Chone Figgins has been benched after going 5 for 45, dropping his average to .189. He will now sit on the bench reading the help wanted ads while waiting for an occasional Sunday start, fill in for an injured player, or pinch run. Justin Smoak should join him soon.
Figgins, who hit .291 in eight years with the Angels, has hit .231 with Seattle, including .188 last year. The mystery of how a hitter suddenly stops hitting could only be solved if Sherlock Holmes was a batting coach.
Smoak in 177 Mariner games has a .227 average and this season is batting .183. Wedge could no longer afford to keep Figgins in the lineup, especially as a leadoff hitter. Smoak should see the Figgins benching as a wakeup call, otherwise he will join Figgins by the water cooler.
The Mariners would be better served with Kyle Seager playing third, Alex Liddi at first base, with Mike Carp and Casper Wells in left. Even when Olivo comes off the DL, Montero and Jaso should split catching duties.
If the Mariners want to build a team of young guys, then they must play them as much as possible. As long as the team keeps losing, then lose with young players. It is the only way to find out who can play and who can’t play. Smoak has had the opportunity and has done nothing with it.
In the last five Mariner losses they have been outscored by only six runs.They have been in every game thanks to their starting pitching. The defense has let them down at times, and certainly the bullpen has. But scoring runs eases those problems. Benching Figgins is a start. Smoak should be next.