The Detroit Tigers did not want to bring back Magglio Ordonez for the 2011 season with a $15 million salary. Thus, they declined the final option year on his contract.
Upon making that decision, however, general manager Dave Dombrowski made it known that he was open to Ordonez returning. The feeling is mutual, based on what Ordonez told Venezuelan newspaper Diario Panorama.
“I want to stay in Detroit, obviously,” Ordonez said, as reported by [Augusto] Cardenas on his twitter account @ACardenas13. “I have my friends, my teammates. I know the organization has been very good to me and the fans have treated me great. … I think there is a great chance to stay in Detroit, but let’s see what happens.”
Ordonez said his broken ankle has healed about 90 percent, and would like to play winter ball for the first time since 2002 to get back in shape.
Bless You Boys further translated the Venezuelan report, and mentions that Ordonez still needs to strengthen the muscles around the ankle before he can put full weight on it.
The question now is how the Tigers will approach a new contract with Ordonez from here on out. Will the team offer him arbitration? They have until Nov. 23 to make that decision. But the Tigers seem more likely to let Ordonez set his value on the free agent market, rather than through the arbitration process.
What the Tigers will also have to determine is how interested other teams are in signing Ordonez. If there’s a strong chance he could go elsewhere, Ordonez’s Type A free agent status would yield a compensation pick in next year’s draft if he’s offered arbitration.
That’s a risk Detroit lost out on last year when they let Placido Polanco go without such an offer, despite strong interest from the Philadelphia Phillies.
Given the down market for free agent outfielders in recent years, however, the Tigers can probably wait for Ordonez to meet their price. Bobby Abreu and Johnny Damon had to settle for far less than their perceived value over the past two offseasons, and Jermaine Dye didn’t receive any contract offer. Ordonez could find himself in a similar situation.