished a five year, $64 million deal) – so that has to be worth something, right? The Mariners will see the same overall production and save about $3 or $4 million in salary.
I like that deal.
Other Hot Stove News…
The Dodgers signed reliever Justin Miller to a minor league deal. Miller was successful with San Francisco last year, a 3.18 ERA in 44 games. They also signed minor league outfielder Prentice Redman to a minor league deal. Redman has a little power, but at best can be described as “organizational depth”. [MLB]
Greg Zaun will be around another year – maybe two. The Brewers inked the veteran backstop to a one-year $2.25 million deal with a club option for 2011. [FoxSports]
Texas claimed Toronto infielder Joe Inglett off waivers, bringing in a younger utility infielder than last year’s option – Omar Vizquel. [Fox Sports]
Two who didn’t sign were Brad Penny and Juan Uribe of the Giants. Each were given one-year deal (Penny got incentives, Uribe a club option), but the players turned down the offers. [SI]
What? The Yankees are going to slash their salary budget? That’s what ESPN reports…
One of my favorite players – and someone who I think SHOULD have had a Hall of Fame career except that injuries continually derailed his career – is Cliff Floyd – and Floyd turns 37 today.
Others celebrating with cake, cards, or remembrances include: Patsy Tebeau (1864) – a player and manager during the early days of baseball, Giants catcher Frank Bowerman (1868), Emerson “Pink” Hawley (1872), a Pittsburgh area pitcher who crosses Rube Waddell’s path a couple of times, Gus Mancuso (1905),David “Boo” Ferris (1921), Bill Rodgers (1922), Chico Ruiz (1938), Gary Roenicke (1954), Sammy Khalifa (1963), and Gene Harris (1964).
Sammy Sosa did not attend a hearing in a court case where he allegedly owes more than $200K in unpaid services. [ESPN]
Speaking of steroids, four minor leaguers were given suspensions for the abuse of substances – three were steroids, while the fourth was labeled “a drug of abuse” – which could be anything, really. No need to name names, unless you want to read the article. [MLB]