By John Boyle
After three dreadful seasons, the inevitable happened Tuesday night when the Mariners designated Chone Figgins for assigment, meaning if they can’t trade him in the next 10 days (not happening) he will be released.
Figgins, who signed a 4-year, $36 million contract three years ago, turned into one of the biggest free agent flops in franchise history. He hit just .227 in three seasons, and got worse each year. Figgins was given a final shot to find the 2009 form he had in Anaheim, starting the 2012 season as Seattle’s leadoff hitter, but like the rest of his time in Seattle, that didn’t work out for Figgins. By the end of the season, Figgins was little more than a highly paid bench warmer, so it seemed only a matter of time before the Mariners would decide to eat the final year of his contract at part ways with Figgins, who is still due $8 million in 2013.
Major League Baseball teams had to establish 40-man rosters today, which was the impetus for finally making the move.
“I spoke to Chone just a little while ago and wished him the very best,” Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said on a conference call. “He was very gracious, said that he was really appreciative of his time here in Seattle. Unfortunately it didn’t work out the way he thought it would work out or that we thought it would work out. He understands it’s time to turn the page and move forward. We wish him the very best and certainly hope that he’ll land with somebody else and it works out better for him.
“It was just one of those things, at the time of the signing, it looked like it was going to be the right thing for all of us. He was excited about coming here, we thought it would be an interesting dimension with him and Ichiro, but it just never worked out. Sometimes you just don’t know why. It just didn’t work out, and as a result, you have to make a decision and move on. We did that today.”
Zduriencik said this move has been discussed internally for a while, and that today’s deadline is what led to it finally happening.
“These decisions are driven by what a player does on the field, then also when you get to the point where you realize that he may no longer be part of this ballclub going forward, you have to make decisions with the 40-man roster with players being added on,” he said. “He just became an expendable piece, that’s just it. That’s the end of the story.”