Saturday, December 05, 2009

Halos saying adios to Chone Figgins

It is a bummer Chone Figgins is about to sign a four-year, $36 million dollar contract with the Seattle Mariners - it is a credit to Figgins he made himself the Major League player he has been when healthy.

It is also a credit to the Angels organization to see ability and develop Figgins as a professional ballplayer - after trading the immortal Kimera Bartee to get Figgy in a 'minor transaction' in 2001.

I liken Figgins to Tony Phillips - without the drug problems, which had been exposed in Phillips' second stint as an Angels back in 1997.

Figgins may not hit for double digit home runs, but is a high-energy, high on-base, high average top-of-the-lineup hitter - who can hit the ball in the gaps for doubles and triples.

Figgins is probably the best defensive third baseman in the American League, not named Adrian Beltre - even though experts continue to flirt with the idea his ability to play several positions is one of his most attractive traits as a player.

As for the Angels, Brandon Wood is going to be given the first opportunity see what he can do at third base - he was the Angels' top prospect at the position for the last four or five years, though he hasn't gotten an extended opportunity to prove himself as a big league regular. Though a shortstop at points in his professional career, sliding over to third base seems to be a natural transition for a big and strong guy like Wood already is, with allowances to fill out a little more in his prime.

Barring a trade, the Wood situation is going to play out like the Kendry Morales situation for the Angels - hopefully at 25, Wood can find a way to stick in the Major Leagues and go onto have a breakout season.

Wood is probably going to be the Angels player I'm going to be closely watching the most next year - if he doesn't live up to the hype as the next great hope in Anaheim, he could be another George Arias.

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