When Magglio Ordonez was injured in late July against the Blue Jays, the Tigers not only lost a fan favorite, they also lost one of the franchise's most popular players from the past decade. The immediate impact of this was to end any chance Ordonez had of having his $15 million option kick in for 2011. We didn't know it at the time, but it also cost the fans the opportunity to say a possible goodbye, as he did not return in 2010.
During the 84 games Ordonez played in, he hit an above-average .852 OPS and was the rare Tiger to drive runners in from scoring position on a regular basis. He had the third-highest percentage of runners on base driven in for the team (18.1 percent), including 44 percent from third base and 18.4 percent from second.
In the field, Ordonez is nothing special. However, he is not going to embarrass himself and he has a decent throwing arm.
For his time playing, he deserves an A..
At the plate:
Via Texas Leaguers
It goes without saying Ordonez was the second-best hitter on the team in 2010, and not only because he could spread the ball around the field and hit for power. Ordonez also managed to work walks in nearly 11 percent of his plate appearances. He makes contact well too, as Fangraphs noted he doesn't swing at many pitches outside the zone and makes contact well with pitches inside it.
You want more superlatives? He was the rare Tiger who hit even better with runners on base than he did when the bases were empty.
In the field:
As always with UZR, you have to take caution about the sample size. But Ordonez was an ever-so-slightly above average right fielder.
Fans rated him slightly below average, due mostly to his running speed. His reaction, glove and arm were all given slightly above-average grades.
Ordonez's fielding is not a thing of beauty, but he gets the job done and your heart doesn't stop while the ball is in the air like it does with some corner outfielders on the team.
What 2010 tells us about 2011:
There's really nothing in Ordonez's statistics that say he can't repeat 2010's success, although you should certainly factor in a few decreases due to aging.
The real question about Ordonez is how the fractured ankle will affect his 2011 season. It occurred late in July, giving him extra healing time before the season. So that's certainly a benefit. His work ethic, too, is solid. While I always believe there should be a caution following an injury that puts a player out for a lengthy period of time, I don't think this one will hurt Ordonez's production too much. Still I'd probably factor in a little extra drop in case he's nursing any lingering problems during a cold April.
That is, if he is in Detroit. As Ordonez as a free agent, who knows where he'll be. The money the team saves on not paying the option will allow them some added flexibility, at least. But I have a feeling from the fans' viewpoint, having Ordonez back remains one of the highest priorities.