Magglio Ordonez is a couple days late in rejoining the Tigers. That makes sense, given they'll be flying back to Detroit from Texas after tonight's game, and Magglio Ordonez is already in Toledo. Hey, it's not like they needed him Tuesday as they racked up 20 hits, right?
Ordonez appears to be set to return from a disabled list stint on Thursday, creating a log jam in the outfield that has to be alleviated somehow. It's probably safe to assume an outfielder will be on his way out, although knowing the Tigers you can never say these things for sure. (By the way: Ordonez has hits in four consecutive game but he's batting .286 with a .619 OPS and one extra-base hit in 21 at bats).
So that gives us three chief possibilities: Brennan Boesch, Andy Dirks and Casper Wells. The first two are left-handed batters, the final right handed. Writing those words suddenly I feel like we've had this conversation before, say about three months ago while the team was in Lakeland. At that time, the team decided to go north with a more veteran righty-lefty combination of batting and fielding. Will they do that again? Or has Dirks clawed his way to safety with several key plays with the bat and glove?
Since the season began, Boesch has already managed to fit a shortened version of 2010 into the first two or so months of 2011. In April, he was hot. He hit .319 with an .841 OPS. In May, he batted .186 with a .551 OPS. But for the past two weeks, and past week especially, he's hit as well as at any point in his career and has a 1.600 OPS in the last six games.
Dirks has not been nearly as good with the bat, understandably. He's been sort of cold for the past week overall. Yet he had 3 RBI in a two-game period and the run he drove in againstwas especially key. Against Texas, he hit a home run. What makes Dirks memorable and useful beyond that is of course his fielding. He showed that off with the run he made to make the last out in left field yesterday.
And then we have Casper Wells. Right hander. Good defender. He started off pretty cold this year. For the past 14 days he's hitting .278 with a .927 OPS but he's started in just four games. That's the least of the trio. You sometimes wonder what exactly he has to do to find his way into the lineup more often. With a right-handed batter in Ordonez returning, will his at-bats completely fall off?
So to get back to our question, who should be optioned when Ordonez returns? There's no real right or right or wrong answers, to be honest. Who's going to be? I am not certain myself. I don't think it will be Boesch. Based on playing time you'd expect it to be Wells, but Detroit has bypassed other opportunities to option him. So maybe it's Dirks.
Who do you think it should be? Who do you think it will be?