Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Vesting Magglio Ordonez

With nearly 40% of the season in the books and a long 60% to go, there has been little ink about Magglio Ordonez this season after much hoopla about the Tigers letting him vest for his unbelievably high salary. In fact, there has been little ink at all about Ordonez. Maybe it might be difficult for some to perhaps admit that he's going to be worth his salary this season.

We all remember his out of mind season in 2007. That season Ordonez has 214 hits including 54 doubles and 28 homers. He drove in 139 runs and scored 116. Perhaps not surprisingly, it was his only year in recent years where his fielding stats were in the positive numbers. Ordonez wasn't as good in 2008 but then again, who could be? He still hit .317 and put up a 126 OPS+. And his fielding fell again into the negative numbers that had been prevalent for a while for him.

2009 was not a good year for Ordonez. He still hit .310, but his power numbers all but vanished and he ended the season with an OPS+ of 109. Sure, that's better than league average, but wasn't close to being worth $17 million. His fielding was also less effective. So the Tigers got a lot of flack for allowing him enough games played to vest his contract for 2010 at $18 million. "Ouch!" said everyone. "What are they thinking?" said the rest. But from the Tigers' perspective, they were fighting for a playoff spot, a fight they lost on the last day of the season. It's hard to fault the team for putting what they thought were their best players on the field. It sure did cost them a bundle though for what ended up being a futile goal.

But this year, Ordonez is having his best season since 2007. He went 3 for 4 on Tuesday night to raise his average to .320. After hitting only nine homers last year good for 50 RBIs, he's already hit eight homers this year and has already driven in 41. His OPS+ is a healthy 135 and according to, his current WAR sits at 2.2 and his value produced to this point is $9 million. Remember that we've only played 40% of the season. So at his current pace, he will easily make his contract pay for itself.

And whether it's his health or for some other reason, Ordonez is back doing well in the field. All his numbers are in the positive and he is among the leaders for right fielders in efficiency. Plus, he's already thrown out six base runners.

Time will tell if Ordonez will keep this current pace. But he's protected well by the monster of Miguel Cabrera and Boesch is doing great as well. It doesn't seem beyond any stretch of imagination that Ordonez can finish as well as he sits right now. His health needs to stay good, which is always a concern when a player is 36 years old. But as of right now, he's playing terrific baseball.

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