What if Chone Figgins leads off for the Seattle Mariners?

      February 9, 2012 @ 13:08:48 PDT


From the look on your face, I'd think that someone just asked you if you'd intended to park your car in that sinkhole.

Admit it. Before you even typed your fantasy baseball draft date into Google Calendar, you wrote off some players. It's OK. You're not alone. Like jumping off bridges and masturbating - try them in that order sometime - everyone does it.

But after your unequivocal dismissal, did you remind yourself how important it is to keep an open mind? That the unexpected occurs every season? Of the last time you rejected a long shot ... that really wasn't so long?

Just agree to consider it. This something is possible.

Seattle Mariners INF Chone Figgins
Friggin' nuts to think Figgins hits?

A variation of that belief - "The Black Swan Caucus" - is a theme of Baseball HQ's preseason First Pitch events two years running. Except that Ron Shandler's quest is to find the absolute difference-makers no one saw coming, which is an incredibly daunting task. (But one at which he makes a more valiant effort than you'd ever dream, and it's worth the price of admission.)

These players aren't targets. But, if you have a couple of spots left on you're AL- or NL-only roster, or you're in the snake/reserve rounds of a deep-mixed league auction, what does it hurt to ponder cockamamie concepts? Things that occur, but before they do, you believed that they couldn't. Shame on you.

So what if Chone Figgins leads off for the Seattle Mariners?

Figgins' projection set off a daydream, which came before a reckoning that most baseball fans would probably think the notion idiotic, followed by a satisfaction that comes from the willingness to delve where others don't.

Eric Wedge at least says that he's open to the idea. The skipper intends to employ his club's big-time free-agent bust like a super-utility player. The role kept Figgins on his toes in Anaheim, didn't it?

Most of his opportunities are likely to come at short and the hot corner. Last year, you laughed at the notion that Brendan Ryan could be an everyday shortstop, didn't you? Nicholas Franklin can't be ready, yet.

As for third base, Kyle Seager, who promises a lot of empty batting average when - if - he's ready for The Show, will almost certainly begin the campaign at Triple-A Tacoma. Thumper Alex Liddi could easily turn out to be Mark Reynolds Lite, and Mark Reynolds Premium barely deserves to have its tap next to the lame domestics. Carlos Guillen arrives on a minor league deal, and even if he could beat out Figgins, he wouldn't last past April.

Figgins is 34 and chased a disappointing .259/.340/.306 line and 42 stolen bases in 2010 with a messy 313 plate appearances of .188/.241/.243 vomit and 11 thefts in 17 gut-punching attempts. There isn't, for certain, a grand prize behind this door.

A lot went wrong last year, though, and that 2010 season was still pretty roto useful. We've seen much stranger resurrections. Aubrey Huff? Aubrey Huff again? No one is asking you to make Figgins a linchpin of your squad.

But don't forget about him.

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About Nicholas Minnix

Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.

The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.

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