02-09 Talking Points

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1

Is this good news, or bad news?

The Seattle Mariners are determined to try to squeeze some value out of the remaining contract of Chone Figgins, meaning he is likely to play early and often in 2012.

In fact, Geoff Baker, Mariners beat writer for the Seattle Times, sees Figgins batting leadoff.

Figgins is due about $9.5 million a year for the next two years. He is the only player other than Ichiro who has had sustained success in the leadoff role at the major league level.

And does Ichiro, the other salary albatross, bat second? Ichiro ($18 million this season) is not known for taking pitches. That alone raises questions about whether him hitting second is a good idea.

Ichiro, pounding out singles, many of the infield variety, does not profile as a No. 3 hitter, either.

The M’s are likely to go with second baseman Dustin Ackley in the No. 3 spot, then some combination of Justin Smoak and Jesus Montero at Nos. 4 and 5.

Do the M’s drop Ichiro all the way to No. 8 or No. 9? Do they relegate him to Josh Wilson status?

2

Here’s another reason why the NFL is king: Given the disappointing quality in its all-star game, the league commissioner says maybe the Pro Bowl should be eliminated.

The fans in Hawai’i booed during portions of this year’s game, won by the AFC 59-41.

On ESPN radio, hours before the Super Bowl, commissioner Roger Goodell said: “We are going to either have to improve the quality of what we are doing in the Pro Bowl or consider other changes, or even consider eliminating the game if that is the kind of quality of game we are going to provide.”

Goodell said he has spoken to the NFL Players Association about the matter.

An all-star game in late January after a grueling season that began in July is unnecessary.

The NFL doesn’t need it.