No, I haven't been writing a whole lot about baseball lately, and that's mostly because I've been watching a lot of hockey. But I figured this was worth a couple minutes.
Chone Figgins is headed to Seattle for, supposedly, 4 years and $36 million, with a PA-based vesting option for a fifth year. It's sad to see Chone go, particularly as the only remaining Angel from 2002 is Scot Shields, assuming Lackey leaves.
That said, I don't think it was a particularly bad move by the Angels front office to let him go. Figgy, until two years ago, was a plus defender with a decent batting average, no power, and lots of speed. He then discovered the value of a walk, and increased his OBP to second best in the AL last season. With that said, though, Figgins had a career year defensively last year, and his SB/CS ratio is worsening yearly. There's lots of folks speculating that his skillset ages gracefully, but that's only if you look at the OBP skills. His speed, batting average, and defense are all likely on the decline, as he will be 32 come spring training.
I mean, in 2005, he stole 62 bags and got caught 17 times. Last year, he stole 20 fewer while still getting caught 17 times. I have a hard time believing he's going to get any speed back, and a harder time believing he's actually +15 at third base. +5, maybe, but not double digits.
Of course, Figgins is a good fit for Seattle, although certainly not the only player they need to contend for the AL West in 2010. But he'll likely provide the same sort of exciting baseball we've seen for quite a few seasons in Anaheim, and I'm sure the fans will love him, just as they did in Southern California.
This, of course, means good things for Brandon Wood, who will finally have the chance to show his skills. He'll prove someone right, be it his critics or his proponents, but either way, the front office will be criticized, for delaying his promotion or refusing to trade him. My gut-meter thinks he gets about 600 AB's and pulls together a .265/.300/.510 campaign, but that OBP estimate is probably unreasonably high.
This also means it's time for the Angels to make a very serious bid for Lackey, Halladay, or both. Pitching, please.