On Trading Magglio Ordonez

Look, I like Jon Paul Morosi (apart from him spelling his first name wrong), I do. So when he broached the subject of the Tigers trading away Magglio Ordonez, I did give it some thought. About 1.5 seconds worth of it. I assumed, like most silly ideas that have no real shot of happening, that it would go away. But two days later, the idea has been picked up by a few different outlets so now I guess I should address it.

Morosi’s idea isn’t without merit. Ordonez has been a disappointment this season and because his age and injury history have cost him a step or two defensively, he isn’t great with the glove. It would seem ideal to use him primarily as the DH, but that isn’t going to happen in Detroit. As Morosi points out, the Tigers need to find ways to keep both Alex Avila and Victor Martinez in the lineup at the same time, and that means Maggs has to be an outfielder.

I think it’s far too easy to say “well, just trade him” as if that’s all it takes. In this video game world, far too many fans are under the delusion that just because a player is underperforming or no longer useful to your team, that another club will happily make a deal to help fix your problems. That’s just not the way it works. If you want to trade a player like Ordonez (or Brandon Inge), a few things have to happen. First, you have to find a team that actually values the player that you no longer value. That’s very tricky.

Think about it; if he was hitting .310, would you be talking about trading him? Of course not. But he’s not so you are. The problem is that if he was hitting .310, his trade value would be much higher than it is. Now we get to the second part: the money.

Maggs is making $10 million this season and there are very few clubs in a position to add significantly to their payroll. That means that if you do find a club that values Ordonez more highly than you do, that club also has to be able to take on the salary. If they can’t (and they probably can’t), now you need to eat part of (or even most of) Ordonez’s salary just to make the deal happen. There is a trade-off there, of course, by doing so you likely increase the return on the trade, but you are still dealing away Ordonez and paying the other club to take him.

Oh but that is not all. Ordonez (like Inge – and really this column works for both) has full no-trade rights thanks to their 10-and-5 status (10 seasons in the majors, the last five with the same club) which means they can veto any deal. That means a lot to the veteran guys and it shouldn’t be dismissed in your minds. You you really think that a guy like Ordonez, who has never won a World Series, will be happy to walk away from a first place club so he can go DH in Seattle? I don’t see that as likely.

There will be a lot of clamoring by fans that want Andy Dirks and Brennan Boesch to play full-time. Yes, the outfield defense will be improved with Dirks in the lineup, but the Tigers are probably stuck with Magglio in rightfield anyway. In his two games since coming off the DL, Ordonez has gotten to a couple of balls I didn’t think he’d get to in the outfield and he has twice shown an accurate (and still strong enough) throwing arm. At the plate, he has stung at least three balls that were snagged by infielders, shots that easily could have been hits, but he has just a single to show for his efforts.

But watching him move around in right and watching him during those at bats, I think he’s healthy for the first time this year. And a healthy Maggs makes the Tigers a much better team overall. Not just better, but much better.

I just don’t think the Tigers want to trade him. And they’d have to really want to trade him to make it happen, because doing so would be very difficult.

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Tags: Brandon Inge Detroit Tigers Jon Paul Morosi Magglio Ordonez

  • Chris Hannum

    I think the ‘market’ for Ordonez would be reminiscent of the one for Mondesi in ’02.

    • http://detroitbaseballpage.com dbp_mickey

      John Verburg and I were talking about that article a couple days ago. We decided Morosi had a deadline coming up with no idea what to write on. So he just kinda pulled that out of his own…well you know.

      I like Morosi though. He’s a real down to earth guy.

  • stephen grosberg

    Forget the wishful thinking of a trade, eat the contract which shouldn’t hace existed in the first place, and decide Dirks/Wells vs. Ordonez. Stats determine action, the more stats the better. Dirks vs. Ordonez is easy. Wells vs. Ordonez needs more stats. The platoon of Dirks and Ordonez is an easy decision, until we see more stats. As far as I’m concerned, Andy Dirks has earned playing time. I hope Wells gets a chance somehow, on a limited basis to determine if he goes down when Inge comes back.

    • Chris Hannum

      It all depends on Ordonez’ health. He does actually have talent that justifies his $10 million paycheck. Anyone vs. April Ordonez is an easy choice – play anyone but Maggs. Dirks/Wells vs. 2010 Ordonez is also an easy choice, in favor of Ordonez.

      • stephen grosberg

        Unfortunately, this is 2011. Believe me he’s not the same player. Another 10 mil down the drain. That’s only the beginning since it impedes the development of Dirks/Wells. Also Rhymes/Henry can play OF. Jamie Johnson is developing OK too.

        • Chris Hannum

          I’m bullish on Jamie Johnson too, but I don’t think he’s a ‘Leyland Guy’.

        • http://motorcitybengals.com John Parent

          I hope you’re not seriously suggesting that Will Rhymes is a better OF option than Magglio is right now. I really hope you’re not. C’mon, man.

  • Pingback: Why The Detroit Tigers Aren’t Trading Magglio Ordonez This Season « Detroit Jock City | A Detroit Sports blog

  • stephen grosberg

    I’m suggesting they platoon Dirks and Ordonez until Ordonez earns the spot by himself. Wells/Rhymes/Henry(when off the DL0, Johnson are only alternatives in a DL. Wells also deserves AB where possible. I try to think ahead, based on stats. For example, Austin Wood and Chance Ruffin are forming a strong combo at Erie. Rawley Bishop could be a 3B when he starts hitting again. Justin Henry is a huge sleeper. Brandon Douglas will hit for average again, but Rhymes Worth are ahead of him. Jamie Johnson is not a JL guy, but he could be first up in a DL, if RhymesHenry aren’t considered. I’ll GIVE UP when the stats tell me to. Scott Thorman at Toledo is a waste. Brooks Brown is also close to joining Thorman. Sorensen and Weber are showing signs of life. BOTTOM LINE, PLATOON ORDONEZ/DIRKS for now till they EARN more.

  • Al Kaline

    It’s been several days now that Maggs has been back. If he continues to hit he could be trade bait, especially to a team like Boston. The Sox need to find someone to play RF, now that Drew is having a horrible year at the plate. If Lowrie gets better and off the DL in 2 weeks that might free
    up Scuturo for a trade. Scuturo would fit well at 2nd base.