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.”


Good. I don’t think Maggs is done yet and, like I said before, square business.

So Rich, what do you think was Maggs’ problem this year? I believe I read several possibilities. His wife was very ill? He played in that WBC during spring training? He felt threatened by his association with Venezuela’s leader Hugo Chavez? He just seemed to lose it all very quickly. Most players taper off more slowly. Griffey is an example. Maggs seemed to lose all concentration and even now his power is still lacking. Does anyone know for certain what caused all this?

My own opinion is that his wifes illness, whatever it was, took a toll on him early in the season and until she had her surgery and probably a few weeks after that. At that point, he finally started to relax and really concentrate on getting his swing back. I really think his value to the team since he signed in 2005 has been much more than his contract. He made everyone believe in the team again, and being we could contend, and we’ve been in the pennent race most years since his signing. I really hope to see his power back next season and I would not be surprised to see him be a very valuable contributer come October in the playoffs.

Business is business, and if you don’t treat a guy like magglio fairly then who is going to want to come to detroit?

I don’t think 2009 Maggs is worth 18 million, but I do think he he’ll be better and that it would be wrong to not give it to him.

I don’t think anyone knows for certain what happened with Maggs. I think it was a combination of the things mentioned which damaged his mental approach. Hitting is mental and confidence. Since spring training opened so early, plus the WBC, Maggs had already been in a slump for some six weeks before the season even started. Then you factor in the physical; his bat is slower, possibly due to age. He’s had to make adjustments to that. He’s a smart enough hitter to have been able to do that, but he’s still not whipping the bat through the zone quickly enough to generate power to the pull field. That may or may not come back. Sure, it could be a steroid effect, but he’s also 35-years old, so I’m not going to go there.

I adore Maggs and it would break my heart to see him leave the team. He’s back in the groove again and looks almost like his ‘ol self. Guys can still hit when their 35, 36, 37, 38, etc.

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