Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Tag: Chone Figgins

Did Dodgers win the WAR last offseason?

Los Angeles Dodgers vs San Diego Padres

By Jon Weisman

For entertainment purposes, I’m about to oversimplify something that’s far more complex than how I’m presenting it.

Nevertheless, I was curious what the Dodgers gained and lost in wins above replacement (WAR) from their moves during the 2013-14 offseason. And putting all other considerations aide, the scales almost balanced.

The Dodgers received 2.1 WAR from their 2014 additions, according to Fangraphs, while those who left the team after the 2013 season produced 1.8 WAR with their new clubs.

The big weight on the scale was Justin Turner, who delivered 3.2 WAR all by himself. Chone Figgins (0.6) was also useful in his abbreviated tenure. They more than made up for the departures of Elian Herrera, Nick Punto, Justin Sellers, Mark Ellis and Skip Schumacher.

The biggest loss for the Dodgers in WAR was Ricky Nolasco (1.2), who had a 5.38 ERA and 4.30 FIP in the first year of his four-year deal with Minnesota. Edinson Volquez (0.7), who signed a one-year deal with Pittsburgh, was more of a bargain, though not as much as his 3.04 ERA might suggest.

In the bullpen, Ronald Belisario, Javy Guerra and Shawn Tolleson combined for 0.8 WAR, which isn’t much but proved better than what Chris Perez (-0.8) delivered.

Seth Rosin never pitched in a game for the Dodgers after being acquired on the day of the Rule 5 draft, but I included him here as someone they had and then let go.

Among the 2013 Dodgers who didn’t play in the big leagues in 2014: Nick Buss, Jerry Hairston Jr., Peter Molyan and Michael Young.

Obviously, there are long-term issues, both coming and going, that I’m ignoring in this post, which is completely focused on the past season. Nor does it take into account salary, or 2013 free agents who returned to Los Angeles. But if you’re curious, here are the numbers …

WAR offseason



Farewells to Figgins and Hynes, and surgery for Fife

Dodgers at Braves, 4:10 p.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Yasiel Puig, CF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Matt Kemp, RF
Carl Crawford, LF
Juan Uribe, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Miguel Rojas, SS
Hyun-Jin Ryu, P

By Jon Weisman

Chone Figgins and the Dodgers have parted ways, while Stephen Fife has heard the dreaded words, “Tommy John surgery.”

The Dodgers asked for unconditional release waivers on Figgins, determining that they were content with their current reserve infield depth of Justin Turner, Miguel Rojas and Darwin Barney, not to mention Alex Guerrero, Erisbel Arruebarrena and Carlos Triunfel.

Also leaving the organization was minor-league reliever Colt Hynes, who had been designated for assignment and was claimed by the Toronto Blue Jays.

Fife, meanwhile, saw his most challenging season come to a difficult end. He made 11 appearances (nine starts) for Triple-A Albuquerque, battling injuries on his way to a 7.01 ERA with a 1.83 WHIP, along with one of the two starts by minor-league callups for the Dodgers this year. Dr. Neal ElAttrache was scheduled to operate today to repair Fife’s ulnar collateral ligament.

Chone Figgins designated for assignment

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers at Angels, 7:10 p.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Yasiel Puig, CF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Matt Kemp, DH
Carl Crawford, LF
Andre Ethier, RF
Justin Turner, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
(Dan Haren, P)

By Jon Weisman

Chone Figgins, whose most recent game with the Dodgers was June 13, has been designated for assignment, the team announced today.

Figgins, whose minor-league rehabilitation assignment was completed this week, could clear waivers and return to the Dodger organization if he accepts that assignment, or he could be claimed by or traded to another team.

Figgins had a .373 on-base percentage and .267 slugging percentage with Los Angeles in 76 plate appearances this season. He is the first Dodger with at least 75 plate appearances to have an OBP that high and a slugging percentage that low since Ellie Rodriguez in 1976.

