The Tigers arrived in Orlando with one major hole to fill. They head home the same way.
While the hotel lobbies were filled for four days with rumor (and even some actual news), the Tigers weren’t able to sign the big outfield bat they’re said to covet. That doesn’t mean these meetings weren’t a success for the Tigers, most of their work was done before the meetings even began, but it does leave the fans a bit unsatisfied.
Jayson Werth made the biggest news when he signed on to join the Nationals. Werth, thought to be a target for the Tigers, wasn’t really even on their radar, so said Dave Dombrowski after the deal was done. If the Tigers weren’t after Werth, surely they must have been in on Carl Crawford, whose speed and defensive prowess would have played well in spacious Comerica Park and whose complete offensive game would have slotted in beautifully in front of Miguel Cabrera in the heart of the Tigers order.
But the Tigers weren’t ever really in on Crawford, either, bowing out as soon as they heard the asking price. With Crawford gone to Boston late last night, it has become clear that the Tigers number one priority to fill the outfield void is the man that has done so for the past six seasons: Magglio Ordonez.
Ordonez worked out in central Florida yesterday. There are conflicting reports regarding the number of teams that were invited to watch the display, but Ed Price of Fanhouse says it was for the Tigers eyes only. Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski did not confirm nor deny that report and also chose not to comment on Ordonez’s performance during the workout.
With Boston now out of the mix for Ordonez, it would appear that the Tigers stand alone as the front-runner to retain his services. The Rangers, Orioles, and Phillies are also said to be interested, but Maggs has stated that he wants to stay in Detroit. His teammates, lead by Cabrera, have been campaigning for his return as well. It seems as if it will happen eventually, but who knows how long it may take. The longer we have to wait on the Ordonez deal, the greater chance that another club will come in with a strong offer.
Scott Boras, who represents Ordonez, is said to be seeking a two-year contract paying an average of $10 million per year. Magglio isn’t getting any younger, and is coming off a broken ankle, but in his partial season last year he produced at a very high level. The Tigers still have roughly $30 million to play with before they would even reach last season’s payroll, so the money shouldn’t be an issue. I see no reason why the two sides can’t come to an agreement.
If they don’t it will likely be due to the demand of a second guaranteed year. While Boras wants two years, the Tigers are thought to be more interested in a one-year contract, possibly including an option for year two. There certainly appears to be genuine interest from both sides, so it’s hard to imagine that a deal won’t get done, especially considering that the Tigers can no longer use Werth or Crawford as leverage against Boras.
Tigers sign two minor leaguers
Detroit did not get shut out during the meetings, but their only moves were to sign a pair of players to minor league deals. Catcher Omir Santos was the first to sign, coming off a dismal 2010 season in the Mets organization. Santos will provide organizational depth and will only see major league time if there is an injury to Alex Avila or Victor Martinez during the season. Frankly, I’m not even sure he’d be the first catcher called up, as Max St. Pierre held his own in his September stint with Detroit.
The second to sign was pitcher Chris Oxspring. The 33-year-old right hander last appeared in the majors with San Diego in 2005 and has spent the past several years pitching in Australia (his native country), Korea, and Japan. I don’t expect much from him, probably depth at Triple-A, which could come in handy with the news that Alfredo Figaro is on the verge of joining a team in Japan.
Rule V Draft
The final official segment of the Winter Meetings took place this morning as the Rule V Draft was completed. The Tigers did not select a player in either the major league, nor minor league portions. They also did not lose a player in the process. Fu-Te Ni and Zach Simons, the two names that had generated the most interest, will remain in the organization.