Around this time last year, Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik pulled off his first big move when he pulled the trigger on a three team, 12 player deal which sent closer JJ Putz to the Mets and OF Franklin Gutierrez, Endy Chavez, Mike Carp and four others to Mariners.
With that move, his nickname became "trader Jack". Now this off season is an entirely new ball game.
Last off season Zduriencik didn't have a lot of money and flexibility to work with and plus he was just taking over. Now Zduriencik has around $50 million free to spend this off season, the most by any club.
Now Jack Zduriencik won't go mad with the amount of money he has available to him but he will use more than half of that on free agents and arbitration raises. Then there is also Felix Hernandez, who has been talking with Zduriencik about a long term contract.
Hernandez's agent, Alan Nero, has said there is no immediate hurry to sign Felix long term. S.I's Jon Heyman said Felix will most likely seek a contract in the neighborhood of six years and around $100 million.
If there is an off season when the Mariners should sign Hernandez long term it would be this off season. They just came off an incredible 21 game swing, Felix was a few games from winning the Cy Young and the Mariners have the money to spend.
Back on subject with the announcement that the Seattle Mariners have officially signed former LA Angles third baseman Chone Figgins to a four year, $36 million dollar contract. The contract also reportedly includes a vesting option in 2014 which could push the grand total to $45 million.
Right away this is a win-win signing for the Seattle Mariners and just keeps adding to the great resume of Jack Zduriencik.
Win one: The Mariners filled their hole a third base with an outstanding defensive player who also fits the offensive mold of speed and hitting without great power.
Win two: The Mariners strengthen their club while weakening division rival LA Angles. Figgings has been a great leadoff hitter for the Angles for two years straight. The only in-house replacement would be long time prospect Brandon Wood who is the anti Chone Figgins.
High strikeout total, below average defense and hits for power but not consistently.
Here is a Figgins-Wood comparison. (Wood's numbers are AAA).
Brandon Wood: 99 games, 113 hits, 22 HR, 65 runs, 72 RBI's, 36 BB and 80 SO. Indepth stats : BB% 8.5, SO% 20.7, .353 OBP and 4.0 speed.
Chone Figgins: 158 games, .298 BA, 183 hits, 5 HR, 114 runs, 54 RBI's, 101 BB and 114 SO. In-depth stats: BB% 14.1, SO% 18.5, .395 OBP and 6.7 speed.
The clear winner would be Chone Figgings.
Those stats, along with the personality of Figgings fits the Jack Zduriencik to a T. The price is just right at $36 million and he will fit great either in front of or behind right fielder Ichiro Suzuki in the Mariners lineup.
Look for Seattle's next move to be for either a starting pitcher like John Lackey or Rich Harden or a first baseman like Nick Johnson, Jason Bay or possibly Jermaine Dye if he goes low price.