You Don’t Know Chone: The Sleeper Pick to Win the Dodgers’ 2nd Base Battle

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There may be a familiar face in Southern California baseball this spring. Chone Figgins received a minor league deal with a spring training invitation with the Dodgers. He played for the Angels from 2002-2009. Figgins had a disastrous three year stint in Seattle and was cut by the Marlins (!) prior to the start of the 2013 season. He took 2013 off and is itching to get back into baseball in sunny SoCal, the site of his last successful MLB season. In his last year with the Angles, he stole 42 bases and earned a trip to the All-Star game. Five years later, after being nearly out of baseball, he is competing for the Dodgers open 2nd base job. Chone Figgins’ last chance at a comeback seems to be feasible with the cast of characters he is competing with this March. Don Mattingly has said that 2nd base is “up in the air”.

Over the offseason, GM Ned Colletti expanded his spending to Cuba to fill his 2nd base hole, signing 27 year old Alex Guerrero to a four year, 28 million dollar deal. Yet, Guerrero had looked shaky so far this spring and there has been talk he may spend the beginning of the season in Albuquerque. A former shortstop, the transition to second base has not been an easy one. With Dodgers being the favorite in the NL West as well as a serious contender for the World Series crown, the Dodgers brass may not be willing to deal with Guerrero’s rough transition at the major league level. Guerrero could very well start the year in Triple-A and could look to contribute as the season goes on.

Two more veteran options include former Mets 2nd baseman Justin Turner and journeyman Brendan Harris. The Dodgers are Harris’ eleventh organization and chances are, he will be looking for a twelfth by the end of March. Justin Turner was a fan favorite in Queens who is a .260 career hitter. Neither Harris nor Turner offer the speed that Figgins or our next candidate bring.

Dee Gordon was once a top prospect in the Dodgers organization. A potential candidate to win the stolen base crown multiple times. Yet, Tom Gordon’s son never put it together at the plate, struggling to clear .240. The Dodgers have essentially given up on him as their future shortstop and the presence of Hanley Ramirez makes that decision easier. Yet, Gordon speed still makes him an attractive option at 2nd.

Now back to Figgins. Figgins possesses all the things Mattingly may be looking for in his short term 2nd baseman. He is a seasoned veteran who has speed and a bat that can be serviceable this season. Of course the days of him stealing 40-plus bases (let alone his career high of 62) and hitting over .290 may be over. Yet it is not out of question he could hit .270 and steal 20 bases. That would be considered a successful season at this point in his career and could be wishful thinking. If Figgins can prove he can still play this spring, he will offer an intriguing veteran safety blanket for Don Mattingly come opening day.

Chone Figgins is hoping the Southern California weather can help him recapture his All-Star production from five years ago. If he receives a chance, Figgins hopes to help the other LA team reach the Fall Classic.

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