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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.

January 28, 2011 at 7:07 AM

UPDATED WITH ZDURIENCIK QUOTE: A’s interested in trading for Chone Figgins?

UPDATE 11:20 A.M.:A new wrinkle from Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle: Figgins has a limited no-trade clause that includes Oakland, and hasn’t yet been asked to waive it. My sources confirm that Oakland is on Figgins’ no-trade list. That isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker. Just last week, Vernon Wells waived his no-trade provision to approve a trade to the Angels.

UPDATE 10:49 A.M.:Buster Olney of ESPN just tweeted that a third team could be involved in the Chone Figgins talks, perhaps Toronto.

UPDATE 10:30 A.M.: I just got off the phone with Jack Zduriencik, who as per his policy, declined to comment on rumors that the A’s are pursuing Chone Figgins.

However, Zduriencik did say, “Right now, our plan is for Chone to be our third third baseman, and we’re moving forward.”

Zduriencik said that the conversation with Figgins alluded to later in this post, in which Figgins gave his blessing to a move to third base, occurred around Christmas time. Figgins is scheduled to be at Safeco Field this weekend to participate in FanFest.

UPDATE 9 A.M.: Ken Rosenthal of FOX has tweeted confirmation from his sources that the A’s are indeed pursuing Figgins. One thing to consider is that Kevin Kouzmanoff came up in the Cleveland organization and played for Eric Wedge in 2006 before being traded to San Diego after the season.

There’s a rumor out of Oakland this morning that the A’s are pursuing Mariners’ third baseman Chone Figgins.

The story comes from Joe Stiglich of the Oakland Tribune, an excellent and well-connected reporter, so I give it credibility. Stiglich cites “a source with knowledge of the situation,” and says that A’s third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff and perhaps a pitcher could come to the Mariners in return.

Kouzmanoff, who hit 16 homers last year (with a .247 average and 71 RBIs; his on-base percentage was a yucky .283, which is reminiscent of Jose Lopez’s .270 OBP), would give the Mariners some needed power and an outstanding glove at third, while the departure of Figgins would clear considerable payroll, though the Mariners may have to send cash in any Figgins deal. Kouzmanoff will make $4.75 million in 2011 on a one-year deal. Figgins will earn $9 million in 2011, $9 million in 2012, $8 million in 2013, and has a vesting option for 2014 of $9 million which kicks in if he has 600 plate appearances in 2013.

At yesterday’s press conference, Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik spoke positively about Figgins and how he handled their request to move back to third base after a rocky season at second base.

“It was a good conversation,” he said. “I think a lot of things tied into Chone’s year last year: First big contract, switching organizations, switching positions, batting in a different spot in the batting order. That’s a lot. As he went through the season, I think he got a lot more comfortable the last two months, I think he was the player we thought he was going to be.

“This offseason, as we evaluated our club and thought about where everyone was going to play, I called Chone, and said this is what we’re thinking. He said, give me the reasoning behind it. I told him why – he’s an elite defender at third base, he has a great deal of experience there. We have other middle infielders, and we think he serves us best by moving to third base. He said, if it helps us win, I’m in, so there we go. Really, it was a very easy conversation.”

This is one to keep an eye on.

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