Sometimes, It’s difficult to remember that during this time of year, we are dealing usually with rumor and speculation. In recent weeks, the Tigers had been connected to the free agency of outfielder Jayson Werth on numerous occasions and my numerous outlets. The Tigers interest was rumored to range from mild to serious and there appeared to be enough smoke surrounding Werth and the Tigers that reasonable people could assume that some level of interest surely must have existed.
Not the case, says Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski. In an email to the Team’s website, Dombrowski stated that the Tigers “were not involved” with talks with Werth. The same thing that Dombrowski had to the Free Press earlier in the evening. Obviously, at this point it doesn’t much matter whether or not the Tigers were actively pursuing Werth. He’s a National now. But if we assume that Dombrowski is looking at outfield options, as he has stated, and we assume that he’s also telling the truth about Werth, that really leaves only two options that the Tigers could be considering: a re-union with Magglio Ordonez, or possibly making a run at Carl Crawford.
Werth’s insane contract sets the market quite high and figures to help both Ordonez and Crawford in terms of how their new deals will shake out. Crawford is now seeking 8 years and $170 million, or so it has been said. Ordonez had figured to settle for an $8-9 million deal, perhaps getting two years. Now, the years seem a given and Ordonez may yet fetch $10 million per year.
I still think that it’s extremely unlikely that the Tigers are serious suitors for Crawford. Scott Boras, Ordonez’s agent, has confirmed that he and the Tigers have had many conversations about Ordonez and that the two sides would continue to talk at this week’s Winter Meetings. With Werth off the board, Ordonez now becomes the second-best outfield option remaining. It will be interesting to see how things play out.
It had been assumed that Ordonez was the Tigers’ plan B if they were to miss out on Werth. Now it appears as if Ordonez may have been their first choice all along. That would leave you to wonder, should Magglio sign elsewhere as well, where do the Tigers turn next for answers in right field? My guess is that Dombrowski may be working on a trade scenario. But if that’s the case, we won’t know until it happens.