As Figgins rumours swirl, Jays surface in talks: Why Kouzmanoff would be a nice fit.

I’m pretty sure that if Honus Wagner were to resurrect himself from the grave and announce a comeback, Alex Anthopoulos would “kick the tires” on his services.  “…maybe on an incentive-laden” deal would be the twitter cry from fans.

A couple days after speculation arose that the Jays may be interested in the Rangers’ Michael Young (albeit totally aimless speculation), the Jays are said to be involved in trade talks for another third baseman or two.

Rumours began to swirl earlier today that the A’s were in talks with the Mariners about the services of infielder Chone Figgins.

Figgins was signed to a 4-year/$36-million deal in December of 2009 by Seattle and started off the contract by putting forth the worst season of his career.

Obviously, it’s in the best interest of a rebuilding team like the Mariners to try and unload that contract and surprisingly, it appears as though they have a taker in Oakland.

Then rumours began to surface that a third team was involved in the trade talks and of course, that team was the Blue Jays.

Speculation immediately arose among fans that the Jays could be the team acquiring Figgins, but this probably isn’t the case.  Figgins is guaranteed $26-million over the next three seasons and could receive a fourth season worth $9-million if he reaches 600 plate appearances in 2013.  Just like with Young, it’s unlikely that Anthopoulos wants a contract of that nature on a player who has shown he’s in sharp decline.

However, if the A’s were to make room for Figgins, the speculation is that they would trade third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff, which is more than likely where the Jays come in.

Kouzmanoff avoided arbitration with the A’s on the 18th when he re-signed for $4.75-million; a more than manageable salary.

People will point to Kouzmanoff’s .283 on-base percentage in 2010 and his career mark of .302 as a reason to stay away from him, but he might be a nice fit in Toronto.

He’s only guaranteed for this season and has one more year of arbitration eligibility left, he is miles better defensively than both Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista who are the current in-house candidates to man the position, and he’s spent his whole career in heavily-slanted pitcher’s parks (three seasons in San Diego’s Petco Park and last season in Oakland’s Coliseum).

In fact, a quick look at his home and road splits in his career tell you he may be a much better offensive player in Toronto.

At home, Kouzmanoff has a .242/.288/.386 line, while on the road his line is .272/.315/.461, making for a 113 OPS+ away from two of the most notorious pitcher’s parks in the game.

A move to a noted hitter’s park such as Rogers Center could really help Kouzmanoff and he’d be a great fit for the Jays.

No word yet on who would be sent back to Oakland and Seattle in a potential deal, so far things appear to be fairly undeveloped.

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