Chone Figgins has “no regrets” over leaving Angels
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The money was greener in Seattle but the grass hasn’t been so far for Chone Figgins, who last winter spurned a three-year, $24-million offer to return to the Angels to sign a four-year, $36-million deal with the Seattle Mariners.
The Mariners have been one of baseball’s biggest flops this season, ranking last in the American League in batting average, runs and home runs. They are 52-80 and in last place in the AL West, and they have already fired Manager Don Wakamatsu. Their lineup for Wednesday night’s game against the Angels had one player--Ichiro Suzuki--who was batting better than .250.
Figgins has been a considerable drag on the lineup, batting .244 with a .332 on-base percentage, 50 runs, 16 doubles, 65 walks and 32 RBIs entering Wednesday, a huge drop-off from his 2009 season with the Angels, when he hit .298 with a .395 on-base percentage, 114 runs, 30 doubles, 101 walks and 54 RBIs.
But he claims he has no regrets about leaving the Angels, who have struggled to replace him at the leadoff spot, where Erick Aybar has been less than adequate, and at third base, where Brandon Wood struggled so much offensively (he was hitting .165 entering Wednesday) he lost the job in July.
‘I made a decision, I stuck by my decision, and I’m happy where I’m at,’ said Figgins, who switched positions--from third base to second--and spots in the batting order--from leadoff to second. ‘My numbers aren’t where I’d like them to be and we haven’t won. It’s pretty simple.’
Figgins claimed he didn’t feel pressure to live up to his big contract, but the numbers say otherwise. The speedy switch-hitter batted .211 in April and May before rebounding in June, July and August, when he hit .264
‘I wasn’t attacking the game in the first half; I was trying to be too patient,’ Figgins said. ‘In the second half, I started attacking the game, and my numbers have gone up. I had such a rough start, it will be tough to get back to the numbers I’m normally at. So the fact that I’m above .240 right now is actually a positive.’
Figgins’ frustrations came to a head on July 23, when he got into a dugout shouting match with Wakamatsu, who had informed Figgins he was being benched for not backing up a relay throw from the outfield in a game against the Boston Red Sox.
There was a brief but intense scrum in the dugout, with players and coaches pushing each other as they tried to intervene. The incident seemed out of character for the normally happy-go-lucky Figgins and shocked many of his former teammates in Anaheim.
‘I’m not going to talk about that,’ Figgins said, when asked about the incident.
Figgins sees some hope in Seattle. The Mariners have a 3.87 team ERA, the fourth-best in the league, and one of the game’s best starters in Felix Hernandez.
‘There’s a lot of promise,’ Figgins said. ‘The pitchers are doing very well. The bats haven’t been consistent. It’s been a crazy season, but I see some good signs.’
--Mike DiGiovanna in Seattle