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Hot Stone League

Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

December 9, 2009 at 1:00 PM

More Mike Scioscia comments on Chone Figgins

Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia dropped a mini-bombshell during his media session today, seeming to write off free agent Jason Bay as a target of the Angels.

“I think there are some more pressing needs that we have right now than what — than the talent that Jason can bring,” Scioscia said. “He’s an extraordinary talent, but we definitely have to look for some balance in some areas, and that might not make Jason a great fit for our club.”

Beyond that, he further addressed the loss of Chone Figgins to the Mariners (without autograph seekers). Here are some of his answers:

Q. How big a loss is Figgins?

MIKE SCIOSCIA: Well, Chone is definitely a guy we wanted to see in our uniform next year, and he got a terrific opportunity in Seattle. He’ll impact that team much like he did ours. I think he’s as good a catalyst as there is in the game, and I think the way he played defense at third base is something someone ought to pay a lot of attention to. We’ve got some big shoes to fill. But with Maicer Izturis, Brandon Wood and possibly Erick Aybar, obviously Erick Aybar and Maicer Izturis will be able to hit in the lead-off spot. We think we’ll go a long way to bring some of that same production to our club.

Q. Does the addition of Figgins make the Mariners’ more serious contenders?

MIKE SCIOSCIA: There’s no doubt they’re contenders. They’re obviously a team that has a good blend of some veteran players, some good young players, some power arms on the pitching staff. Chone is going to bring an incredible amount of depth to their offensive lineup for the fact that he’s a very versatile player who can play a lot of places. You’re always going to have that presence at the top of the lineup when Chone is available to play, and there’s no doubt it makes them stronger. They had a terrific season last year and made a huge turnaround, made a huge push in our division, and they’re obviously — they’re positioned very well to be a very, very strong contender in our division, and we’re going to have to play well.

Q. If Don Wakamatsu decides to keep Ichiro at leadoff, do you see Chone as a good No. 2 hitter?

MIKE SCIOSCIA: I think Chone has the ability to hit a lot of places. I think he could hit — in some templates he could hit first, second or third. He certainly has hit ninth for us when he was younger just as the lineup would come back around. I think when he’s on base, you definitely want him in front of guys that can drive the ball.

You know, Wak is going to have a lot of options to look at. I don’t think whether it’s Ichiro and Figgy or Figgy and Ichiro, Figgy, somebody and Ichiro, or however Wak is going to line them up, they’re going to be a deeper offensive club because of what Chone brings.

Q. Do you think Figgins would be equally comfortable at second or third base?

MIKE SCIOSCIA: Playing defense? Absolutely. He’s equally comfortable at second or third, he can play either corner of the outfield, and he’s a very solid defensive shortstop, too. His versatility is — that’s going to give them a lot of things they can do. I mean, you can very comfortably be a 12-man (pitching) staff because Figgy is in your lineup. You’ve got your utility guy already playing somewhere. He’s playing maybe third or somewhere. But in heartbeat if someone would get injured in a game, he could move somewhere or if someone days a needs off. He’s valuable.

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