We know the Tigers need a starting right fielder, and we know they'd prefer to find one on the free agent market than internally. If they're serious about contending for the division title, they really don't have much choice. So in all likelihood, the question comes down to this: Do they go with Jayson Werth or Magglio Ordonez? The nice thing is, as long as they get one or the other they should be OK for the next couple of years. There's positives and negatives about both.
The Tigers should sign Magglio Ordonez because:
- He's a known quantity, a popular player.
- We know he can hit well in the American League and Comerica Park. He's had an OPS of 800 or better since 2005. He consistently hits for a .300 or better batting average
- He's going to cost less, probably $18-20 million total for two years with the possibility of an option for the third year.
- So we can feel pretty confident the contract will be several years shorter, allowing the team flexibility in a couple of years if the free-agent market improves.
- Not a Type A free agent (to clarify, this means he wouldn't cost Detroit draft picks)
The Tigers should sign Jayson Werth because:
- His WAR value has been higher than Ordonez's three of the past four seasons.
- His OPS has been .850 or higher the past four years, including .921 last season.
- Plus he had 46 doubles to go with 27 home runs.
- He can hit in the third or fifth spots, it doesn't matter which.
- He's an above average fielder.
- He'll be a popular Tiger, as he's got the personality to fit in right away.
The Tigers shouldn't sign Magglio Ordonez because:
- He's not as good right now as Werth.
- He's going to be 37 years old during the 2011 season and 38 during 2012.
- He's coming off a broken ankle injury.
- He's not a great fielder and will need to spend some time at the DH position.
The Tigers shouldn't sign Werth because:
- He'll be moving from the NL to the AL, and from a ballpark conducive for hitting home runs to one that isn't.
- His best years were spent in that Phillies ballpark. He was kind of mediocore or average before he reached Philly, so maybe the ballpark made the stats.
- His career year was the 2010 season and he'll be paid as if he'll be able to repeat it, or at least come close, a few more times during his next contract.
- That contract will probably be for five or six years, and at least $16 million a year. That ties up a lot of money for a long time, a big risk for a right fielder already in his 30s.
Choose Ordonez if:
- You're a sentimentalist and just can't get 2006 and 2007 out of your mind
- You don't think Werth will be worth the cost after the first two or three years of his deal
- You like the flexibility signing Ordonez for fewer dollars and fewer years gives the team.
- You think Ordonez still has a few good years left and you want to see them in The D.
Choose Werth if:
- You want to make sure the team is as good as it can be -- the position players anyway -- in 2011 and 2012.
- You like the personality.
- Fielding is important to you.
- You believe he can find a way to hit successfully in Detroit.
- You believe he's a late bloomer who'll be able to hang on for a few years.
- You think $16-17 million won't be that big a deal to the Tigers in 2014-15.
I'm sure I didn't even hit all the bullet points, so feel free to add some of your own.
So with the Winter Meetings coming up next Monday, which player would you like to see the Tigers choose to be their right fielder?