Owner Arte Moreno has said he wants to keep the payroll the same as it was this past season. With Lackey and Figgy headed for the free-agent market this winter--and neither obviously interested in a salary freeze next season (as the owners like to remind players, it is a business)--that means there is no room on the roster for both.
It's a very tough call. Based on their respective performances in the playoffs, Lackey gets the nod. Based on day-in and day-out contributions (in so many ways) during the regular season, Figgins is clearly nails.
Guess that means you'd have to look at whose absence would cause the least amount of disruption to the current squad. The Halos have other good arms, some would even contend Lackey is not the ace (or that no one is).
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But it is Figgins, who can play any position and was anchored to third base last season, has prospect Brandon Woods breathing down his neck.
There is also this option: With Moreno having essentially written off former franchise player Vlad Guerrero, split the savings from that high salary between Lackey and Figgins and hope it's enough to keep both in Anaheim.
Ah, but Arte is hot to spend that on Jason Bay. And if the Angels lose the Bay sweepstakes and keep Lackey and Figgins with hefty raises, there's the little matter of replacing Vlady without raising the payroll.
Tough, tough decision.