How Does the Figgins Deal Impact the Jays?

It seems the Mariners have been paying attention to the recent plight of the Jays in the AL East when they lost AJ Burnett and with the impending retreat of a high-end pick for losing Scutaro. With its two biggest rivals impacting which compensation picks the Jays get when they lose a Tyle A FA, the Red Sox and Yankees are keeping some much needed talent out of Toronto. Now, having just been confirmed as aggreeing to a deal (pending Adrian Beltre's refusal of arbitration) with 3B/OF Chone Figgins, the Seattle Mariners are rumored to be contemplating the same kind of move. Since Figgins sits second to last in the ranking of Type A FAs, all the Mariners need to do to ensure their division rivals don't get a first round pick from them is to sign another Type A FA not named Octavio Dotel. They've mostly been rumored to.....everyone really, but mostly Jason Bay. An article by Larry Stone, who covers the Mariners goes through the vast impact this deal has on the Angels and how it automatically switches the balance of power in the AL West. Ironically, Jason Bay may hold the key to who ends up losing their first round pick - the Jays, or the Angels (impact 1).

How the deal impact the AL West teams:
Figgins was the lead off hitter of the Angels, and their spark plug offensively with a .395 OBP. There is no real replacement in their lineup, as they'll have to put Willits, Aybar, or Kendrick there until they find a better option.The Angels must also rely on Brandon Wood to perform as expected at 3B, and if he falters they may be in for a rough ride (although I expect they'll need his power). The Mariners can now relax with both Ichiro and Figgins at the top of the lineup (with .386 and .395 OBP respectively), and now have the bait they need to land that one bit bat they've been seeking. Jason Bay, who comes from B.C., just north of Seattle, is now looking to hit 3rd or 4th in a lineup headed by two of the best lead off hitters in the league if he chooses Seattle. That has to be enticing for him, playing close to home and in a division that doesn't include the Yankees. If Seattle signs Bay to a deal, the Jays can expect the Red Sox to become extremely aggressive in their pursuit of Matt Holliday - which would lead to our losing their first round pick (29th) and we'd inherit their 58th overall pick in the second round instead (impact 2).

Note: Does it seem to you that the Mariners are doing everything in their power to win for Ken Griffey Jr and Ichiro who have both given so much to that franchise? Oh, and wouldn't it have been nice to do the same for Doc? Just a thought.

Back to Figgins. I would say 99.99% of us have no idea how the Angels will react. Will they use the money they "saved" from not re-signing Figgins to sign Lackey and Guerrero? Or, wil they go for Jason Bay to stop the Mariners from getting their "last piece" of the puzzle? If you're Jason Bay, how can the Angels be more enticing when they already have 4 guys in the OF? Will they now look to get better through trades by looking for a lead off hitter and power, or sit tight and hope for the best with the talent they have? I'm not really sure, but a couple of Jays may now interest the Angels more so than before if  a Doc deal ever comes to realization between the 2 teams (impact 3).

1. Jose Bautista, he can play third (which protects them from Wood under performing), and he can play SS or the OF, giving the Angels back some of the flexibility they wanted in Figgins.

2. If the Jays want Brandon Wood to be included in a Doc deal, the Angels could ask for Edwin Encarnacion which would fill their 3B void.

What should have been 3. Sadly, the Jays don't have a lead off type player to offer the Angels, as they don't have one of their own. With Marco Scutaro now gone to Boston, who will lead off for us? Wells? Hill? Gonzalez? Not exactly ideal now, is it?

I'm not sure that a deal can be completed with the Angels now since they've got so many other things on their minds and may end up having to make a play for some other big FAs. They've definitely put themselves in a bit of a bind by allowing Figgins to leave, but it does create a bit of an opportunity for the Jays.

If they Angels are looking to reassure their fans that they can win in 2010, getting Doc would certainly help their cause. Adding Doc would make their rotation so much better than the Mariners that the Figgins deal would seem a little inconsequential and would at the least relieve some of the worries their fans have (impact 4). The trick for them is to make sure it gives them a real competitive advantage in 2010, and with Alex looking to stock pile prospects, it seems that this deal would be a perfect fit. Time will tell, but I say for now that losing Figgins to a bitter division rival may just be the spark a Doc deal needed.

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