Figgins also had a .393 OBP with Triple-A Albuquerque in 76 plate appearances this season.

Miguel Rojas, the third-ranked defensive infielder on the Dodgers, according to Fangraphs, has established himself as the team’s top backup shortstop. On the MLB roster, Justin Turner also plays every infield position, with Alex Guerrero, Erisbel Arruebarrena, Carlos Triunfel and Darwin Barney among other waiting in the wings in the minors.

Dodgers activate Carl Crawford, designate Clint Robinson for assignment

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By Jon Weisman

Carl Crawford’s ankle-induced exile from the Dodger active roster has ended after 43 days, as the left fielder was activated today.

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It’s a bright, bright Chone Chiny day


Dodgers at Mets, 4:10 p.m.
Chone Figgins, 2B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Matt Kemp, CF
Scott Van Slyke, LF
Justin Turner, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Zack Greinke, P

By Jon Weisman

There was some scoffing when Chone Figgins signed on to reboot his Major League career with the Dodgers, but so far, so good.

Figgins has developed a fairly specific role with the Dodgers: Come off the bench to lead off an inning and, without any seeming threat of power, get on base.

In his 27 plate appearances so far this season, 16 of them have been as the first batter of an inning, and he has a .500 on-base percentage (and .455 slugging percentage) in those situations. He also has a .474 OBP as a pinch-hitter.

Tonight, in the Dodgers’ 48th game, Figgins makes only his third start of the year, though his rate should increase now that Juan Uribe is on the disabled list and Justin Turner will be needed over there. Dee Gordon still hasn’t been a convincing hitter against left-handed pitchers, registering a .200 on-base percentage (8 for 40 with no walks) and .250 slugging percentage this year. It would be going too far to say he can’t improve those numbers, but against Mets lefty Jonathon Niese (2.54 ERA, .446 right-handed opponents’ OPS), it’s a sensible enough time to let Gordon come off the bench.

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Hyun-Jin Ryu goes on disabled list

Colorado Rockies at Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Clayton Kershaw might be close to a return to active duty, but an optimal starting rotation for the Dodgers will have to wait for another couple of weeks at least.

Hyun-Jun Ryu has been placed on the disabled list, retroactive to April 28, with left shoulder inflammation as one of a series of roster moves today by the Dodgers.

Los Angeles is also sending reliever Paco Rodriguez and 26th man Red Patterson to Albuquerque, and recalling utility man Chone Figgins and reliever Jose Dominguez.

Ryu has pitched shutout ball in four of his seven starts this year, allowed two runs in another and was hit hard in this third start and his seventh, both day games in Los Angeles. Assuming they don’t want to start Zack Greinke on three days’ rest, the Dodgers will need to make another roster move to replace Ryu for Sunday’s start against Miami’s Jose Fernandez. Tentatively, Zack Greinke and Kershaw (if activated from the DL) are scheduled to pitch Monday and Tuesday in Washington.

Rodriguez allowed three runs and five baserunners in 1 1/3 innings in his two outings since returning from Albuquerque earlier this week, while Dominguez has been scored upon in three of his four MLB outings in 2014, allowing six runs in five innings. This will be the fourth separate stint with the Dodgers for Dominguez. After making the trip to Australia, he was optioned March 29, recalled April 2, optioned April 9, recalled April 21 and optioned April 27 before being recalled again today.

Patterson pitched 4 2/3 innings in Thursday’s nightcap, allowing one run while looking good in his middle three innings. Figgins has gone 7 for 25 with six walks for a .419 on-base percentage with the Isotopes.

April 21 pregame: Dodgers option Figgins, call up Dominguez

Phillies at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Yasiel Puig, RF
Justin Turner, 2B
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Matt Kemp, CF
Scott Van Slyke, LF
Juan Uribe, 3B
Tim Federowicz, C
Paul Maholm, P

By Jon Weisman

To address the rather constant use of the bullpen during this stretch of 13 games in a row (not to mention 29 in 30 days), the Dodgers have recalled pitcher Jose Dominguez and optioned Chone Figgins to Albuquerque.

