#14 - CHONE FIGGINS, U
Along with David Eckstein, the acquisition of Chone Figgins from the Rockies in exchange for a minor league player stands as the greatest legacy of Angels GM Bill Stoneman - something for nothing or in the case of the Figgy acquisition, over 22 Wins Above Replacement in eight seasons in exchange for Kimera Bartee who gave Colorado negative -0.4 WAR in less than a full season before being out of baseball.
Desmond DeChone Figgins was called to the majors during the heat of the 2002 playoff chase. He was primarily a pinch runner. Before the 2003 season had ended, his role evolved as his defensive flexibility became apparent. He played 3B, SS and 2B but Mike Scioscia had no trouble putting him in the outfield. The advanced defensive metrics available to us today would never confuse him for Ozzie Smith, but after a few years of consistently being the Angels 3B he managed 3.2 Defensive Wins Above Replacement when he played 154 games at the hot corner in the 2009 season.
But in between, Figgy moved around so much that Angels broadcaster would play a pregame version of "Where's Waldo" and ask "Where's Figgy tonight?" before revealing that game's lineup. He started 80 games at 3B and 37 in the outfield in 2004 and then in 2005 he started 45 games in CF, 48 at 3B and 36 at 2B. In 2006 he started 106 games in the outfield but in 2007 he started 96 games at 3B
At the plate, Figgins was a perpetual work in progress. Always afflicted with high strikeout totals he had never had more than 64 walks in a full season when he drew 101 in 2009 at age 31. He led baseball with 62 Stolen Bases in 2005 but swooned to half that in 2008 when he slumped with a OPS+ of 83 in and 100 strikeouts in only 453 Plate Appearances. Of course that makes his high-water mark 2009 season all the more impressive.
When he had his 7.7 WAR season in 2009, at the time it was the fourth best year by an Angel ever and still ranks sixth all time. Figgy had 3.2 Defensive WAR that year, the third best defensive season by a Halo ever and the best by an Angel at 3B. His 22.3 career WAR ranks ninth in club history and his 20.3 Offensive WAR ranks eighth. His .363 On Base Percentage ranks eighth, one point behind Bobby Abreu, the teammate who mentored Figgy to take a walk now and again, leading to the hard-fought and emotionally-fraught 2009 American League West title.
Chone Figgins was a fan favorite. He is the all-time stolen base leader for the franchise with 280 Stolen bases. He broke the record of 186 set by Gary Pettis in a game against the Texas Rangers, where Pettis was the first base coach. Classy as it gets, Gary applauded along with the Angels fans. Figgy's departure in free agency came at the end of a golden decade for Angels baseball. Having been there in 2002, Chone had a front row seat for an epic run that transformed the franchise and its fan base. While he will always be a sentimental favorite, the numbers he put up for our team are some of the best years we will ever see one player give us.