(Photo by Associated Press))
The inevitable occurred quietly today when the Mariners confirmed that Chone Figgins has been released.
That outcome was a foregone conclusion when the Mariners announced on Nov. 20 that Figgins had been designated for assignment. From that point, the Mariners had 10 days to release, trade, or outright Figgins to the minors.
You might notice that today is Nov. 28, so the Mariners didn’t even use the last two days they had available to them to try to find a landing spot for Figgins. It simply wasn’t going to be. No team was going to trade for Figgins, who still has a year, and $8.5 million, left on his contract. Jack Zduriencik has been trying to do that for months, to no avail. Figgins was never going to accept a minor-league berth, which is in his rights to veto. And so the Mariners took the final step to dumping Figgins, which is putting him on release waivers, a 72-hour process. When no team claimed him — and the chance of that happening was approximately zero — Figgins was released today, 48 hours before they had to.
Thus ends, officially, one of the most frustrating eras in Mariners history. It was a signing that seemed eminently reasonable at the time, with Figgins coming off a year in which he had a .395 on-base percentage for the Angels. Team him with Ichiro atop the Mariners’ order, and voila: Watch the runs flow.
No need to rehash how massively misguided that notion turned out to be. Everyone knows the gory details. Now Figgins is free to sign with any team, which will only have to pay him the minimum salary. And I have no doubt he’ll find work, most likely on a non-roster basis with a spring-training invite. I’ve seen him linked possibly to the Rays, which makes sense because Figgins lives in the Tampa area. He may yet revive his career. But it was increasingly clear that it wasn’t going to happen in Seattle, and now the Mariners portion of his career is past-tense.