Boras: Ordonez shows he has plenty left
Slugger reaches trigger for $18 million option for 2010
DETROIT -- On the night Magglio Ordonez was set to get the final few plate appearances to guarantee his $18 million contract option for 2010, his agent pointed to Ordonez's second half as a sign that the Tigers have a productive hitter coming, both for the final stretch this year and for next season.
"Magglio gives the Detroit Tigers in 2010 a lot of options," agent Scott Boras said by phone Tuesday. "I think he's going to be again having a very clear mind as he approaches 2010. I think Magglio will be the Magglio of old and will be producing like he's been producing since the All-Star break."
It was Boras whose comments got enveloped in a brief controversy regarding Ordonez and his playing time, to which manager Jim Leyland responded that the manager makes out the lineup. However, as Boras has said since then, his point wasn't to challenge any decision, but that Ordonez would eventually hit again and be a productive hitter in Detroit's offense given the chance.
To a large degree, Ordonez has made Boras right on his point. Ordonez was batting .271 when Leyland changed his role in the lineup in mid-June. He has raised his average 25 points since then by batting .326 (61-for-187) with an .874 OPS. Ordonez entered Tuesday with 10 doubles, two triples and five homers in that span.
With Ordonez batting third in the Tigers' lineup against Royals right-hander Robinson Tejeda on Tuesday, Ordonez is pretty much an everyday lineup fixture down the home stretch.
Ordonez entered Tuesday batting .364 since the All-Star break with a .959 OPS. His .521 slugging percentage in the season's second half is higher than his .494 percentage from last year as well as his .512 career mark.
"The point we made all along is that Jim Leyland is a veteran manager," Boras said. "He's watched Magglio Ordonez for years. He knows what kind of hitter he is. And I think that Magglio went through a rough time personally. These guys are human beings."
"Historically with great hitters, by playing them every day, they will come out of it."
The option year was a key part of the contract Ordonez signed with Detroit as a free agent in January 2005. Because Ordonez was coming off knee surgery performed overseas, correcting a problem that limited him to a half-season with the White Sox in 2004, the Tigers wanted to be protected in case Ordonez had more problems down the road, while Ordonez and Boras wanted long-term security.
"I think the key was we had begun a negotiation wanting a seven-year contract for Magglio," Boras recalled, "and the club essentially responded with a five-year proposal. The way we bridged the gap to get a deal done was to put the performance bonuses in the contract."
Thus, the options were based on plate appearances, with triggers over either a one- or two-year contract. A similar option, this time for $15 million, comes up for 2011 based on the same totals.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.