Several months ago my dad and I were driving back from eastern Washington and were having our typical discussions (debates really) about sports and politics and business and whatever we came across, until we came across the wind turbines that are just east of Ellensburg along I-90. First off, I’d like to point out an interesting point from Ellensburg’s official website:
The turbines are placed on the high open ridge tops of Whiskey Dick Mountain
What a fantastic name for a mountain. Maybe that’s why the ridges are so shor… never mind. I’ll let you guys make the jokes.
Anyways, the point is that they are large pieces of machinery, and if you are a man and can drive by a bulldozer without craning your head, then you are not a man. We dig this shit. I don’t know why.
So we started talking about them, and as it turns out the old man knows a guy that works for Puget Sound Energy, and told me that while these turbines are good for the environment, one of their flaws is that they are required to have redundancies on the power grid that are often run on fossil fuel. So the exact toxic energy source that these turbines are designed to alleviate is required to cover for one of these turbines if they mess up somehow. Kind of interesting, if you asked me, and by clicking on whatever link you did to get here or typing this URL, you asked me.
That’s a long, imperfect, and extended metaphor for Chone Figgins. Mainly imperfect because a wind turbine may be able to out OPS Figgins at this point.
But that’s the big story. Miguel Olivo came back. Chone Figgins didn’t get cut. That’s the first time I remember being super disappointed that a guy didn’t get cut. But Figgins is terrible. He’s got negative value. Any notion at this point that Figgins will regain any semblance of his old value is a fallacy, and he’s not playing for the Mariners. Figgins has only 16 plate appearances in May.
So what could the Mariners possibly be thinking that leads them to believe that Figgins still has value? Well who knows? I mean these are the same jackasses who oppose the new basketball arena because it may cause traffic issues during a season that almost completely misses baseball season. They’re the same guys that made the Mariners hold on to Miguel Batista for too long, Carlos Silva, Milton Bradley, Richie Sexson, Bill Bavasi. Why would that change now?
Obviously one of the contributing factors to the Mariners decision was the money they’ll have to pay Figgins no matter what. And while I understand I don’t have to pay it, the Mariners brass are successful business men, they should understand salvage value. They should understand that Figgins has none, and that his value has depreciated much faster than they’d anticipated. Figgins has barely played in the last month and he’s worth nearly a full negative win. It’s time for the Mariners to take a big bath on Figgins and just cut their losses, literally in this case.
I was on board with the Figgins signing. I thought it was a great move to replace Adrian Beltre, and I figured it may be an incremental improvement on Beltre at the plate. Figgins didn’t figure to be affected by Safeco Field. He was a very good defensive third baseman also.
It didn’t work out. It reflects on Jack Zduriencik, sure, and it reflects and several other brilliant baseball minds that signed off on the deal as a slam dunk success. But it has failed. I doubt it is Zduriencik making the call to keep Figgins at this point, though.
Figgins is third string at every position he’s a viable candidate at. Alex Liddi backs up Kyle Seager at third, and is a natural platoon partner. Munenori Kawasaki can be a defensive replacement at all of the infield positions besides first base. Liddi can play a bad outfield as well as Figgins did too. And again, he’s a natural platoon partner with Mike Carp. And Figgins in center field? Give me a break. I respect the Mariners for giving that a shot, but he’s not good in the outfield, and especially not centerfield. This is beginning to smack of Willie Bloomquist, and that’s a bad sign.
Figgins is a redundant piece to a puzzle that is missing some pieces. In fact, he’s the second duplicate to that puzzle. And the dog found the extra puzzle piece that is Figgins and chewed on it a bit, and now he won’t even fit in with the other pieces of this puzzle. He may be better defensively at some positions than some of the Mariners bench players, but he isn’t playing, which makes his abilities irrelevant to his value. He’s been terrible for going on three years. He’s sabotaged his own value, and there is no way he’s going to rehab his value on the bench, and he hasn’t shown any ability to produce value while he’s playing to this point.
And that Casper Wells was the fall guy is terrible. He’s the only real backup center fielder on the roster besides Ichiro, who passive-aggressively fought his way out of the position earlier in his career, and again, Wells is a natural platoon partner with Michael Saunders.
I’m not one of these guys that thinks Casper Wells should be getting 500 plate appearances for the Mariners either. He’s a quintessential fourth outfielder. He won’t hit righties, and he can play every outfield position. The Mariners have three left handed outfielders starting for them. They now have their fifth outfielder, their 25th man, as a really bad late-inning defensive replacement.
I’m also not a guy who thought that Casper Wells’ success was vital to a successful Doug Fister trade. I think Francisco Martinez is a very good prospect. I think Chance Ruffin is a very good prospect. I do think that Casper Wells has some value to any team though, as long as the team’s investment in him is controlled. One of the ways that such an investment can be controlled is through minor league options.
I don’t really think at this point that the plight of Casper Wells is worthy of a study to find out the dollar value of a minor league option, but I can assure you that the value of a minor league option is greater than zero dollars, and I can assure you that the value of Chone Figgins on the Mariners roster is not.