01/29/11 7:08 PM EST
Despite rumors, Figgins wants to stay in Seattle
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
Multiple reports that the Mariners were talking with the Oakland A's about a deal involving Kevin Kouzmanoff did nothing to dampen Figgins' outlook after he met with Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik at the start of the team's FanFest festivities at Safeco Field.
"I've always said it's a great thing to be wanted, but I want to win here," Figgins said. "This has been one of the best places I've played -- the city, the fans, I've always loved playing here. This is where I want to be. Until they force me out of here, this is where I'm going to be. And at third base this year."
Figgins said he has not been asked to waive the no-trade clause in his contract that includes Oakland as one of the teams he'd need to grant permission before a deal could be finalized.
"No, this was the first I heard of it, yesterday," he said.
And if he was asked?
"Like I said, I want to be here," Figgins said.
By all accounts, the Mariners seem content with having Figgins remain with them as well. Zduriencik pulled Figgins aside the first chance he got when the two crossed paths before the FanFest opening.
"I tried to get hold of him this morning but we missed each other," Zduriencik said. "Certainly, when you pick up the paper and hear things on the radio and all that, he deserves a conversation with the general manager, and that's what I wanted to talk about.
"I just touched on how things get started. In this game, it's interesting how it happens. GMs talk and agents talk about players -- and I'm not referring to this particular situation -- but the next thing you know, all the sudden somebody is putting two and two together and coming up with five.
"That's kind of how this whole thing is where it's at."
First-year manager Eric Wedge was happy to hear Figgins say he wanted to be in Seattle.
"Yeah, and we want him here," said Wedge, who managed against Figgins for years in Cleveland. "I remember sitting home watching when they signed him a year ago, and I always loved him across the way when he was with Anaheim. I'm excited about having him as part of this club."
Figgins struggled badly at the start of last season after signing a four-year, $36 million deal. He batted just .235 with a .608 OPS before the All-Star break, but turned that up to .286 with a .688 OPS in the second half.
Now he's eager for a completely fresh start. Figgins acknowledged that the change to playing second base full-time after playing mostly third in Anaheim was tougher than expected.
Figgins also said that he wasn't as aggressive offensively as he needs to be hitting in the No. 2 spot behind Ichiro Suzuki.
And no, he insists, any overhanging trade rumors won't bother him -- even if they persist.
"I've been on the trading block for years, even with the Angels," Figgins said. "Like I said, it's always great to be wanted. But I'm a Seattle man and I'm going to play third base unless the guys rip the jersey off me."