Mariners downplay Figgins-to-A's trade rumors

January 30, 2011, 1:36 am
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SEATTLE (AP) The SeattleMariners and third baseman Chone Figgins tried to quiet trade rumorsduring the team's annual fanfest celebration Saturday.Both Figgins and general managerJack Zduriencik downplayed the possibility of a deal that would sendthe speedy, defensive standout to the Oakland Athletics. The OaklandTribune , citing unnamed sources, first reported Friday the A'sinterest in acquiring Figgins."I've always said it's a greatthing to be wanted but I want to win here," Figgins said. "I'll alwayslove playing here and like I said before this is where I want to be.Until they force me out of here this is where I'm going to be."Zduriencik said the team isgoing forward under the assumption that Figgins will be theiropening-day starter at third base. The two had a conversation whereZduriencik explained the situation to Figgins, trying to ease anyconcerns he may have had."You have general managers talk,agents talk about players - I'm not referring to this particularsituation, but the next thing you know, someone is putting two and twotogether and coming up with five," Zduriencik said."That's where this whole thingis at," he added. "What it means, our plan when we open the season,Chone is going to be our third baseman."Figgins played second base forthe Mariners last season after signing with Seattle as a free agent andstruggled early, hitting just .235 at the All-Star break.He responded with a strongsecond half by hitting .286 to lift his average to .260 for the season.Figgins is moving back to third base after the Mariners traded JoseLopez to Colorado this winter."I think I was trying to do alittle more than I was expected to do. I really wasn't attacking thegame," Figgins said of his struggles. "Once the second half hit, Isaid, 'You know what, I'm going to attack the game.' The results end upbeing probably one of the best seasons I ever had, personally, becauseof the struggles I went through earlier."Figgins has a limited no-tradeclause that is thought to include the A's as one of his blockeddestinations. When asked if he would consider waiving the clause ifapproached, Figgins responded, "Like I said, I want to be here."