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Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik popped down to the press room for a quick announcement of the Chone Figgins deal. Zduriencik immediately raised some eyebrows by proclaiming that Figgins will play in the infield.
But he isn’t sure where just yet.
“We see him as a fit somewhere in our infield,” Zduriencik said. “That has yet to be determined where.”
Apparently, the team is serious about trying to get Adrian Beltre back to play third and will only say that Figgins is going to play in the infield. Second base would be the logical guess if Beltre was to return on a cheaper deal than anyone could have envisioned, say, 12 months ago.
“We’ve talked about the possibility of him playing a few positions,” Zduriencik said of Figgins. “I think that when we roll into spring training that picture will be a little clearer. Right now, he want to be in the infield, he will be in our infield. And depending on what happens from this point forward, exactly where he’ll play has yet to be determined.”
Zduriencik, seen above on MLB Network right after the announcement, fielded questions from the national media. One questioner asked how Figgins fit on the roster, given that the Mariners appear to need power and aren’t getting much from a sub-.400 slugger.
“Certainly, we’d love to have players with power,” he said. “You’d love to have them all over your ball field. But again, this is a unique player when you look at what he’s going to bring to our club with Ichiro Suzuki and himself batting in the top of the order, I think that’s pretty special in and of itself.”
Figgins had a .395 on-base-percentage last season, higher than any Mariner player posted.
The power issue came up again in a smaller scrum of reporters. You can see Zduriencik answer it in the video on the opposite page.
Zduriencik said Figgins is open to playing at a position other than third base and that he’d made it clear in discussions with the free agent that the M’s might seek to re-sign “a player that we’d recently had.”
Meaning, of course, Beltre.
Is this even possible? Can the M’s get Beltre at a bargain rate?
Well, from listening to Scott Boras, his agent, on the radio today, that doesn’t sound all that likely. But agents are paid to hype up their clients and Boras isn’t going to let on that the market is shrinking even if he senses it.
Beltre wasn’t helped by the Phillies signing Placido Polanco to play third, eliminating one market. The Angels say they are going to go with Brandon Wood at third. There could be other suitors that emerge, like the Giants, and maybe Beltre will get the type of deal he’s looking for.
But for now, the Mariners seem serious about hanging in there.
By the way, no draft pick for the M’s if Beltre does come back.