September 15th, 2009

Boras: Tigers getting Magglio of old

On the night Magglio Ordonez was set to get the final few plate appearances to guarantee his $18 million contract option for 2010, his agent pointed to Ordonez’s second half as a sign that the Tigers have a productive hitter coming, both for the final stretch this year and for next season.

“Magglio gives the Detroit Tigers in 2010 a lot of options,” agent Scott Boras said by phone Tuesday. “I think he’s going to be again having a very clear mind as he approaches 2010. I think Magglio will be the Magglio of old and will be producing like he’s been producing since the All-Star break.”

Ordonez entered Tuesday batting .364 since the All-Star break with a .959 OPS. His .521 slugging percentage in the seasons’ second half is higher than his .494 percentage from last year as well as his .512 career mark.

“The point we made all along is that Jim Leyland is a veteran manager,” Boras said. “He’s watched Magglio Ordonez for years. He knows what kind of hitter he is. And I think that Magglio went through a rough time personally. These guys are human beings.”

“Historically with great hitters, by playing them every day, they will come out of it.”

The option year was a key part of the contract Ordonez signed with Detroit as a free agent in January 2005. Because Ordonez was coming off knee surgery performed overseas, correcting a problem that limited him to half-season with the White Sox in 2004, the Tigers wanted to be protected in case Ordonez had more problems down the road, while Ordonez and Boras wanted long-term security.

“I think the key was we had begun a negotiation wanting a seven-year contract for Magglio,” Boras recalled, “and the club essentially responded with a five-year proposal. The way we bridged the gap to get a deal done was to put the performance bonuses in the contract.”

Asked if he felt like the option had been a distraction to Ordonez, Boras pointed to the numbers.

“You have to look at Magglio’s performance as the beginning of that question,” Boras said, “and he’s been performing extraordinarily well. He’s been getting offensive production.”