Chone Figgins has officially announced his retirement, as per an Angels press release. He will sign a ceremonial one-day contract with the Halos tomorrow in order to leave baseball in the same uniform in which he spent eight of his 12 MLB seasons.
Figgins was originally drafted by the Rockies in the fourth round of the 1997 draft, and wasn’t a particularly heralded prospect. Faint praise became a positive for Figgins, as he related in his retirement statement:
“There was a quote written about me during my second year in the minors that I’ll never forget. It was a story about all minor leaguers and how scouts projected the progress of their careers. Mine said at best I would be a fringe big leaguer, if I ever made it. To me, that was the greatest quote I ever read about myself. Fringe is usually not a compliment in pro ball, but in my eyes, it meant I could be in the big leagues one day.”
A trade to the Angels in July 2001 led to a big league debut in late 2002 at the high point in Anaheim baseball history. Figgins went from a late season callup to earning a World Series ring, appearing in six postseason games as a pinch-runner during the Angels’ run to their only championship.
After that auspicious debut, Figgins became a key part of the Angels’ lineup over the next seven seasons with a game built around versatility, speed, and high average and on-base skills. Figgins spent most of his time as a third baseman but also saw significant action in center field as well as right, left, short and second. He hit .291/.363/.388 over 4075 PA as an Angel, and is the team’s all-time leader in stolen bases (280) and second on its all-time triples list (53).
Figgins’ all-around value peaked with a 7.7 rWAR/6.5 fWAR season in 2009, which was good timing as he headed into free agency that winter and resulted in a four-year, $36MM contract with the Mariners. Unfortunately for both Figgins and the club, 2009 was his last productive season. Figgins badly struggled in Seattle and was released prior to his final year of that deal.
He briefly signed a minor league deal with the Marlins after that release but was cut in Spring Training and sat out the 2013 season before catching on with the 2014 Dodgers for what ended up being his final 38 games in the Show.
All told, Figgins ended his career with a .276/.349/.363 slash line over 5360 PA, 1298 hits, 341 stolen bases and just under $52MM in career earnings. We at MLBTR congratulate Figgins on a fine career and wish him the best in his post-playing days.