MLB: Tigers finalize Ordonez’s $10 million contract
AP Sports Writer
It turns out the Detroit Tigers were serious when they said they might bring back Magglio Ordonez.
After declining a $15 million option in October, the Tigers finalized Ordonez’s $10 million, one-year deal Friday. They’ll hope for a full season from him after he was limited to 84 games in 2010.
Ordonez broke his right ankle in July.
“I’m excited to be back in Detroit,” Ordonez said during a conference call Friday. “I like the organization, my teammates, my owner and everything around the Detroit Tigers and I want to be comfortable. At this point of my career, I don’t want to be bouncing around.”
General manager Dave Dombrowski said from the start the team was open to bringing back Ordonez, but it didn’t seem like much of a priority when the Tigers spent millions to add Victor Martinez and Joaquin Benoit, while also making sure Brandon Inge and Jhonny Peralta remained.
There still was room in the lineup for another power hitter, though, so Detroit will welcome Ordonez back with a one-year deal that involves little risk for the club. Ordonez turns 37 next month, but he hit .303 with 12 homers last season.
“This completes our everyday lineup and puts us in a good position going into next year,” Dombrowski said. “I don’t think we have a glaring need at this point, but you can always get better.”
When Ordonez joined the conference call with reporters, Dombrowski told Ordonez he made his holiday.
“You made mine, too,” Ordonez said.
Ordonez has hit .312 with 289 homers and 1,204 RBIs in 14 seasons with the Tigers and Chicago White Sox. His pennant-winning homer four years ago lifted Detroit to its first World Series appearance since 1984. He hit .363 in 2007 and finished second in AL MVP voting.
Scott Boras, Ordonez’s agent, would only say there’s a need for a middle-of-the-lineup bat when asked if Ordonez received multiyear offers from other teams.
“He let me know from the start that his primary objective was to return to the Tigers,” Boras said.
The Tigers were at their best in the middle of the summer, leading the AL Central at one point with a 48-37 record, thanks in part to Ordonez’s bat.
Then, injuries to him and some other key players started the team on a slide that it couldn’t recover from. Detroit finished 81-81.