Finding a new home for Figgins


I’m still work on getting my version of Harrison’s King for a day post together, but there’s one deal in there that I felt deserved it’s own post. I think this deal works for both teams, though to be honest I expect it to be more likely to happen next winter than at the trading deadline.

Mariners trade Chone Figgins and Jamey Wright to the Giants for LHP Barry Zito and $25 million

Why this works for Seattle:

The Mariners have too many infielders for their playing time. Figgins has been the worst of those fighting for playing time and likely isn’t going to play at all. Getting Figgins off the roster is a need, as it trying to get something out of the $9 million he’s being paid each year. Wright is near the end of his career, and doesn’t have a place in the long terms plans of the Mariners, and the M’s need to make room in the bullpen for Josh Lueke and Dan Cortes to get some major league innings now that they’re out of it.

Zito will fill a need in a rotation once the M’s trade away Erik Bedard and Blake Beavan (yes, Beavan is included in another trade) The cash included in the deal covers the difference in salaries between Zito and Figgins, so the M’s get Zito for about $9 mil/year. While that is more than you’d like to pay for a #5 starter, it’s easier to swallow that for a pitcher than it is for an infielder who’ll never play.

Why this deal works for the Giants:

The Giants need bullpen help and Wright offers that. He’ll be a steady but not spectacular middle reliever in the lesser National League. He’s also cheap, which is a plus. Figgins is a versatile player who can play many positions, especially third, where Pablo Sandoval has had injury problems all year. Figgins is also very likely to have a resurgence in a new city, especially in the National League.

Zito really doesn’t have a place in San Francisco ‘s rotation anymore, and they aren’t going to be willing to pay him over $20 mil/year to be a long reliever, so they’ve felt compelled to keep him in the rotation over younger pitchers who deserve a shot. Moving Zito will also have the benefit of removing the very negative conversation piece about the pre-Lincecum front office. You’d think a World Series would give their front office a bit of a pass from their fans, but that hasn’t been the case when it comes to that Zito contract.  This deal as I’ve set it out also gives the Giants a little financial relief.

How it works out financially:

Year Figgins Zito Difference
2011 (prorated) $4,200,000 $9,000,000 $4,800,000
2012 $9,000,000 $19,000,000 10,000,000
2013 $8,000,000 $20,000,000 $12,000,000
2014   $7,000,000 buyout 7,000,000

Total: $31,800,000

I have the Giants sending $25 million to the Mariners. The idea is that the Giants would cover the difference in salary, and the M’s would have to cover the 2014 buyout.

Tags: Barry Zito Chone Figgins Dan Cortes Jamey Wright Josh Lueke

  • maqman

    Good creative thinking Keith, not a bad concept but the math is off. The difference is $33.8MM, so if the M’s pay the buyout they lose $8,8MM. That’s just about the same as keeping Figgy and adding another year to his contract. If the Giants pay the buyout then the M’s just lose $1.8MM, which about all Zito is worth to have around in case Pauley catches a cold. Maybe there’s a better bad contract out there somewhere.

  • Harrison_Crow

    @maqman

    Not to worry. The third year option only vests with 200 IP in 2013, 400 IP between 2012-13 or 600 IP between 2011-13. So ultimately yes the Mariners would have to eat some money on this but I don’t think it’s as much as you think and the fact that they would get something of value out of this deal makes it worth thinking about.

    Ultimately Zito could be worth something. While he wasn’t the ace they (Giants) thought they were getting he is a perfectly viable 4th or 5th starter. Now, acquiring Zito could give the Mariners the ability to move someone like Vargas or Fister who actually have value.

    One other option and I’ve been back and forth about this is Carlos Zambrano. But that’s such a mess.

  • maqman

    I don’t think our Z will go for either of those Zs. They might save a few bucks if the converted Figgy into a third base coach.