Chone Figgins turns 36 years old next week and he hasn't played in the majors since batting .181/.262/.271 in 194 plate appearances for the Seattle Mariners in 2012. The Mariners paid him $8 million to buy out his contract to not play in 2013 so an option wouldn't vest for 2014. He signed with the Marlins but was released during spring training. Figgins didn't sign anywhere else. After 1,244 games, his career was over.
Unless it wasn't.
Figgins, reports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, is giving Major League Baseball another chance. He tried out for nine teams Wednesday at a showcase in Tampa. The Dodgers were represented, as were the Twins. So was Rays manager Joe Maddon. After apparently having a strong workout, Figgins made "an impromptu address" to the scouts who assembled. Figgins reminded them that he went 8 for 26 with three walks for the Marlins during Grapefruit League play before they cut him. And not only did he still have the skills, but Figgins also wanted the scouts to see the "passion" in his eyes:
Scouts saw Figgins run, hit and throw; he said it was the kind of routine that high-school prospects go through when they are trying to get drafted. Figgins was a man on a mission, alone with his coach Gregg Parrish, who has been with him since 1997.
“A lot of veteran players really wouldn’t go the route that I did,” Figgins said. “It was a full workout – running, throwing, swinging. I wanted them to see personally what I was feeling, that I could still contribute to a team, that I could still play.
“I wanted them to see how easy it was for me to run (60 yards in) 6.4-6.5 (seconds), then throw from the outfield, show how good my arm is from the outfield and infield, shortstop and third base.
“Then to hit and show I’m driving the ball again ... I feel I can get back to doing that, hitting some triples, maybe popping a few (home runs).”
Figgins was a very good player before he signed with the Mariners before the 2010 season. An All-Star once, he got MVP votes four times. He led the league in steals once, and in walks another time. Did he lose motivation once he started making the biggest money of his career in Seattle? If he did, Figgins seems to have it back after being out of the game for a year.
If nine teams looked at Figgins during the tryout and he did well, one of them will sign him and we'll get a chance to see if he has anything other than motivation left.
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