Eric Wedge gives Chone Figgins a couple days off to regroup

3 Comments

Mariners manager Eric Wedge has finally decided to put the struggling Chone Figgins out of his misery.

At least for a little while.

According to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, Figgins will get the next couple of days off in order to clear his head. Luis Rodriguez will make the start at third base tonight against the Orioles, though Wedge was quick to mention that this is not a permanent change.

“I’m going to give Chone a couple of days just to get him away from it a little bit,” Wedge said. “Obviously I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about him and a few of the other guys, too. We’re looking to navigate through this the best way we feel like (we can) to get him back on track as quick as possible.”

Figgins is batting .190/.232/.256  hitless over 209 plate appearances this season and is hitless over his last 22 at-bats dating back to May 23. The 33-year-old is two years removed from leading the American League in walks, but is currently drawing walks at a career-low rate of 5.3 percent. Meanwhile, he is just 7-for-12 in stolen base attempts. His line drive percentage has dropped sharply over the past two seasons, so his current batting average isn’t just a matter of bad luck. There’s a real chance we’re watching his decline.

The Mariners signed Figgins to a four-year, $36 million contract in December of 2009. He is still guaranteed $9 million in 2012 and $8 million in 2013.

Bryce Harper will not be discussing his impending free agency with the media

Getty Images
3 Comments

Bryce Harper is entering his walk year and it is widely expected that the Scott Boras client will, indeed, test out free agency next fall rather than engage in any substantial way with the Washington Nationals about a contract extension. There were some “casual conversations” between the parties in the early fall of 2017, but the Nats came away from that, quite reasonably, believing that Harper, who stands to land the largest contract in baseball history, will shop around.

For his part, Harper met the media on his first day of spring training workouts and let everyone know that, no, he does not plan to answer questions about his potential free agency every day between now and November. From MASN:

“Just want to let you guys know I will not be discussing anything relative to 2019, at all,” said Harper. “I’m focused on this year. I’m focused on winning and playing hard, like every single year. So if you guys have any questions about anything after 2018, you can call Scott and he can answer you guys.”

Makes sense. The alternative would be for Harper to give the same canned “I’m only focused on our next game” responses in front of his locker 150 times this summer, and that doesn’t serve anyone.

Thinking back to any other impending free agent’s comments about his free agency, I can’t remember a story along those lines which was worth much of anything. The genre generally consists of headlines which oversell an innocuous or offhand comment from a player as a means of guessing where his head is at with respect to his current team. I can’t think of any story in which a player, during his walk year, said something that concretely and definitively signaled his intensions in free agency one way or the other.

Reporters covering the Nationals who are curious as to how Harper feels about his current team at any given time would be better served just observing and inferring, with particular attention paid to how Harper and his teammates view the Nats’ competitive position as the season goes on, how they react to trades and stuff like that. There’s a lot of guesswork in all of that, but it sure beats trying to get a media savvy player like Harper to admit, after going 1-for-4 against the Phillies, where he plans to spend the next seven to ten years of his professional life.