Mariners seeking trade market for Figgins

While Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik talked Monday of Chone Figgins competing for the team’s third-base job this spring, there were indications the club is attempting to deal the veteran and has talked to Colorado about their interest in dealing outfielder Seth Smith as the Winter Meetings opened in Dallas.

The Rockies might be willing to move Smith, who is entering salary arbitration for the first time this offseason after making just $429,000 last year. The Mariners clearly would have to absorb a considerable portion of Figgins’ contract in such a deal, with the infielder still owed $17 million over the next two years and coming off a season in which he hit just .188.

Smith, 29, batted .284 with 15 home runs and 59 RBIs last year with a .347 on-base percentage and .483 slugging percentage. He’s had 47 home runs over the past three seasons, with most of his playing time coming in platoon situations against right-handed pitchers.

As for Figgins and the third-base situation, Zduriencik said he was comfortable with the veteran competing with rookies Kyle Seager and Alex Liddi for the job this spring.

“Right now we have Figgy, who I think has been in a real good frame of mind this winter,” Zduriencik said. “When he left he was determined to come back and have a comeback year. He let that be known to us, that he’s been disappointed in himself the last two years and really wants to come back and be our every-day third baseman.

“You also have guys like Seager and Liddi that feel the same way. This is competition and you have to respect all of their feelings. Figgins is a veteran guy who has had a couple down years. And you’ve got a guy like Seager who has done some nice things for us, so you let them fight it out in Spring Training. And Liddi is a young guy who has a brief time in the big leagues. We’ll let them come in and we’ll watch them all in Spring Training.”

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