Friday, December 4, 2009
Updated: December 5, 12:56 PM ET
Source: Figgins, Mariners near deal
By Jayson Stark
The Seattle Mariners are "very close" Friday night to finishing off a deal that will make Chone Figgins their next third baseman, a source familiar with the club's negotiations told ESPN.
The 32-year-old Figgins would be guaranteed $36 million over four years, but there were indications the deal would also include a vesting option for 2014 that could boost the total value to the neighborhood of $45 million.
Seattle has aggressively pursued Figgins to replace Adrian Beltre at third base. The Mariners offered Beltre arbitration, but know Beltre is seeking a long-term deal elsewhere and don't expect him to accept it.
A fascinating, but still unanswered, question is how the Mariners would fit Figgins and Ichiro Suzuki in their lineup.
Figgins has batted leadoff for the Los Angeles Angels in all but two games over the last two seasons, and was second only to Derek Jeter in on-base percentage (.395) among AL leadoff hitters. But Ichiro has been a fixture in the leadoff hole in Seattle for the last nine years, aside from 13 games in the No. 3 slot in 2002 and 2004.
Jayson Stark is a senior baseball writer for ESPN.com.