Friday, November 13, 2009

Debunking Another Hot Stove Rumor

Good morning Fackers. As we've discussed, this is a slow time of year for baseball news. There was a time when the major free agent signings happened around Thanksgiving time, but since the advent of the new CBA in 2002 and now the conclusion of the World Series occurring in November this year, the Hot Stove League kicks off a bit later than it used to. The big signings may occur even later this year if the predictions of widespread non-tenders prove to be true, potentially flooding and devaluing the free agent market.

All of that, combined with a relatively uneventful General Managers' Meetings means that we have a perfect storm for irresponsible rumor mongering. Sportswriters have column inches to fill and we dorky bloggers have to have something write about as well. Joe at River Ave. Blues tried to prep all of us for this on Wednesday, and just yesterday Jay had to illustrate why Joel Sherman's various Curtis Granderson trade scenarios are asinine.

There's another "rumor" that hasn't gained a lot of steam just yet, but I've heard it mentioned a few times - most recently by champion baseless rumor creator Ken Rosenthal - and it's just stupid enough to make me want to nip this one in the bud before it gets off the ground. In the event that Johnny Damon walks, Chone Figgins has been mentioned as a potential replacement.

Chone Figgins is a good baseball player, don't get me wrong. He hits for good average, walks a bunch, has good speed, steals a lot of bases at a decent success rate, and is versatile. That's not what I'm taking issue with here - except for maybe the last point. Figgins is versatile; he has at least 25 appearances at every defensive postion except pitcher, catcher, and first base.

But, if Figgins were to replace Damon, that means Figgins becomes the Yankee left fielder because there's no way he's replacing Alex Rodriguez at third base. The problem with that is that Chone Figgins has exactly 36 career appearances in left field with 242.2 defensive innings logged - or the equivalent of about 27 games. Of those 36 appearances, exactly one of them has come over the past three seasons, and it lasted all of two plate appearances and zero outs.

So to recap, in the event the Yankees let Damon walk - over money, over years, over age, over some combination of the three - we are to believe that they will pursue the soon-to-be 32 year old Figgins, who is by no means a left fielder, to play left field despite the fact that it would require a commitment of three or four years at about $10M to $12M per. Sorry, I'm not buying that one for a second, not even in light of the equally ridiculous Robinson Cano trade suggestions that could potentially open second base for Figgins.


In unrelated news, yesterday morning I mentioned how the outrighting of Freddy Guzman and Josh Towers was largely preparation for the Rule 5 draft. Later in the day, Mike at River Ave Blues and Chad Jennings at LoHud both took far more in depth looks at the situation. Be sure to give them a read if you haven't already.

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