When the announcement came this Spring that Chone Figgins and Jose Lopez would be swapping positions, I didn’t really have any strong feelings about it. It wasn’t something I was overly excited about, but to be completely honest, it made plenty of sense at the time. Loafie’s defensive profile screamed third base, and Figgins’ defensive profile screamed middle infield. It was a sensible move to make, so why not give it a try?
That being said, it’s probably time to abandon the experiment. Chone Figgins has been worth almost -1 WAR defensively at second, and neither of them have hit worth a crap. And while I’m not willing to definitively attribute the lack of offensive production to the position swap, with the season lost, what do we have to lose by switching them back? Sure, it’s nice that seems a little bit stronger defensively at third base, but he in all likelihood won’t be with the Mariners beyond this year, so who cares? Figgins, on the other hand, will be, and with Dustin Ackley waiting in the wings as a second baseman, we might as well move him back to third base now – his defense has historically been much better there, anyway.
The fact is, we no longer have anything left to gain from this arrangement. In reality, the switch has probably already hurt us more than anyone could have expected it to help us, as Figgins has been 7 defensive runs below average, and Lopez is only on pace to be 4.5 defensive runs better than he was last year at second. It was an interesting theory, and I certainly don’t fault the team for trying it, but it’s time to cut our losses and move on.