The Chone Figgins era is over in Seattle. Mercifully.
From Greg Johns of MLB.com comes word that the Mariners designated the 34-year-old utilityman for assignment, removing him from their 40-man roster. He’ll either be traded or released within the next 10 days, and we would bet good money on the latter.
Figgins got a four-year, $36 million free agent contract from the M’s before the start of the 2010 season, then went on to bat just .227/.302/.283 with 104 total runs scored and 61 total RBI in 308 games with the team. He still has one year and $8 million remaining on that deal, but the Mariners are content with chalking it up as a sunk cost at this point.
Figgins started only 38 games for Seattle this past summer while earning a salary of $9 million.
The Mariners also designated outfielder Scott Cousins for assignment on Tuesday night.
The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.
Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.
Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.