Don Mattingly called the use of the short bench “a temporary thing,” but said it has been something the Dodgers have been contemplating because as great as the starting pitching has been, the starters haven’t been pitching past the sixth inning very often. Extra-inning games in recent days haven’t helped.

“Every day, it seems like we’re walking a tightrope,” Mattingly said.

In case you’re wondering, Paco Rodriguez wasn’t eligible to be recalled because 10 days haven’t passed since he was optioned, and he’s not replacing a player on the disabled list. Figgins will use the opportunity to get some playing time in after registering only nine plate appearances and one putout since the 2014 season began 31 days ago.

“At the end of the day, I don’t think it’s going to be horrible for Figgy to go down and get 25-30 at-bats,” Mattingly said.

Meanwhile …

  • Clayton Kershaw is scheduled for a bullpen session Tuesday.
  • A.J. Ellis is, if anything, ahead of schedule in his rehab from knee surgery, writes Ken Gurnick of
  • This is fun: Sharon Henry of the Register sketches out Vin Scully’s tools of the trade.
  • Over the years, Zack Greinke has tinkered with his pitches to stay ahead of hitters, writes Dave Cameron for Fox Sports.
  • Dodger Moments with Ross Porter, noted in our pre-Opening Day feature on the former Dodger announcer, has a website.
  • Why is the MLB strikeout rate continuing to rise? Chris Moran looks into the issue at Beyond the Box Score.
  • Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. notes the significance of Kenley Jansen striking out Paul Goldschmidt on a slider Saturday.
  • has a lengthy excerpt of John Rosengren’s “The Fight of their Lives: How Juan Marichal and John Roseboro Turned Baseball’s Ugliest Brawl into a Story of Forgiveness and Redemption”
  • Author W.P. Kinsella describes how “Shoeless Joe” became “Field of Dreams” at Remember, the Dodgers are showing “Field of Dreams” at Dodger Stadium immediately after the game against the Rockies on Saturday.
  • A different one of the names from my baseball book-reading youth, Zander Hollander, passed away at age 91.

Walks don’t stop for Chone Figgins

Los Angeles Dodgers vs Chicago White Sox

By Jon Weisman

On his mission to reestablish his reputation as a hitter after an unfulfilling journey to Seattle and then a year out of Major League Baseball, Chone Figgins keeps drawing walks.

Despite hitting .167 in Cactus League play, the 36-year-old Figgins led the Dodgers with nine walks — drawing one in nearly 20 percent of his plate appearances, to improve his on-base percentage to .326 — then followed things up with a six-pitch walk in his only official plate appearance in Australia.

In his 11-year MLB career, Figgins has all of 35 homers and a .364 slugging percentage, compared with 337 steals that have made him a threat every time he reaches base, so it’s not as if pitchers don’t have an incentive to challenge him — especially in Spring Training. Nevertheless, like such Dodgers of the past as Brett Butler and Jamey Carroll, a lack of power hasn’t stopped him from drawing ball four.

Figgins averaged 58 walks per season for the Angels from 2004-08, then soared to an American League-leading 101 in 2009, a year he had seven triples and five home runs. Even in Seattle, where hits were at a premium for him, he was routinely able to increase his on-base percentage noticeably.

How does he do it?

“I’ve always been a guy who’s seen pitches, but it’s not that I’m trying to see pitches just to walk,” Figgins said. “I’m more looking in a zone, and if I don’t think it’s in that zone, then I take it. I’m not afraid to hit with two strikes. I’m not trying to hit with two strikes, but I’m not afraid.”

Often, he noted, the situation dictates the approach, and that includes taking strikes — but again, not just for the sake of taking pitches.

