It just so happened that Chone Figgins was at FanFest today at Safeco Field, and in light of the trade rumors swirling around him, I couldn’t pass up the chance to talk to him.
Figgins was relaxed and in good spirits, and he made it very clear he doesn’t want to be traded.
“I always said, it’s a great thing to be wanted,” he said. “But I want to win here. I’ve said all along, this has been one of the best places I’ve ever played — the city, the fans. I’ll always love playing here. This is where I want to be, and until they force me out of here, this is where I’m going to be.”
Figgins, of course, has a say in the matter, because he has limited no-trade rights — including the power to veto a trade to Oakland, the team mentioned in Friday’s rumor. I asked him what he would do if he was presented with an Oakland trade and asked if he would waive his no-trade rights.
“I want to be here,” he replied. “Like I said, I want to be here.”
That’s not quite a definitive no, but when combined with his other comments, pretty close, I’d say.
Figgins also said he doesn’t expect the rumors to be a distraction.
“No. I’ve been on the trade block for years, even with the Angels. Like I said, it’s always a great thing to be wanted, but I’m a Seattle Mariner. I’m going to play third base unless they rip the jersey off me.”
Interestingly, after Figgins talked to a small media contingent in front of the dugout, he and Jack Zduriencik stepped off to the side to talk privately for several minutes.
“I tried to get hold of Chone early this morning, but we missed each other,” Zduriencik said afterwards. “Certainly, when you pick up the paper and you hear things on the radio, he certainly deserves a conversation with the general manager. That’s what I wanted to talk to him about.”
I asked him if he put the matter to rest.
“Oh, sure. I just let Chone know how things get started. In this game, it’s interesting how things get started. It happens all the time. You have general managers talk, agents talk about players – I’m not referring to this particular situation, but the next thing you know, someone is putting two and two together and coming up with five.
“That’s where this whole thing is at. What it means, our plan when we open the season, Chone is going to be our third baseman.”
Zduriencik said that Figgins also expressed to him a desire to remain in Seattle.
“That’s what he said to me over there, which is great. He said, ‘I want to win, I want to be here in Seattle, I’ve always loved playing in this ballpark. I want us to put together a club as we move forward that continues to compete. We want to win. All the guys on our club want to win. I think we’re athletic. I’m here to play for Seattle, I’m here to win, and I want to be part of this thing as we move forward.’ I appreciate him saying that.”