Fans of Magglio Ordonez are probably looking for some good news right about now. So I'll deliver some. I suspect he's going to be a Tiger again, and not just for one year, either.
The storyline about Ordonez's option was big last year. This season it seemed like a given he'd hit the required minimums for the option to kick in. He was healthy. He was hitting. There's no way you sit him in a division race. While 135 starts was no sure thing, 540 plate appearances seemed pretty much like a given.
And then his ankle said "no mas" on Saturday, likely costing him most of the final two months of the season. (Side note: I do not blame third-base coach Gene Lamont. Injuries happen. They are pretty random. That's baseball.)
Some scratch paper math for you. You can skip this part if you like. He's at 365 plate appearances through 84 games played. (The Tigers have played 98). So we'll call it 4.4 plate appearances a game. If he's back in six weeks, that's around Sept. 5. Eight weeks is more like Sept. 19. So he should get between 62 and 114 plate appearances. He definitely will not make it to 135 games started.
Long story short, the option will not kick in for $15 million in 2011. There is no buyout on it, either. So Sept. 26 very well could be the last time Maggs plays at Comerica Park in a Tigers uniform.
But as a I said, I'm here to bring some good news, not the scary stuff above. I really think he's going to sign a fresh contract with Detroit that keeps him in the D another two or three seasons.
Unfortunately for Ordonez, the fractured ankle will cost him money. However I think he'll get a favorable extension offer from Detroit and remain with the franchise. But I can't give you any reason for that other than "gut" and "That's the way the team operates."
I wouldn't be surprised to see a two-year deal with an option for a third season, with the package valued in the $18-$24 million range depending on the third year. Even given a bit of a step back due to aging, Ordonez should earn his keep in that range. Plus he's a very, very popular player with the fans, and keeping the paying customers happy is most definitely a good business decision.
It's not without some worry. The Tigers seem unwilling to set aside the designated hitter position for a, well, designated ... hitter. Imagine if they had made an offer to a player like Jim Thome, who is only getting on base 40 percent of the time and slugging huge numbers at a cost of $1.5 million to the Twins. I also feel like Brennan Boesch needs to play in right field on most days, rather than be flipped to left. And of course, Ordonez will be a 37-year-old coming off a fractured ankle injury.
Big picture: it feels like a deal the team could live with, the player will like and the fans will love. It's certainly not a given, but I do expect to see Ordonez in the Tigers uniform past this year.
Always a Tiger? Ordonez may not have started out as one, but he could sure finish up that way.