“If there’s a guy at first,” Figgins said, “and I may be trying to hook the ball in the hole, there’s certain pitches I can’t do it with. … I’m looking for a certain pitch to be able to get in the hole.

“I’m trying to make sure I stay within myself. It’s more I give myself a higher percentage (chance) to hit the ball hard. If I’m chasing the ball out of the zone, I’m lowering my percentage.”

With two strikes, he has to be more flexible, but there’s still pressure on a pitcher to execute.

“If it’s a 2-2 (pitch), and I know the guy has a nasty split, I’m thinking, ‘You know what, he might throw a split, but make sure it’s up.’ Make sure everything’s up in the zone with two strikes, that way it gives you a better chance to make contact.”

Figgins’ defensive versatility is his obvious calling card, but while no one’s expecting him to win a batting title, it’s this ability to manufacture trips to first base that could be key to his staying power with the Dodgers.

In case you missed it: International Date Line edition

Los Angeles Dodgers workout at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Australia

By Jon Weisman

Did Monday go by in a blur for you? It sure did for the traveling Dodgers, who were on a plane the entire time before landing in Australia on what for them was Tuesday morning. (Add 18 hours to the current time to know what time it is there.)

While the Dodgers are away, be sure to follow @Dodgers on Twitter for regular updates from our man on the scene, Josh Tucker. And also check in on the Dodger Photog Blog, featuring our very own eyes in Sydney, Jon SooHoo. In his first two posts, the Dodger team photographer chronicles the Dodgers’ arrival in Sydney and at the Sydney Cricket Grounds.

Ken Gurnick is also leading’s coverage of the team Down Under, as you’ll see down under these introductory paragraphs.

In the meantime, here’s what’s been happening while you were sleeping, eating, doing laundry or otherwise going about your domestic business.

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Post-Arizona status report for the Dodgers

Colorado Rockies v Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

There’s definitely a weird feeling to this Spring Training interregnum between Arizona and Australia — not that it won’t feel even weirder next week, when the Dodgers follow their two regular season games Down Under with four off days and then a pair of Freeway Series exhibitions against the Angels.

Nevertheless, with no game action until the Dodgers scrimmage against Team Australia on Thursday, and the Dodgers having set their 30-man travel squad for Sydney, this does seem like an appropriate time to take a little bit of stock.

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In case you missed it: Guerrero’s near-home run

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By Jon Weisman

For the second time in just a few days, a Dodger hit a long fly ball that sure looked like a home run but wasn’t.

Saturday, it was Joc Pederson. Today’s would-be homerer was Alex Guerrero, who to his credit ran his way to a triple on this ball that he absolutely crushed.

The hit for Guerrero started the Dodgers’ three-run ninth-inning rally, capped by Noel Cuevas’ game-winning home run, that led to a 7-5 victory over Kansas City. (Dick Kaegel of has the game recap.)

  • We’re sad to relay from Ken Gurnick of that Don Mattingly will miss the next two Dodger games because of a death in the family. Tim Wallach will manage in his absence.
  • Dan Haren talked to J.P. Hoonstra of the Daily News about his outing, in which he allowed a run, seven hits and a walk in four innings.
  • It’s been speculated that Haren will go to Australia as the Dodgers’ exhibition and/or alternate starter, but Cash Kruth of notes that might not happen.
  • Playing shortstop, Chone Figgins made an error, his first of the spring, but went 2 for 4. He is only hitting .185, but he leads all of the Major Leagues in walks this exhibition season with eight. His on-base percentage is .371.
  • Dee Gordon, who leads the Majors with eight steals (in eight attempts), has an OBP of .267. Gordon has a groundouts-airouts ratio of 2.2 to 1.
  • Today in Jon SooHoo.

