The Chicago Cubs may have dodged a bullet. Yes, I’m comparing the failure to sign a quality player like Chone Figgins to avoiding being shot. Figgins is about to get 4 years and $36 million (with another $9 option year) from the Seattle Mariners, which sounds about right given all the hype. The Cubs were rumored to be looking at Figgins a few weeks ago, but those rumors tapered off. And now Figgins is set to be a Mariner, for big cash.
But is Figgins really worth it? I think some facts get lost in the hype…
Yes, Figgins can play average to above average defense at several positions – but did you know he has played just 13 games outside of 3rd base in the last two years? Add in another year, and it’s just 44 in three years. That means over the last three years, and in stark contrast, he’s played 358 games at third base.
Yes, Figgins gets on base, and sports a very nice career .363 OBP – but did you know that his career OPS is just .751, and his career OPS+ is 99? That’s right. As a hitter for his career, Chone Figgins is a below average hitter. And don’t think that SLG – the other half of OPS – is just about hitting home runs. It is merely reflective of a player’s ability to get extra base hits. Think doubles aren’t something you want in a leadoff hitter?
The fact is, these kind of free agent contracts – think Soriano, Fukudome, Bradley – where you outbid your competition in years and dollars for guys who are very good, but suffer from certain flaws, rarely work out for teams not named the Yankees. Why? Because crappy contracts don’t hamstring the Yankees, but they sure hamstring everyone else. Figgins would have been a nice player to have, but not for that contract. In two years, you’ll agree.