Chone Figgins On The Block?

Ah, finally a legitimate trade rumor.  The well had been running dry for a while.  Doug Padilla of the L.A. Daily News tells us that center fielder/utility man Chone Figgins could be traded this offseason, possibly to the White Sox for Joe Crede.

Crede, who is represented by Scott Boras, has continually inked one-year deals with the Sox.  This is his fourth full season, and he’s making a little less than $3MM.  Crede’s breakout .298/.331/.535 campaign should bring another hefty raise.  Crede should cross or near the 30 HR, 100 RBI plateaus for the first time in his career.  He’ll be a very valuable trade commodity if the Sox wish to turn third base over to Josh Fields eventually.  This is Crede’s age 28 season.  The market for free agent third basemen is bleak unless Aramis Ramirez opts out of his contract.

Figgins, on the other hand, has taken a step backward in his age 28 season.  He’s earning $2.25MM in ’06, $3.5MM in ’07, and $4.75MM in ’08.  Figgins has been reliant upon a .295 batting average to keep his OBP in an acceptable range, and this year his average dropped to .254.  His contact rate is the lowest of his career, though his walk rate is the highest it’s been.  96% of Figgins’s ABs have come from the leadoff spot, which isn’t a great idea when you’re below average at getting on base.

Figgins is very similar to Scott Podsednik, only more versatile.  They have almost identical numbers this year.  It would be peculiar for the Sox to cut Pods and then trade their star third baseman for Figgins.  I really can’t see Kenny Williams doing this, though he did reportedly express interest in late June.

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