Chone Figgins said in an interview last week he wants out of Seattle. If he is having as much trouble leaving as he did getting hits, there are plenty of Mariner fans who will gladly show him the southbound lanes of I5.
In his first year with the Mariners Figgins hit a meager .259, far below his career average as well as fans expectations. In 2011 he hit .188 and in 2012 .181. If hitting below .200 was below the Mendoza line, then hitting below .190 is hitting below the Figgins line. There are many pitchers who hit better than Chone.
It has been a waste of money, one of the worst Mariner free agent signings in their mediocre history. And he is still owed around $15 million. I never liked the signing for two reasons. He is the same type of hitter that Ichiro was. A singles hitter. Having them bat one-two in the order was proposed because they both had speed. But Chone never liked batting number two, he was a leadoff hitter-at least in his mind. He was given that chance this season and he failed. The second reason is that he was moved from 2nd base to 3rd base, a position that is a power position and Figgins has no power. He is-or was-a 2nd baseman, leadoff hitter. He did not fit with Seattle.
When asked the other day about Figgin comments regarding his wanting out of Seattle, Jack Zduriencik, Seattle’s general manager, said, “that was not a smart thing to say.” I disagree. He should let everyone know his feelings, so the front office can be nudged to part ways with this lost cause.
Mariner fans want Figgins gone, and sooner, the better. Greenland would be a nice place. I have flown over that delightful place. It is a icy as Figgins character. Rumors are surfacing about Chone’s attitude, his personality, and that he is a cancer in the clubhouse. Whether true or not does not matter. The bottom line is Figgins must go.
Figgins is like that guy by the freeway exit with a sign asking for help. In Figgins case his sign reads: Out of hits. Please help. Anything will do.
The difference is that Chone has $15 million. But I will still pay his bus fare out of town. Or even the ferry.
Whether right or wrong, there is a longstanding believe that a lineup should have power at corner positions, those being left and right field and first and third base.
Since Ichiro foregos power for average, the lineup needs power from another position, but they don’t have it at short, catcher, or second, though Olivo has hit some home runs and Ackley has shown some pop in his bat.
No, not this type of power hitter.
But they have no power in left field, in fact that has been the Mariners black hole since they began play in 1977. Other than Phil Bradley, the Mariners have not had a strong left fielder.
Justin Smoak was to fill the power bill at first and he got off to a good start, but a thumb injury saw him go into a severe slump, so the jury is out on Smoak.
Carp has been playing a lot at first and has showed power, but third base with Figgins, when healthy, is another Ichiro type of hitter, a slap hitter with no power.
These guys are too small
Not that corner positions all need to hit thirty plus homers, but those are the spots that tradition holds a winning team gets run production from.
The Mariners have too many slap hitters. They need gap hitters with power and those needs should be addressed in the off season. Getting a journeyman DH will not solve the problem, certainly not a Jack Cust type.
Casper Wells has shown power of late and might be a fit for left field, but do the Mariners want him there more than Treyvon Robinson?
These guys are more like it.
The lineup is definetely off kilter and needs to be balanced. It should be an interesting off season.
Prior to Thursday’s game with Toronto, Mariner’s manager Eric Wedge said he was going with veterans, that “only veterans can get us out of this slide” meaning of course an eleven game losing streak.
But it is veterans who have gotten the Mariners in the slide to begin with. Ichiro .260 and .212 in last 30 days; Figgins .184 and .107 in last thirty; Olivo .216 and .169 in last thirty; Gutierrez .181 and .175 in last thirty.
The only two changes of note in the lineup were Figgins playing in left field and Jack Wilson at second. Wedge said he was going with veterans to snap the losing streak, but it may have more to do with showcasing Figgins and Wilson for teams looking to add veterans for the stretch. Not that the Mariners would get much, but Wilson is not part of the Mariner’s future and Figgins needs a change of scenery, as he has been a bust.
Today down 5-1, veteran Miguel Olivo belted the Mariners first grand salami of the season to tie game 5-5 in the 8th, but in the bottom half of the inning veteran Dave Pauley gave up two runs and Mariners lose again 7-5.
The Mariners offense came alive in Toronto, scoring 16 runs, but losing all three games, 6-5, 11-6, and 7-5. The bats warmed up, but the pitching deep-sixed.
It will be interesting if Wedge keeps Wilson and Figgins in the lineup when they head to Boston for a weekend season..More showcasing or more shake ups. Either way the Mariners have a chance to make history. They have lost 12 straight, two away from the team record of 14. If the Red Sox sweep them- a likely event-then a new record will be set with a chance to add-on when they go to New York Monday.
Time for the kids to play
The season is lost as far as any post season, so cheer on the team to set a new record in futility. Then hope they make some trades for decent prospects or at least warmer bodies, then let the kids play themselves into or out of jobs for next season.
The Mariners are bailing water to no avail as the good ship they had been sailing on is sinking. The three-day All-star break did nothing to wake up their bats as they were shutout on five hits to the gun slinging Rangers.
It is bad enough the Mariners have lost six in a row, but they have all been to division rivals, the teams they need to beat. They have also lost 10 of the last 14.
Just when the summer is heating up (in theory), just when families and kids have time for baseball games, the good ship Mariner may not stay afloat and the brass may be worried the fans will be standing on the beach waving bye-bye. Afterall it was Friday night against the first place Rangers and 25, 977 showed up for a summer game. It should have been a near sell-out.
Are the Mariners done?
They are stuck in third, 8.5 games behind Texas and 7 behind the second place Angels. Their skid has put them only 4 ahead of the last place A’s. If they win three straight from Texas they still are in the race, but that is unlikely to happen.
So what is next? After the crying I mean.
