It seems like baseball has been over for years. It’s hard to believe that, just last month, I was sitting in my favorite section of Safeco Field watching the Mariners take on the Angels. I have been starving for anything baseball related, and even though the on-field significance of yesterday’s moves is next to none, the fact that something was actually done was huge news.
Three Mariners bid adieu to Seattle yesterday, and the reactions to the three couldn’t have been more different. The day started with news of Trayvon Robinson’s departure via trade to the Baltimore Orioles. Although I should’ve been prepared for this, I wasn’t. Trayvon Robinson, to an outsider, may have been one of the most passionate players on the team. His countless diving catches in the outfield were only outdone by his amazing leaps into the stands to rob opposing hitters of foul balls. Robinson, a Mariner via the Erik Bedard trade of a couple years ago, had a high enough ceiling at the time of the trade – he was a player who showed a broad skillset – but as time went on and other players developed, Trayvon didn’t. He is sure to get a shot somewhere but probably won’t stick around as a major league starter.
That being said, it’s tough to see somebody go who puts it all on the line. From the little we knew about him, we knew that Trayvon was one of the good guys on the team. He signed autographs for hours at the Mariners Team Store last December and struck up a conversation with my mom and sister, who were there to get a ball signed for me for Christmas. He joked around with them for a while and then signed “To Steven: Best Wishes” before sending my family on their way with smiles on their faces.
Trayvon was also involved in one of the most magical (albeit irrelevant) moments of the 2012 season for me. In August, it seemed like he went for a week in which he had a spectacular catch in every single game. In one such game, he made a diving catch to end an inning and came up to bat in the next half inning. His regular walk-up song was cast aside and instead, “I Believe I Can Fly” blasted through Safeco’s speakers. I’m not sure it’s possible to convey with just words how perfect of a fit the song was and the awesome ten seconds it created. Trayvon, Seattle is going to miss you.
A few hours later came the news that one of the newest members to the Mariners family, Scott Cousins, had been designated for assignment. Cousins was a Mariner in the same way that Aaron Heilman was a Mariner – on paper only. Cousins, who is most known for being the man responsible for Buster Posey’s absence from the 2011 Giants, lasted a mere two weeks on the 40-man roster and looks to be headed to his third team in the same number of weeks. I couldn’t care less that Scott Cousins was DFA’d. The move means almost nothing, because Scott Cousins had a near zero chance of making the team anyway. Scott, Seattle is going to completely forget you ever existed as a part of this team.
Terrible news, followed by completely neutral news. What follows in this pattern? Why, great news, of course. Spectacular news. Phenomenal news. The best news possible.
This goodbye was long overdue. Chone Figgins, the biggest free agent signing of Jack Zduriencik’s tenure in Seattle, was finally designated for assignment. Figgins was a disaster in every possible way. He had a terrible relationship with his first manager, instigating a fight in the dugout in the middle of a game. He had a terrible relationship with the Seattle media, even telling a reporter that he had asked a dumb question at one time. He had a terrible relationship with the Seattle fans, who were expecting a player worth somewhat close to his $36 million, 4-year contract, but who instead had the pleasure of watching one of the most abrupt downward spirals Seattle has seen in years. Figgins went from being a good player with the Angels between 2002 and 2009 to being one of the worst players in the league. Between 2004 and 2009 Figgins ranked in the top 25 in MVP voting four times. Once 2010 came, however, Figgins tanked.
Figgins had an OPS+ of 40 in 2011 and 54 in 2012. He posted a WAR of -1.2 in both years. No matter how you look at the numbers, Figgins was awful. He was bad both on and off the field and was taking up a roster spot from some other potentially useful player. Literally anybody would have been better. Seattle would’ve probably been more patient or understanding with Figgins, however, had he shown any semblance of a good attitude at any time as a Mariner. He always seemed to miss the Angels and wouldn’t hesitate to take shots, literally and figuratively, at the Mariners’ organization. Goodbye Chone. I would say don’t let the door hit you, but the least you could provide Seattle with is a little laugh at your expense on your way out of town.