Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Despite initial reports suggesting otherwise, it turns out that the Boston Red Sox are among those teams that have been monitoring Chone Figgins. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe relays that the team had scouts in attendance at the 35 year old’s workout last week in Tampa.
Figgins signed with the Miami Marlins last February but was released by the team by late March. He’d sit out the 2013 season.
The natural assumption here might be to think of Figgins in a potential super-utility role given his history. Primarily a third base, Figgins also saw substantial time at both second base and in center field while also seeing reps in each of the outfield corners. Much of his career was spent bouncing around multiple positions each year. He’s also a switch hitter (a platoon partner for Jackie Bradley Jr.?) and might lend some speed to the bench. Plus the whole “veteran guidance” piece of equation.
The problem with that assumption, however, is that Figgins isn’t the same player that could have once fulfilled all of those roles. Figgins sat out the 2013 season, but saw limited action in both 2011 and 2012 in his final two seasons with the Seattle Mariners. Combined across the two years he’d muddle along to a .185/.249/.253 line across 507 PA. He’d manage just 22 extra base hits, 15 stolen bases, and struck out 90 times. He doesn’t have the same range in the field or first step on the bases.
Figgins isn’t the answer in Boston.
The team will likely head to Spring Training with Jonathan Herrera in line to be the primary utility infielder. He’s got experience at second, shortstop, and third and holds far more upside than Figgins may at this point in his career. Brock Holt is also already on the 40-man roster if the team needs to make a move in a pinch. There’s even still a segment of the team’s fan base (including a few writers here on staff) that believe Stephen Drew will end up returning for one more season with the team.
A discussion could be had about Figgins’ potential value in the outfield (though it should be noted that Figgins only hit .258/.331/.339 in his career against lefties), but the team already has enough flexibility to not need to make a move. Shane Victorino can slide over to center in a pinch, with the team having multiple options to play for him in right.
Don’t expect a Figgins signing, let alone an impact of any kind of they do. If a non-roster player is going to make this team’s roster out of Spring Training it’s going to take something special. Figgins isn’t it.