Here’s some follow-up on my report this morning that the A’s are interested in trading for Seattle third baseman Chone Figgins. Oakland assistant GM David Forst wouldn’t comment on any potential trade, but did offer: “We’ve got a long time until Opening Day. There’s always room for improvement. We’ve proven in the past we’re willing to do things up until spring training, and into spring training.”
I see plusses and minuses on this move from Oakland’s side, but I could see the thinking in pulling the trigger …
Figgins is considered a very good defender at third base and would fit in with the A’s emphasis on sound defense (quote from Bob Geren yesterday: “The best thing we did this winter was we didn’t sacrifice any defense to improve our offense.”) The A’s want to stay solid with the glove all around the diamond.
Figgins also could add the speed and base-stealing component that the A’s lost when they dealt Rajai Davis. Coco Crisp and Cliff Pennington help in that area as well, but Davis was the main catalyst in wreaking havoc on the bases. I would think the A’s might cut back on the base-stealing a bit with the additions of some big hitters in the middle of the lineup. But Figgins would still add a nice dynamic. He’s a good base runner in general, and the A’s emphasize aggressiveness on the bases (taking the extra base, advancing on passed balls, etc.).
A drawback to the deal: Figgins’ contract. He’s owed $26 million on a contract that runs through 2013, and he has a vesting option for $9 million in 2014 that’s guaranteed if he reaches 600 plate apperances in 2013. That’s a big financial commitment (Figgins is 33, so his age is a consideration over the length of this deal, too). And Figgins is coming off a down year in 2010 — .259, 1 HR, 35 RBIs, though he added 42 stolen bases. He played second base last season, but the Mariners have planned to move him back to third, and there’s thought that could help him rebound.
I’m hearing the A’s would send third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff and perhaps a pitcher to the Mariners in a potential deal. Kouzmanoff makes sense obviously — third baseman for third baseman — and it’s no secret the A’s have explored their options at third this winter. Kouzmanoff makes $4.75 million this season, so the A’s would be unloading a bit of salary. As for the pitcher? It makes sense the A’s could deal from their loaded bullpen, but perhaps a minor league arm would suffice along with Kouzmanoff. And I have to think the A’s would demand Seattle send some cash their way to help offset Figgins’ contract.
This has been an interesting team to cover this offseason, to say the least …
Any thoughts on this potential deal?