The Seattle Mariners have asked Chone Figgins to move back to third base in order to free up second for new acquisition Brendan Ryan, according to Kirby Arnold of the Everett Herald. Figgins, who turns 33 this month, was signed as a free agent in December 2009 to replace the outgoing Adrian Beltre, then immediately converted into a second baseman in order to accommodate Jose Lopez’s switch to third base. The experiment was not a success: Figgins’ error count spiked and his batting slumped as well, hitting just .259 one season after holding a .298 average with Anaheim.
With Jose Lopez no longer in the picture after a trade to the Colorado Rockies, the Mariners are taking the opportunity to undo their original move and put Figgins in a position he’s been more comfortable in over the course of his career. With Ryan in the fold the Mariners have the ability to field two elite gloves around the keystone while letting Figgins return to third base, where he’s long drawn rave reviews for his range and reaction speed.
For his part, Figgins was happy to move – again – for the Mariners, who gave him a four-year, $36M contract last winter:
“We have talked to Chone about going back to third base and he’s well aware of it,” Zduriencik said. “His response was, ‘Fine, I’ll do what is best for the club.’”
Seattle’s starting infield now appears set, with Figgins at third, Ryan at second, Jack Wilson manning short, and Justin Smoak at first base.