More new on a heavy news day. The Dodgers have signed Chone Figgins to a minor league contract with an invite to major league spring training. Ken Rosenthal reported the deal earlier this evening. The 36 year old switch-hitter could give the Dodgers some great flexibility off the bench, if he can remember how to hit.
Figgins turns 36 this season, and has experience at nearly every position on the diamond. The utility man signed a minor league deal with the Marlins last spring but was released by the Fish in March and then did not play the entire season.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 23, 2014
Figgins was originally drafted by the Rockies in the fourth round of the 1997 draft. He was traded to the Angels, and made his MLB debut with the Halos in 2002. Figgins played with the Angels from 2002-2009 and was actually a pretty good player back in those days. He was a top of the order bat, and was a dynamo on the bases. Figgins stole 280 bases while with the Angels, and posted five seasons of 40+ stolen bases. He led the league in swipes with 62 in 2005. Figgins had a high OBP and average, hitting above .290 just about every year. He averaged about 68 walks per season, and led the league with 101 in 2009. Figgins is a career .277 hitter, with a .349 OBP, and 337 career stolen bases.
Figgins played for three seasons in Seattle, which is where he started to age and decline. His stolen bases dropped and his batting average plummeted. In 2012, his last season in the majors, he batted just .181 in 194 plate appearances, and stole just 4 bases while playing in 66 games. Figgins has hit 35 career MLB home runs.
Figgins can play all over the diamond which is why the Dodgers are so attracted to him. Figgins is good bench fodder. He’s played 630 career games at third base, 274 at second base, and 253 games in center field. Not to mention his 27 games at shortstop. Defensive metrics say he’s best at third base with 34 defensive runs saved. At second base he’s given up 11 runs.
Figgins is a switch-hitter, and if this information is correct, today is his 36th birthday. Didn’t the Dodgers sign Jamey Wright on his birthday too? What’s with the Dodgers signing guys on their birthdays this year? Basically Figgins is fulfilling the Jamey Carroll/Jerry Hairston role. I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes the roster this season.
Figgins had signed a four-year 36 million dollar deal with the Mariners in the winter of 2009. He made nine million dollars in 2012.
Figgins will get his first test during the spring. Be there by getting your Los Angeles Dodgers spring training tickets here.