Magglio Ordonez Signs with Tigers

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After Jayson Werth and Carl Crawford were off the market, there was no doubt that Magglio Ordonez was the best available outfielder remaining. The right fielder has been the top target of the Detroit Tigers for the past several weeks and today, Dave Dombrowski and Ordonez have agreed to a one year, $10 million deal to keep Maggs in Motown.

Ordonez has been a Tiger since 2005 and was instrumental in leading the organization from punch-line status all the way to the 2006 World Series, when his walk-off two run homer capped a four-game sweep of the Oakland A’s in the ALCS. 2007 was perhaps his best season as a pro when he took home the AL batting title by hitting .363 that year and finished as runner-up to Alex Rodriguez for the AL MVP award.

After a disappointing 2009 campaign that saw hi hit just nine home runs and drive in only 50, Ordonez rebounded in a big way last year, batting better than .300 with 12 homers and 59 RBI in just 84 games before suffering a broken ankle in late July. The injury cost him the remainder of the season, and caused his vesting option (that would have paid him $15 million) to fail to kick-in. The Tigers declined the then club option and Ordonez was not offered salary arbitration. Any team could have had him without surrendering a draft pick.

Fellow Venezuelans Miguel Cabrera, Carlos Guillen, and Victor Martinez will certainly be happy to have their countryman back where he belongs; batting third, in right field. The Tigers were able to land Ordonez without a second guaranteed year, which comes as a surprise. Agent Scott Boras had been seeking a two-year, $20 million contract for the 37 year old.

I don’t know if this was case where Boras couldn’t get a two year offer elsewhere, or whether it was simply a case of Magglio wanting to stay in Detroit and agreeing to a one-year deal in order to do so. That part doesn’t ultimately matter, I don’t suppose. What matters is that with Ordonez back for another year with the Tigers, Martinez can be used in the five-hole, there’s another excellent hitter in the order, which can only mean more runs, and perhaps more importantly, The trio of young outfielders that had figured to battle for right field at bats will instead get another year to develop while the Tigers make a run at the playoff in 2011.

This is indeed a happy day for Tigers fans. They get better in 2011 and do so without having to guarantee a second year to an aging player. Quite frankly, this couldn’t have worked out better for Detroit.

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