They can still make a trade or two that would improve the team for next season. Other than that they need to continue playing the kids like Ackley, Seager, Halman, Peguero, and anyone else they believe is their future. They need playing time to improve, to adjust, to gain experience.
Additionally, Jack Cust, the slugger with three home runs should be released; Chone Figgins should be traded for a bucket of balls; and Jack Wilson, an excellent shortstop who can play second, but is odd man out with Ackley at second base, still has trade value and is likely to be traded.
There is no crying in baseball
I have no doubt Trader Jack will do something if he can, but it is probably too late to make any changes that will improve the club enough for them to get back in the race this year.
Kyle Seager has been promoted to Seattle and most likely will get playing time at third. Chone Figgins is hitting .183 and making frequent errors in the field.
Kyle looks happy to be a Mariner
If Seager doe swell Figgins may walk the plank. Kyle was a teammate of Dustin Ackley at North Carolina and both were drafted in 2009; Ackley in the first round, Seager in the third.
At Double A Jackson he hit .312 with 25 doubles, 4 homers and 37 rbi’s. He was promoted to Tacoma and in 12 games hit .455 with 2 homers, 4 doubles, and 12 RBIS.
The Mariners could have promoted Alex Liddi, but they may feel Seager is another piece of the future. Ackley at second; Seager at third; Peguero on left, and Halman in center. Or Peguero at DH and Halman in left.
Gutierrez missed spring training with mystery stomach problems. The ailment was resolved and he has had enough time to get back in the swing of things. But the swing is missing. I love the way he plays, but a .180 batting average is only good for bowling-and even that is problematic. If the team was hitting .265 or so Seattle could get by, but with the worst team hitting in baseball, they need bat’s with hits in those swings. And Halman is hitting over .300.
He may be struggling with the bat, but not with his glove
Fortunately Jack Cust has been sitting. Again. The last time he got back in the lineup he had two hits and then went back to striking out. In his last ten games, 23 at bats and 13 strikeouts. There are 108 red stitches on a baseball. One would think Cust could hit one of those stitches.
The odd man with Seager’s arrival is sadly Jose Yepez, who was here for insurance for Bard and Olivo. The thirty year old did not get an at bat, but at good seats for ten days. He was designated for assignment, so if no other team is interested he could return to Tacoma.
In the AL West anyone has the chance to win the division. Unless a trade is made, the kids may carry the team. The way Ackley, Pineda, and Halman have played. as well as Peguero at times, Seager may fit in quite well.
The Mariners discovered another started in 22-year-old Blake Beavan who made his major league debut Sunday beating San Diego 3-1.
Mariner starters have gone 45 games pitching at least seven innings, 2nd in the major leagues. Beavan made it 46. In seven innings, he allowed three hits, two walks, and struck out four, giving up the one run.
He along with Justin Smoak and Josh Lueke came over from Texas in the Cliff Lee trade, one that looks good so far.
The question is what the Mariners do when Bedard comes off the DL. Much depends on what Beavan does in his next start or two. But the Mariners desperately need a bat and a pitcher may be dangled as trade bait to some contender.
It is possible that Bedard may be traded if Beavan shows he is for real.
The lineup today is one which Wedge should use more. Halman in left, Peguero at DH, with Figgins and Cust sitting. Halman is hitting .341 and his bat is needed in the lineup. Peguero is hitting only .206 but has more home run potential than Cust.
Pineda, Beavan, Halman, Peguero, and Ackley are five rookies making big contributions to the good ship Mariner. The future looks good and gives Mariner fans people to get excited about.
Brandon League got his league leading 22nd save. He had only one bad week all season and the players voted him to the all-start team. He will join felix, though if the King pitches next Sunday as scheduled, he will be disqualified as starters pitching the Sunday before Tuesday’s game are ineligible. That might open a spot for Pineda.
The Mariners took five of six from the Padres and now go to Oakland and Los Angeles before the All-Star break and need to take care of business in their own division.
The good ship Mariner leaves port in good shape. With some offense, it will come back still seaworthy.
Okay the Mariners lost another game to the Braves, dropping two games under .500. So we will bypass all that went wrong.
What is of interest is the return of Jack Cust to the lineup after sitting down to ride the pines on the deck of the good ship Mariner. He had gone 3 for his last 30, looking totally lost at the plate before returning tonight. He had a double and homer in his first two at bats.
Cust looking at home plate, “So this is what it looks like.”
Eric Wedge seems to know when to sit players and when to bring them back. He sat Ichiro for one game and then Ichiro came back hotter than Michelle Bachman in Waterloo, Iowa.
Now Cust comes back strong-at least for one game.
That brings up Chone Figgins who is sitting because a .186 batting average is as cold as President Obama in Waterloo, Iowa. When he comes back is anyones guess. Kennedy will play third for now, playing four or five games a week. So it has been said.
Alex Liddi is waiting in the wings. he is hitting .260 with 14 homers in Tacoma. If he arrives in Seattle he will be the first Italian born player in the Majors since 1953 and Reno Bertoia of Detroit.
I will always remember Reno because one year it seemed every pack of bubble gum cards I bought had Reno Bertioa. I think I had every Bertoia card on the West Coast.
The Bertoia card I got was from a different year with red background.
But he is unlikely to come up because some one will have to move down. Maybe Carp, but it seems the Mariners are unlikely to make any big moves soon. They have already brought up Peguero, Carp, and Halman. And Kennedy is playing the position well. But stay tuned for what could transpire in July.
The Mariners team batting average dropped down even more, checking in at .227 prior to Tuesday nights game. Trader Jack will be doing something, whether it be Liddi or a trade, but the hitting needs a spark from somebody.