Ordonez about to hit the mark
If there was any doubt out there that Magglio Ordonez was going to get the eight plate appearances that would vest his $18 million option for next season — and if you were, I’m not sure why — manager Jim Leyland erased that Monday by stating the obvious.
“Yeah, he’s going to get it,” Leyland said.
Ordonez’s contract, which he signed as a free agent in January 2005, includes the option year for 2010 that becomes automatic if Ordonez hits one of four different playing time marks. The one he’ll hit is 1,080 plate appearances in 2008-09. He entered Monday with 1,072, and he’s in the lineup batting third Monday against Blue Jays lefty David Purcey.
Ordonez didn’t want to say much about it, but he admitted it’ll be nice to get it done and be able to focus on the final two-plus weeks of the season.
“You know where you’re going to be next year,” Ordonez told MLB.com.
Until now, neither Ordonez nor the team has really said much about the option, save for a few remarks from Dave Dombrowski that he lets Leyland make out the daily lineup without regard to contracts. While it’s hard to say how big of a distraction it has been on a first-place team, there’s no doubt it has been like a giant elephant in the Tigers clubhouse.
Ordonez is batting .500 (17-for-34) this month, raising his average to a .294 for the year. He has a realistic chance at his fourth .300 season in five years as a Tiger, a pretty big accomplishment considering where he sat at the season’s midway point. He has been one of the Tigers’ best hitters this month, and the next step Leyland hopes to see is more extra-base power to add in some run production.
“He’s hitting the ball hard now,” Leyland said, “and I’m hoping some of them turn into gappers.”