You know that the 2009 season is officially over for a team when the rumors about their off-season moves begin to swirl.
For the Chicago Cubs, it’s going to center on the bats. And the first name to pop up is Los Angeles (of Anaheim, of California, in the West, near Disneyland, not Disney World) Angel third baseman / outfielder Chone Figgins.
Asked if Kosuke Fukudome would be his leadoff man in 2010, Lou Piniella replied: “It’s a possibility. I would think that we’d probably try to add more speed, but we’ll see. That’s just a conjecture, nothing more, nothing less. But if not, certainly Fukudome would be a candidate.”
Figgins, a switch-hitter who can play second, third or any outfield spot, is hitting .303 with a .399 on-base percentage and 39 stolen bases in 55 attempts. Fukudome is hitting .300 in 100 at-bats in the leadoff spot with a .413 OBP, while Ryan Theriot has a .311 OBP leading off.
“There’s no sense talking about next year yet,” Piniella said. “We’ve got 28 games to go. But speed is something [we need]. We’re last in baseball in stolen bases. That tells you a little something.” chicagotribune.com.
Figgins’ career OBP is closer to .360, but, along with his versatility, remains his greatest strength. Still, he’ll be 32 next year and will command a healthy, multi-year deal.
There would be, of course, nothing wrong with adding a guy like Figgins. But I have to take strong issue with Piniella’s “we need speed” comments. A lack of speed is not what prevented this team from matching its impressive OBP from last year. A lack of speed is not what made this the worst hitting team with runners in scoring position. A lack of speed is not what made Alfonso Soriano and Geovany Soto drop pure deuces on the season.
So, yes, Figgins would be a nice pick up. But let’s cool it with the speed, Dusty. Er. Lou.