The Mariners are willing to include cash in order to trade the underperforming Chone Figgins, major-league sources say.
Mariners officials are hopeful that teams in need of a leadoff man will engage them in trade talks over the next few weeks. Sources say Seattle officials view Cincinnati, Detroit, and San Francisco as possible fits for Figgins.
It’s not clear if any of those clubs are intrigued. So far, the industry’s overall interest level in Figgins has been low.
Figgins is due to earn base salaries of $9 million and $8 million, respectively, over the next two seasons. His contract also includes a $9 million vesting option for 2014 if he attains 600 plate appearances in 2013, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts; the clause could complicate any effort to move Figgins.
Figgins has totaled a meager .595 OPS over his first two years in Seattle. As a free agent this off-season, Figgins would probably hope to sign a two-year deal for $4 million or $5 million. If the Mariners pay down his contract to that level, they may be able to find an interested buyer.
The Mariners have additional motivation to move Figgins, because they would like to see if a low-cost prospect (Alex Liddi or Kyle Seager) can handle the third base job in 2012.
Those close to Figgins believe he would regain his energy and passion for the game if he were given the opportunity to be a leadoff man – the role in which he thrived for the Angels. That job has been unavailable to him in Seattle, due to the presence of Ichiro Suzuki.
Figgins’ best defensive position is probably third base, where he became an All-Star for the Angels in 2009. But he has experience at second base and in the outfield and could be effective in a super-utility role.
-- Jon Paul Morosi