Los Angeles Dodgers vs Kansas City Royals

March 3 pregame: Figgins of our imagination

San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers vs. A’s, 12:05 p.m.
Chone Figgins, 3B
Andre Ethier, CF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Scott Van Slyke, LF
A.J. Ellis, C
Nick Buss, RF
Miguel Olivo, DH
Dee Gordon, 2B
(Clayton Kershaw, P)

By Jon Weisman

Andre Ethier takes a turn at center field, while the wheel of Chone Figgins lands on third base. At this point, I won’t be satisfied unless Figgins plays at least eight positions this spring.

Scheduled to follow Clayton Kershaw on the mound today are Brandon League, Seth Rosin (he of the five strikeouts in two innings Wednesday), Pedro Baez, Carlos Frias and Jarret Martin.

By the way, with Zack Greinke missing his scheduled start Tuesday, that game against the Mariners will become a full bullpen day for the Dodgers, with Brian Wilson scheduled to be the first pitcher. Ken Gurnick has more on Greinke and other less-than-100-percent Dodgers at

One more link for the morning: Matt Kemp just needs those wheels unleashed, because his swing is back, writes Buster Olney of

Mark McGwire joined the Dodgers as hitting coach more than a year after Matt Kemp nearly won the Most Valuable Player Award in 2011, and the swing McGwire saw last year was very different from the powerful and unusually high finish McGwire recalled from the past.

McGwire explains it this way: A right-handed hitter drives with his left arm — his lead arm – and steers with his right. When Kemp was at his best, he had been able to lift and drive the ball to right-center field. But last year, Kemp still seemed to be recovering from the shoulder surgery he had in the fall of 2012, and McGwire never really saw that classic Kemp finish. Rather, his front arm was noticeably lower in his follow-through, and, instead of lifting the ball, he tended to hit looping liners without much carry, a lingering sign that his repaired shoulder was not yet operating at 100 percent.

On Friday morning, before the Dodgers’ exhibition against the White Sox, McGwire saw that old swing again. …

In case you missed it: Chone Figgins means business

Los Angeles Dodgers first full squad workoutBy Jon Weisman

Happy Day of the Leaders of the Executive Branch …

  • Non-roster invitee Chone Figgins talked with Bill Plunkett of the Register about his … well, maybe it’s too strong to call it a comeback attempt in the traditional sense, but close enough, you know?

    … By the end of his lost season, Figgins had decided he would work out for scouts during the winter in hopes of landing an invitation to someone’s spring camp.

    He did that on Jan. 15 with about 10 teams sending scouts. The Dodgers sent Vance Lovelace, vice president for player personnel and a close advisor to General Manager Ned Colletti.

    “Usually a guy with 10, 12 years in the big leagues or whatever – you go see a guy’s workout and he’ll do, like, 10, 15 minutes,” Lovelace said. “This guy worked out for a good 45 minutes. He ran the 60 (in 6.3 seconds, according to Figgins). He hit from both sides of the plate. He was a one-man infield but he took balls in center field, he took balls at third base, he took balls at shortstop, second base. It was the full gamut.”

    Figgins joked that it was “a full high-school workout” but acknowledged it was a very humbling “reality check” for an 11-year major-league veteran. …

    Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles has more.

  • Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. has a good news feature on why salary arbitration is a necessary evil, with first-hand quotes from Ned Colletti, Don Mattingly and Tim Wallach, among others.
  • Dodger president and CEO Stan Kasten did a one-on-one interview with Ken Gurnick of
  • Gurnick also mentions the annual clubhouse ping-pong tournament, with Clayton Kershaw commissioner and Ellen Kershaw assistant commissioner and poster artist.
  • A nice pass-along from J.P. Hoornstra of the Daily News: this front page of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle from October 1916. I’ll leave it to you to find the gems.
  • This was a fun bit of President’s Day trivia from Bill Cluck at Gammons Daily: pitching win leaders by presidential term.  Paul Derringer, anyone?

