To Magglio or not to Magglio… That is the question…
I’ll warn you right off the bat that this article will be slightly biased.Â Magglio Ordonez is my Tiger, has been since he played for the ChiSox (I had a little party in my head when he signed with Detroit in 2005) and always will be my Tiger.Â It will break my cold, dead, crusty little heart if he decides to put on another team’s uniform in the 2011 season.Â But alas, I am a fan of the team and the needs of the team come before my own simple wants and desires.Â But here is a little synopsis of the thoughts running through my little congested mind about the situation at hand on the (hopeful) re-signing of free agent Magglio Ordonez to my beloved Detroit Tigers.
There are many reasons why the Tigers should not bring back Magglio.Â I’ll start with those as they don’t need as much justificationÂ to the reasoning as my yeses do.Â Magglio will be 37 in January of 2011 – obviously the twilight of his career.Â He is slowing down in right field and would be relegated to mostly the DH position if he was to return.Â Magglio also is going to be spending the this off season rehabbing a complexly broken right ankle suffered on a nasty slide into home plate in late July.Â That may have been the most expensiveÂ broken ankle in history as itÂ caused Magglio not to complete the requirements needed for his contract to re-up for the 2011 season, saving the Tigers his $15 million guaranteed contract extension for 2011.Â The Tigers brass could have picked that option up at the end of the season but smartly declined.Â The Tiger’s roster is going young, after being ridiculed in 2007 and 2008 for having too many aging veterans, they got young in a hurry this season with the plethora of rookies that graced Comerica Park.Â Magglio doesn’t fit that equation of young and fleet of foot.
Magglio was on track to be the comeback player of the year until his terrible slide a little more than midway through the season.Â He was hitting .303 prior to his injury with a .852 OBS, 59 RBI, 17 doubles and 40 walksÂ – not bad for an aging player.Â Magglio proved in 2010 that his bat still had quite a bit of pop left in it and he could drive in runners, not to mention he was a great table setter for Miguel Cabrera by getting on base in the #3 hole for Miguel to drive in sitting in the #4 slot.Â Magglio proved his worth to the team, just not his $15 million worth.
The Tigers have a need next season for someone who can actually hit the ball with regular consistency – thisÂ has always been the bread and butterÂ ofÂ Magglio’s career.Â His fielding has been on the decline for years and he was never known to be light on his feet and fast.Â If indeed he was to return to the Tigers, he would more than likely be set primarily in the DH role.Â The conflict being that the DH role is pretty much dominated by Carlos Guillen and his $13 salary.Â My answer – cut Guillen.Â With 3 extended trips to the DL this past season and no clear fielding role, the Tigers need to letÂ Guillen go for someone who can be productive.Â The Tigers have cut bigger names with bigger salaries quicker (ahem, Gary Sheffield).Â Â Guillen is past his prime and deteriorating rapidly.Â Magglio seems to have an edge on him in the health category and he historically has hit at a higher BA (Magglio’s .312 to Guillen’s .286) … signÂ MagglioÂ instead of Guillen to ensure consistency and actual playing time, not DL time.
Magglio and his representation (super agent Scott Â Boras) need to realize that Magglio is no longer worth his seven figure paydays.Â Magglio is still a great player – a player worth paying, but no whereÂ near the tune of $15 million+.Â The best thing for the team and for Magglio is to offer him a heavy incentive laden contract.Â Magglio (like everyone in the world) is working for money and there is no shame in pay for play.Â I think a great starting offer to the Tigers from the Ordonez/Boras camp would be 2 yrs $8 million with incentives for RBI’s, HR, runs and possibly plate appearances.Â Boras is the king of negotiating intense, intricate, language ladenÂ contracts and he has a great history and report with team president Dave Dombrowski.Â Negotiations will be long and detailed and more than likely draining, but Dave likes to work with Scott so things would be a plus in that category.
The Tigers are a team that has long been too expensive for the market they play in.Â With a payroll this season exceeding $130 million, the team has many costly contracts coming off the books this fall.Â Magglio’s contract is gone as well as Jeremy Bonderman, Johnny Damon, Dontrelle Willis and Brandon Inge to name a few (the team has made Inge an undisclosed offer at this time).Â The Tigers need to find a way to bring in excellent talent and lower the pay roll at the same time.Â The needs are many for the Tigers – a possible full time catcher, corner outfielders, starting pitcher, a consistent bat or two (preferably one left handed one).Â Magglio will fill the need for one of those bats – as long as he agrees thatÂ when you are past your prime, you don’t make prime money anymore.
Magglio doesn’t act quite like a player who is ready to pack his bags, stake the “for sale” sign on his lawn and leave town.Â Magglio has expressed publicly that it would be great to be back with his team that he has been with for the last six years.Â This is the team that he powered into the 2006 World Series.Â This is the team where he has fans that love him, cheer for him, wear his jerseys and occasionally the long curly wig makes an appearance at Comerica Park.Â This public expression of his want to stay, along with the statements from Miguel Cabrera that he wants Magglio to stayÂ would not paint the picture of a man who is walking out the door.Â Miguel Cabrera is the star of the team, the bread and butter for ticket sales and the man no one in the Tigers management wants to make unhappy – what Miguel Cabrera wants, he will more than likely get.
Magglio has built strong ties to the greater Detroit community over the last 6 seasons.Â Â Â He has several charitable interests here that would be tough for him to break away from.Â He regularly participates in fundraising activities, such as Tigers winter caravan, free ticket giveaways to organizations and charities, sponsoring Hispanic youth to attend Fiesta Tigres and .Â He and his family also have a college scholarship set up in his name which is given out a student in the south west Detroit community annually.Â Recently, Magglio donated money to renovate a ballpark in Detroit which has been renamed “Magglio Ordonez Field”.Â This doesn’t include his charitable donations to the Tigers Dreams Come True organization.Â
In reality, the resigning of Magglio will come down to one thing – money.Â To this the Tigers need to realize that Magglio is a man with pride and isn’t going to sing on the dotted line for chump change.Â He wants to play, and you have to payÂ for play.Â Magglio and his representation need to realize that it is nothing but risky to sign an aging player on the down slide of his career coming off an injury – regardless of the history and stats that have been historically strong.Â The positives and negatives need to be weighed thoroughly on both sides of the negotiating table.Â Â But for Magglio, is it worth relocating the family?Â Is it worth starting over on another team with new coaches and teammates?Â Is it worth giving up the legacy and name you have made for yourself here over a few bucks (of which he has made MILLIONS)?Â Is it worth leaving your charitable legacy behind?Â Â Essentially the ball is in Magglio’s court, The Tigers have already expressed interest in resigning him atÂ a lower salary.Â He will be the decision maker in this deal.Â Some of us Tiger fans hope money doesn’t cloud his decision and his future with our team.