Yes, I know that the season is only half over and that looking into the off-season may be a little premature at this point. However, today, I am taking the stance of a Natinals fan and already taking the view that the season is over.
One of the most interesting free agents in the upcoming off-season is Chone Figgins, current third baseman for the Angels. It is hard imagining him on another team since he has always been with the Angels during this past decade of their dominance in the AL West. (And I have always thought he kind of looks like the Rally Monkey)
What teams will even be in the running for Figgins? And who would really want to play him at third, one of the premier power positions? Over almost 3700 career PAs so far, Figgins has a paltry 27 home runs. He topped out at 9 in '06 and has been sliding ever since. His defense at third is nothing to write home about. So far in his career, according to Baseball Reference, his numbers are most comparable to the immortal Bip Roberts, speed demon leadoff hitter for the Padres in the early 90's. Figgins' low power numbers are why he is currently rocking a 2.9 VORP on the season. Is that really what a team wants from its third baseman?
But now that I think about it; how has Figgins even kept his spot at third in LA for this long? Remember, he came up as an OF/2B and didn't start playing third until Glaus' roids failed his tendons. Then, went back to center in '06 (while the team tried out McPherson and Maicer Izturis at the hot corner) before finally returning to third in '07 after Glaus was shipped out (and the Angels gave up on experimenting with two prospects at the same fucking position at the same fucking time).
And think of who Chone has been blocking at third over the past few years for the Angels. Brandon Wood, Dallas McPherson, and Luis Rodriguez! They have loved Figgins so much that they even dealt McPherson away so that they didn't have to deal with his bitching. All along, they have had Kendrick floundering over at second only because Peter Gammons swears that one day he will win a batting title.
This winter, there shouldn't be much of a 3B market. Adrian Beltre, Joe Crede, Troy Glaus, and Melvin Mora could be around. But all of them have their flaws. Beltre will be recovering from shoulder surgery. Crede is a free swinger. Glaus is always injured and misses taking roids. Mora simply sucks. As a GM, none of those guys would be making me lick my chops.
Plus, of those teams losing third basemen (Mariners, Twins, Cards, and Orioles), I really only see the Twins really looking for a replacement. The Mariners will probably re-sign Beltre on the cheap due to his defense. The Cards can't wait to call up Brett Wallace. And Peter Angelos probably still thinks that Bobby Bonilla is a viable third baseman. The Twins don't want Figgins, they already have enough dudes who don't hit for power outside of Morneau and Mauer.
So in the end, I see the Angels making the dumb move and re-signing Figgins this winter, despite his tendency to walk barely 60 times a season (if lucky) as a leadoff hitter. The Angels, like me, just love steals that much.