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Big League Stew

Mariners pay Chone Figgins $8 million to go away

David Brown
Big League Stew

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Regardless of when the Seattle Mariners realized that Chone Figgins was one of the biggest busts in team history, they didn't actually do anything about it until Tuesday night, when they removed him from the 40-man roster. By designating Figgins for assignment, the Mariners have 10 days to trade, waive or release him.

If the M's can't find a trade partner (and they probably have been looking), and if no one claims Figgins on waivers (and what other team in its right mind would do that?) then Seattle figures to eat the last season of his $36 million contract. Which means the Mariners are paying him $8 million to take a hike. Everyone will be better off.

Figgins made the AL All-Star team in 2009. He also led the league in walks, stealing 42 bases and batting .298/.395/.393 for the Angels. He parlayed that into a free-agent contract with the Mariners, but he was a big disappointment in 2010 and just got worse thereafter.

After losing 143 points on his OPS in '10, Figgins batted a combined .185 in 507 plate appearances the past two seasons. Overall for the Mariners, he hit .227 with an on-base percentage of .302. His strikeouts have been way up, his walks are way down, and he doesn't steal bases anymore. He's also about to turn 35 years old. He's been a pure salary drain.

What happened to Figgins? Was it the pressure of living up to the contract? Being satisfied with having "made it"? A secret injury? Just a sudden loss of skills?

"It just never worked out like he thought and sometimes you just never know why," GM Jack Zduriencik said.

Well, if he doesn't know ...

Richie Sexson (after the first two seasons). Jarrod Washburn. Carlos Silva. And Chone Figgins. Seattle's Mount Rushmore of Free Agent Busts. Admission is free, because the M's are paying.

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