It was inevitable really. The Miami Marlins began the 2013 offseason without a true third baseman, and while they signed Placido Polanco to man the position this year, the team is still at least looking for depth in case of injury. Polanco, after all, missed 66 games last season with injury.
Ever since the 2012 fire sale trade that relinquished the Marlins of any depth in their roster, including at third base, it seemed inevitable that the team would come to this conclusion. In a way, it was almost a self-fulfilling prophecy for Marlins fans. "Oh man, the team has no one at third base, but hey, Chone Figgins is available!" Then we would laugh after mentioning this, because Chone Figgins, sadly, is not a major league player anymore. We would laugh because it was absurd, but it was just the sort of thing the penny-pinching 2013 Marlins would resort to doing given their lack of assets and money.
Well, it happened.
#Marlins sign Chone Figgins to minor lg deal w/invite to ML camp; Bryan Petersen outrighted to NOLA w/invite to ML camp. 74 players in camp— Joe Capozzi (@joecapMARLINS) February 8, 2013
There can be no surprise to this move. Chone Figgins was a six-win player four seasons ago, after which he signed a four-year deal with the Seattle Mariners and promptly fell apart at age 31. He used to be a defensive wizard and a passable bat who depended on walking and getting on base to muster value. But since 2010, only one qualified major leaguer (ironically, Mariners teammate Brendan Ryan) has hit worse than Figgins's .227/.302/.283 (.269 wOBA) line. There can be no more depressing sight that looking at Figgins's batting line and seeing a swift decline happen right before your eyes.
Of course, he signed a minor league deal with the Marlins, and he likely will inhabit an infield position in Triple-A or get cut before spring training ends. The signing really means nothing other than an acquisition of depth for the minors in case of injury. But for a Marlins team that has done so many things to dismantle the remains of their 2012 roster, signing Figgins seemed like destiny. It was a joke among Marlins fans, but only because it was so likely to be true.
And in this moment, I am laughing. I am laughing at how bad the situation has indeed become. Of course the Marlins were the team that would end up signing Chone Figgins. It was the only way it could be.