In case you missed it: Sandy Koufax applies for regular job presenting awards to Clayton Kershaw

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By Jon Weisman

We’re all in awe of Sandy Koufax, but Koufax seemed in awe of Clayton Kershaw while presenting him with his National League Cy Young Award over the weekend (in the video above):

“Clayton Kershaw is not my protege,” Koufax said. “Clayton Kershaw is his own person, his own man, and he’s done it all himself. … He’s a very special pitcher. He’s a very special teammate. He’s a very special person.”

“As a player, Clayton has never been satisfied. He has tried to get better every year. And if he gets better after the year he had this year, I’d like to apply for next year’s job of presenting this to him again.”

  • What’s the all-time Dodger team of single-season performances? Matt Snyder of makes his picks.
  • Keith Law of ranks the Dodgers’ farm system 11th in baseball.

    “A very top-heavy system like Baltimore’s, with two elite guys at the top and three solid guys after, followed by a lot of reliever/fifth starter depth. They did have some intriguing arms in short-season ball who could push this system’s overall value up a lot by next year, especially since none of their top eight prospects are likely to lose eligibility in 2014.”

  • In this post about the superb hitting by Dodger pitchers last season, Daniel Brim of Dodgers Digest notes that it was the fourth-best performance since 1990. Though Zack Greinke figures to regress after his phenomenal season at the plate, Dan Haren (career .240 on-base percentage) might help the cause.
  • Charlie Osgood, who pitched in one game for the Dodgers in 1944 during World War II at age 17, has passed away, notes Baseball Happenings (via Blue Heaven). He was a nephew of famous Dodger coach Clyde Sukeforth.
  • A type of protective cap for pitchers to use on the mound has been approved by MLB, reports William Weinbaum for “We’re excited to have a product that meets our safety criteria,” Halem told “Outside the Lines,” adding that baseball will continue its efforts to come up with more options.
  • Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach will host a game between the Brevard County Manatees and Lakeland Flying Tigers on April 15 in celebration of Jackie Robinson Day.
  • Recent Dodger signee Chone Figgins is among the baseball veterans attempting to make comebacks that Cliff Corcoran writes about at, but the most interesting tidbit might be about Mark Mulder, who is trying things out with the Angels.

    “By 2011, Mulder had settled into retirement as an analyst for ESPN, but while watching Dodgers lefty Paco Rodriguez pitch in last year’s playoffs Mulder was inspired to imitate his delivery and discovered that doing so restored the life on his pitches.

  • Peter Gammons wrote at Gammons Daily that the Dodgers are the team to beat in the National League West, but that the division will be interesting this year.
  • The inimitable Pete Seeger, who passed away Monday, can be heard discussing baseball — including the integration effort — on these videos shared by Craig Calcaterra at Hardball Talk.
  • Following up on the first day of the Dodgers’ Pitching in the Community Caravan, Courtney Jones and bring some great stuff in this video.[mlbvideo id=”31325787″ width=”400″ height=”224″ /]

It’s official: Dodgers sign Chone Figgins

By Jon Weisman

The Dodgers have confirmed that they have signed utility man Chone Figgins to a minor-league deal, with an invite to major-league camp, following a workout for scouts last week (covered in detail by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports).

After a successful tenure with the Angels that earned him a four-year deal with Seattle, Figgins struggled considerably in three years up north (.585 OPS is the short version), then was out of the majors in 2013 but impressed enough at his showcase last week to earn a spot in the Dodger roster competition.

Los Angeles also is bringing back Trayvon Robinson on a minor-league deal. The 26-year-old Robinson, who went to Seattle in the 2011 three-team deal that brought Stephen Fife, Tim Federowicz and Juan Rodriguez to the Dodgers, had a .272 on-base percentage and .330 slugging in 319 plate appearances with the Mariners, spread over two seasons. Seattle then traded him to Baltimore, for whom he spent 2013 in the minors (.329/.394).

Robinson piqued considerable interest when he excelled for Chattanooga in 2010 and Albuquerque in 2011.

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