Werth deal could spur Tigers-Magglio reunion
Slugger's big contract with Nats cuts Detroit's right-field options
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Tigers had barely arrived here at baseball's Winter Meetings on Sunday when the Jayson Werth signing made waves through the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort. It could have a major effect on what the Tigers do here once business begins in earnest on Monday.
That includes a potential reunion with Magglio Ordonez, which now looks more viable than ever. The Tigers' best shot at an offensive upgrade might well be a return of their former batting champion.
"I certainly know we'll be talking," agent Scott Boras said of the Tigers and Ordonez.
Boras made the comment after the Nationals announced their seven-year deal with Werth, whom Boras also represents. Washington reportedly outbid other interested teams by offering a longer contract at an average of $18 million per season.
The Tigers have been viewed around baseball as among the most interested teams in Werth. Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski, however, said they weren't in the bidding.
"We were not involved," Dombrowski told MLB.com in an e-mail Sunday.
Boras told MLB.com that he talked with Dombrowski quite a bit this week, on Ordonez and other topics. He said they agreed that they would continue their conversations here. It's worth noting that Boras also represents reliever Zach Miner, whom the Tigers designated for assignment last week but whom the club would be interested in bringing back.
Boras did not want to speculate on how the Werth signing would affect the market on Ordonez, but it certainly can't hurt. One of Boras' strategies as an agent representing many free agents each year is the ability to use a top signing to try to increase the interest on those still on the market. It doesn't guarantee anything in terms of contracts, but it means more in terms of trying to get more teams involved.
Dombrowski has not commented on Ordonez and the Tigers' interest in him since he became free to talk contracts with other teams last month. But the GM said in October, when they still had exclusive negotiating rights, that the Tigers would like to bring him back.
When the club announced its deal with Victor Martinez a week and a half ago, Dombrowski said Detroit would regroup and look at its options for another offensive upgrade, preferably a right-handed hitter. With Ryan Raburn expected to get more playing time in left, however, Dombrowski admitted that right field might make the most sense.
In terms of right fielders, Ordonez is pretty much the best guy left on the market now that Werth has signed. To some teams, Ordonez stood as the alternative to top names Werth and Carl Crawford, more amenable to a short-term contract as he looks to his 37th birthday in a little less than two months.
Ordonez, for his part, was quoted by Venezuelan journalist Augusto Cardenas as saying he wants to come back to Detroit, the same sentiment he supposedly expressed to the Tigers at season's end.
Ordonez is believed to be seeking a two-year deal. Whether the Werth deal helps him get that remains to be seen. Whether a return to Detroit, where he spent the past six seasons, is in the works should become evident here this week.