View Full Version : Intangible enticements
11-28-2012, 12:13 PM
Shannon Drayer tweets, "Let the Figgins sweepstakes begin". https://twitter.com/shannondrayer/status/273876474568777728
Snide comments aside, Figgins at the league minimum is likely to be attractive to one or more teams. But with the Mariners contractually obligated to pay him his $8M in 2013, less whatever his new team picks up (which would be that league-minimum figure), what exactly do other teams have to differentiate themselves from each other and actually "win" the "Figgins sweepstakes"? I mean, if somebody were willing to pay more than his contract calls for him to get, they'd have claimed him when the M's DFA'd him and/or traded for him.
Really, this is a general question about any player whose situation precludes the possibility of teams bidding for him with dollars. What are the intangibles that will make a player choose Team A over Team B?
11-29-2012, 10:19 AM
I had a similar passing thought yesterday when considering who Figgins will end up infecting (my Figgins snide comments off switch is broken). It's an interesting question that points to a bigger question in my mind: All things being equal (or relatively close), what can a team offer that will seal the deal? The issue has ramifications in Seattle due to it's need to acquire free agents both in the near and far future. It's hard to say precisely because I think it differs from player to player, but I'm going to take a stab at ranking them in general, because the Winter Meetings aren't until next week and I need something baseball to think and babble about.
1. Winning. I remember when Seattle signed Beltre and Sexson. It was relatively early in the offseason (mid December) and both free agents jumped at the chance to join the Mariners, who were seen as a team that was re-loading. They had lost Edgar to retirement and released John Olerud. The 2001 team had all but dissolved to age and regression to the mean. They were two seasons removed from leading MLB in attendance, and three from tying the all time wins record. Free agents wanted to sign here. They had money and a recent tradition of winning or at the very least being competitive. In my opinion, this is the biggest issue for free agents (besides financial security). This is also the reason why the Mariners will likely have to (and should, probably) overpay for free agents this season.
2. Role. Most players are playing for their next contract and they want to play positions that they feel comfortable with and they feel they can be the most successful at. Not that it's 100% accurate, but reports that Mike Napoli wants to catch where he's not a great defensive catcher but hits quite a bit better when he catches than when he plays 1st or DH, point to this for me. If there were any team that would offer Figgins a starting position (there won't be), I have to think he'd sign there. It's the best chance for him to regain value and get a decent contract next year. He doesn't think he sucks. He thinks he's an all star that got jerked around and he just needs the chance to play every day to show he's still the player he was his last season in Anaheim (yes, I know what he thinks and am speaking for him).
3. Familiarity. My prediction for Figgins is to go back to Anaheim, or sign with a contending team. Familiarity with the team (having played there, or knowing players) and coaching staff can go a long way it seems.
4. Location. Players spend half the season on the road, but for players with families I have to think it's important to be closer to home. It's not the end all be all, but it is a selling point. Chone Figgins lives in the Tampa area and is from Florida. The Rays or Marlins could be a fit. This is my "all things being equal" analysis. If I were a free agent being offered minimum contracts, I think it would matter to me that my family could come and see me play more than just when I'm on the road. Not the most important thing, but somewhat important. People talk about the Seattle travel issue, and I just don't see that being a major issue. I think the perception that Seattle is so far away could deter some, but it's not as if they're driving to the east coast on a bus. Also, weather may play a small role, especially to players from warmer places. The perception that it rains here every day is wrong, especially in the summer months where it can be one of the most beautiful areas on earth, but perception is reality sometimes. Identical offers from Seattle and Tampa Bay? If I'm Seattle, I'm emphasizing the lack of hurricanes.
5. Facilities. How the stadium plays. Obviously this is an issue for Seattle. Undeniable. They're moving the fences in and celebrating the interest in that from free agents publicly to the press. It has meaning. For Figgins in particular, probably not so much. He's not a pitcher or a power hitter (or a decent baseball player... I just can't help it).
Just some thoughts on the question. I don't really know for sure because I've never been in that situation, but these are my slightly educated guesses on intangibles.
12-01-2012, 01:51 PM
The talking point of trading Figgins has been brought up every single year of his contract.
Sadly, just like last off season, I don't think any GM in the league is stupid enough to take up his contract.
12-03-2012, 09:55 AM
Now that he's been released by the Mariners, Figgins is a free agent. He's available to every team in baseball for the league minimum and without trading anything away to get him. The Mariners will be paying his $8M for 2013 whether he plays or not, but none of the other GMs have to worry about that.
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