On Thursday during the Seattle Mariners' media luncheon, general manager Jack Zduriencik discussed the idea of moving Chone Figgins back to third base after he spent 2010 at second base.
“I called Chone, and said this is what we’re thinking,” Zduriencik said. “He said, ‘Give me the reasoning behind it.’ I told him why. He’s an elite defender at third base. He has a great deal of experience there. We have other middle infielders, and we think he serves us best by moving to third base. He said, ‘If it helps us win, I’m in,’ so there we go. Really, it was a very easy conversation.”
But will Figgins play third base for the Mariners?
A report by the Contra Costa (Calif.) Times on Friday said Oakland is in discussions to acquire Figgins, exchanging third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff and possibly a pitcher.
Reports say Toronto may get involved as well.
The three teams, along with Philadelphia, were part of the Cliff Lee trade last offseason.
Zduriencik will not comment on possible trades.
How serious the A’s are might be determined by how much of his contract they are willing to accept. Figgins is owed $9 million this season, $9 million in 2012 and $8 million in 2013. The deal includes a $9 million vesting option in 2014 if he has more than 600 plate appearances in 2013.
Oakland is on a list of teams Figgins has in his no-trade clause, which he would have to waive.
Kouzmanoff had a disappointing season in Oakland. He hit .247 with 16 homers and 71 RBI, and his on-base percentage was .274. He took 24 walks in 586 appearances – not what the A’s expect.
He is one of the better defensive third basemen in the American League.
Figgins is also coming off a disappointing season. He hit .259 (156-for-602) with 21 doubles, 35 RBI and 42 stolen bases. He posted a .340 on-base percentage.
“I think a lot of things tied into Chone’s year last year: his first big contract, switching organizations, switching positions, batting in a different spot in the batting order, that’s a lot,” Zduriencik said. “As he went through the season, I think he got a lot more comfortable the last two months, I think he was the player we thought he was going to be.”
Zduriencik said the Mariners will still be looking into free-agent acquisitions.
“I think it’s possible,” he said. “We do have ongoing talks with a few other players. There’s always talks with other general managers about some things that could happen. Our ears are wide open. This is a land of opportunity right now. If I’m a player, and I’m looking at the Seattle Mariners, and I’m looking at, hey, I want to re-start my career, or I’m looking at a place I could fit, this would be a good place for him to come and try.”