Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ordonez inches closer to $18 million; $15 million in 2011 awaits

        “How are you doing?” I asked Magglio Ordonez before batting practice Wednesday night.
        “I’m breathing,” he responded with a smile. “I’m breathing and I’m walking.”
        Ordonez was back in the lineup Wednesday, even though a right hander, Ian Snell, was on the mound for the Seattle Mariners.  With the Tigers scheduled to face left handers on Thursday and Friday, by the weekend Ordonez could be within 70 plate appearances of cashing in on the clause in his contract that will guarantee him $18 million next season.
        More and more, it appears as if the front office has decided to let the season play out in whatever manner that gives the Tigers the best chance of winning -- even if that means paying Ordonez another $18 million next season despite his dramatic drop in power and run production.
        That frees up Jim Leyland to make out the lineup as he sees fit each day, without weighing the complicated financial implications.
        However, even if the Tigers do bite the bullet and allow Ordonez to return for $18 million next season, this controversy is not going away.
        Ordonez has another clause in his contract which guarantees him a salary of $15 million in 2011, provided he makes 135 start or 540 plate appearances next season or 270 starts or 1,080 plate appearances in 2009-10 combined.
        Ordonez isn’t getting any younger. He will be 36 next year and 37 in 2011. It is hard to imagine him hitting with more authority or more regularity in the summers to come.
        So we could be going through the same thing again next season.


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