Originally Posted by jojo
In 5300 defensive innings at third base (approximately 4 and a half seasons worth of playing time), UZR rates Figgins as a +8.8 UZR/150 glove while Dewans graded him out as a +4.5 glove. I call that excellent defense and it's likely most people would be comfortable with such a characterization.
At least the argument has shifted from the incorrect assertion that Figgins was overpaid based upon being a one year wonder.
Figgins projected to be something like a 3.5 WAR player coming into the 2010 season based upon his entire body of work up to that point. Given normal regression, that would mean that Figgins might be expected to track something like:
Given the market at the time, the Ms paid him like he would be expected to be a 2 WAR player across the board. So a week before they added Cliff Lee, the Ms signed a very versatile position player who to that point had exhibited significantly above average on base skills (OBP =.363) and had been an above average position player for his entire career as an Angel. He was coming off of a career year, yet they signed him to a contract that essentially regressed him to a league average player. Frankly there wasn't a player on the free agent market that appeared to be a better fit for their roster or really for Safeco.
His contract significantly regressed his 2009 performance (and frankly his trueskill to that point in his career). I don't think a single person has argued that he shouldn't have been expected to decline with age-certainly it would be a mischaracterization of my position to suggest I've made such an argument. Again, no one expected him to walk off a cliff during his first April as an Mariner especially since speed tends to age much better than other tools.
I think you've constructed a narrative about Seattle and have used hindsight concerning Figgins to construct a conclusion consistent with your narrative.
Would I have preferred that the Ms had signed Matt Holliday that off season? Well sure-especially with hindsight. The Ms had about $20-25M to spend that off season and they chose to spend $17M of it on 1) player whose on base skills were badly needed at the top of their lineup and whose versatility was badly needed on their roster (Figgins; $9M) and 2) on a player who was the best left-handed pitcher in baseball (Cliff Lee; $8M). This all with the backdrop of them working out an extension for King Felix, one of the best right-handed pitchers in baseball, that offseason as well. Besides, Matt Holliday was not coming to Seattle even if the Ms matched the $17M/yr that the Cards gave him.
Was Figgins a colossal flop? That is obvious. Not a single person has argued otherwise. Should anyone argue three years later that they knew it was going to turn out this way? Equally obvious, the answer to that is no.
But aren't post mortem's on signings important to learning? Maybe this discussion isn't so much about "I told you so" as it is "what can we learn from this flop." At least that's what I see. Some want to make it into that old RZ favorite, which has even been debated, in "I called it" and "no you didn't," "yes I did," "no you didn't." Fun.