The Los Angeles Dodgers took a flier on Chone Figgins when they signed the veteran to a Minor League deal. Figgins played his way onto the team but after suffering a hip injury and completing his rehab, was designated for assignment.
On Wednesday, the Dodgers asked for unconditional waivers on Figgins, which will make the 36 year old a free agent. Despite no longer being with the team, Figgins is still in contact with Dee Gordon.
One topic of discussion, according to J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News Group, is Figgins’ ability to draw walks:
I don’t know how Figgy did it,” Gordon said. “He’d say stuff like … ‘I didn’t ever hit. I walked and got my hits. You hit and get your walks.’ He’s been just showing me how to do that side of it as well.”
Gordon commended Figgins’ patience and ability to take a tempting pitch:
It’s crazy,” Gordon said. “Even though he gets a bad call (on the corner), he’ll go and take it again. That’s hard to do. You’re going to take a pitch they just called a strike? That’s hard to do.”
Gordon referenced another former Dodger and their similar approach at the plate, which is different than Figgins’:
The thing with Chone, when we talk, he says I’m like Juan Pierre. I like to hit,” Gordon said. “He was more of a patient guy, patience. He never had 200 hits in a season. He had 100 walks. Juan Pierre didn’t walk a lot, either. It’s two different philosophies. I’m trying to go from one and try to incorporate (the other) one at the same time.”
In 76 plate appearances with the Dodgers this season, Figgins reached via a walk 14 times. Comparatively, Gordon only has 29 walks in 493 plate appearances. As his batting average has dipped below .290, Gordon last walked on July 22.
As the leadoff hitter, Gordon’s ability to reach is instrumental to the offense’s success. Couple that with the fleet-footed second baseman’s ability to steal a base and the Dodgers have a more than viable threat at the top of their order.
Should Gordon master the ability to draw walks on a consistent basis, the Dodgers would essentially have a complete and well-rounded leadoff batter.
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