The Pittsburgh Pirates have not been hitting the ball all that well lately, and they are now starting to lose games because of it. One reason for this is because the Pirates are relying on players like Michael Martinez and Jayson Nix to play well for them. Both of these players are below replacement level, and one option to replace them would be Chone Figgins.
Figgins started the year with the Los Angeles Dodgers and was recently designated for assignment by the team after he completed his injury rehab. This is mostly because the Dodgers had no spot on their roster for him. Figgins is most famous for his great years with the Los Angeles Angels and how he then signed a mega deal with the Seattle Mariners only to be a gigantic bust for the team. However, Figgins, now 36, is starting to revitalize his career.
When you look at Figgins’ short career with the Dodgers, his numbers don’t look all that impressive. He is only hitting .217 with a low OPS, but here is where Figgins is valuable. He gets on base a lot at a clip of over .300 to be specific. He did the same in his rehab assignment with the Dodgers. Figgins hit .286 with an on-base percentage just under .400 in triple-A. That aligns with the Pirates, who have the highest on-base percentage in baseball. Figgins is a guy who hits at the top of the order, so a high slugging percentage is not expected.
Figgins has speed to be a threat on the bases as well, which is something the Pirates are missing while Andrew McCutchen is down. Figgins is also a super utility player the Pirates need since Josh Harrison has become the everyday third baseman. He can play all three outfield spots, third base and second base. Nix has tried to take that role but has not been a very good option.
This is all pure speculation, but the Pirates do need a short-term upgrade on their bench. Nix and Martinez have not done well in their stints in the majors while Figgins has had minor success. Figgins gets on-base at a high clip like the rest of the team. It seems like a perfect match, and he is obviously an upgrade. It will be interesting to see if the Pirates decide to go down this route, but don’t be surprised if they claim or sign Figgins in the coming days.