Leyland fires back at Boras
While Tigers manager Jim Leyland took exception to agent Scott Boras’ remarks on Magglio Ordonez, he also put more of a definite timeframe on how long Ordonez will be out of the lineup.
“To be honest, I’m hoping Tuesday is the day [Ordonez returns],” Leyland said Saturday afternoon. “Will it be? I don’t know.”
Tuesday is the start of the Tigers’ series against the Cubs at Comerica Park. That would give him five days away from hitting since he last started Wednesday at St. Louis.
Leyland said Friday that he would go by his gut feeling when to put Ordonez back in the lineup, and to some degree, that remains the case. He won’t start Ordonez Tuesday if he doesn’t feel Ordonez is ready, but he also made the point that Ordonez will be back in the lineup, whether it’s Tuesday or not.
How that plays out is up to Leyland and Ordonez, and Leyland clearly let his preference be known that Boras stay out of it.
“Scott Boras might be better off if he leaves Magglio Ordonez and myself to handle this instead of him,” Leyland said, “because Magglio Ordonez will be back in the lineup. I just did exactly what I said: When you beat your head against the wall and continue to do it, sooner or later you say, ‘You know what, this isn’t working. Let’s try something different.’ That’s all this is about.
“The biggest point that I want to make about the whole thing is this is strictly about Magglio Ordonez and how we feel about him and care about him. This has nothing to do with anything else, including Scott Boras.”
Boras questioned the Tigers’ decision to sit Ordonez during interviews on Friday.
“Take a look at what (Red Sox manager) Terry Francona is doing with David Ortiz,” Boras told the Detroit News. “And this man has nowhere near the numbers of Magglio Ordonez in recent seasons. And Ortiz is coming off a bad year from the year before (2008). <p>
“A-Rod in the month of June hit .137 in 2006. Jeter, I believe, for two months hit under .200. They didn’t bench him.
“Give me the compelling reasons for benching Magglio. You bench Magglio, and you’re gonna have a problem — a real problem justifying that to me.”
Boras did not return a telephone message left by MLB.com Friday.
Leyland justifies the Tigers’ move by the fact that it’s not a long-term decision. If Ordonez is back in the lineup Tuesday, even Leyland’s original term of an “indefinite” time out of the lineup seems strong.
“This is about Magglio Ordonez and a manager trying to do something that we think may help get him right,” Leyland said. “Is it the right thing? I don’t know, but that’s what this is about. And I’m not going to take shots from people in the newspaper that are untruths. If they’re the truths, and I’m wrong, go ahead and punch me in the jaw. But don’t give me this.
“The main thing is Magglio and trying to get him right. This is about no other issue than Magglio Ordonez and trying to get him right so that he can contribute the way he feels good about himself. Because by own admission, he’s embarrassed.”
Leyland also took exception to the idea that this came about suddenly.
“It was total nonsense on the agent’s part that I blindsided Magglio Ordonez,” Leyland said. “I’ve had two or three conversations with Magglio Ordonez about this. I’m very respectful of Scott Boras, but I’m not going to listen to that. …
“That’s just unfair. We don’t blindside players here. We don’t not tell players the truth here. We don’t work that way here. And Scott Boras knows that in his heart. This is another grandstanding in the newspaper. That’s the end of that.”
An interesting backdrop to this, though, is that the Tigers’ dealings with Scott Boras are seemingly never ending. Besides Ordonez’s contract options and the possibility of a showdown if the Tigers release Ordonez when he’s close to vesting those options, the Tigers still have a slew of players represented by Boras. That includes Detroit’s first-round pick from this month’s First-Year Player Draft, high school pitcher Jacob Turner, who fell to the Tigers in part because he’s expected to be a tough sign.
I don’t think it’ll be a big deal. In the end, the market always wins out with Boras. And if the last two years have shown anything with Boras clients, it’s that the players will step in and make their own calls if they feel they need to do it.