It was mentioned in the comments yesterday that Mike Wilner asked Aaron Hill in a recent interview if the player who had indicated to Lighthouse his interest in playing in Toronto had a name that rhymed with "Phone Higgins".
To be honest, we'd never been much a of Figgins fan in the past, having written him off as a bit of a slap and dash type with marginal fielding skills. Seeing him boot a couple of balls in a playoff game against the Red Sox has probably stuck with us, and we're always a bit wary of guys who put up high averages but mediocre slugging.
But in recent months, we've started to come around on the free-agent-to-be, and we're ready to start visualizing him as Jay next year, if only so that we can be disappointed this offseason.
After a lousy season in 2008 (.685 OPS, 1 HR, 72 runs scored), Figgins has rebounded nicely this year, with 100 runs scored, a .404 OBP and .406 SLG. He still gets thrown out more than we'd like to see (16 times versus 39 steals), but he'd make an ideal top of the lineup option for the Jays in 2010, should they need one.
(Although there's a good argument to be made that Marco Scutaro's numbers are better, and we fully expect our wise and sage-like readers to make that argument in the comments.)
Also, Fangraphs tells us that we shouldn't believe our lying eyes when it comes to Figgins' defense, as he ranks third in the majors amongst third basemen with a 13.0 UZR/150. Only Evan Longoria and Ryan Zimmerman (13.8 and 16.1) rank ahead of him.
Speaking of Zimmerman...
MLB Trade Rumo(u)rs' Tim Dierkes makes the argument that the Nationals should consider putting Zimmerman up for auction in order to replenish a lagging farm system. Zimmerman is in the midst of an outstanding season (.372 OBP, .527 SLG, 27 HRs and 90 RsBI), and is locked up through 2013 at a fairly reasonable rate.
And though it seems as if he's been around forever, Zimmerman is still only 24 years old, which is nearly a full year younger than Brian Dopirak, and just about a year older than J.P. Arencibia.
We're not necessarily thinking that the Nats will offer him up, but if there is a guy who might be worth selling the farm for, it would be Zimmerman.