When the Seattle Mariners acquired Chone Figgins in free agency the thought was the Mariners would have a potent 1-2 punch at the top of their batting order. Chone was a good lead off hitter in his own right and pairing up with Ichiro (arguably the best lead off hitter in baseball) was supposed to help the team manufacture runs. As we approach the end of his 2nd year as a Mariner the Chone Figgins experiment clearly has been unsuccessful. What wet wrong?
In my opinion Chone has never been comfortable in his surroundings. Seattle is a city some players have a difficult time adapting to. It's isolated, rainy, and quite frankly doesn't have the same amenities a lot of other major metropolitan cities have. From a cultural standpoint Seattle lacks a strong ethnic population and the small minority communities are fragmented. I get the feeling Chone has never felt like he belonged here.
That being said there is a certain level of expectation that comes with 9 million dollars a season and Figgins has not lived up to that. His batting average has fluctuated between .190 and .200 and his fielding has been suspect. It's pretty clear the Seattle Mariners organization is going to have to admit they made a mistake and cut their losses.
With the trade deadline looming the Atlanta Braves have shown interest in trading for the utility infielder. Chone is from Georgia so the proposed trade could be a win win situation. Chone will get to play in a familiar environment with less pressure and distractions while Seattle gets to cut payroll. I wouldn't be surprised if his performance on the field was dramatically improved.
Unfortunately the Seattle Mariners won't get to reap the benefits of his talents, but at least they won't be stuck with a player who looks like a fish out of water. When it's all said and done Chone Figgins will look like a bad guy for not putting up bigger numbers with the Mariners, but nature vs. nurture is a complicated concept. I'll give him a pass.