The Tigers had barely arrived here at baseball’s Winter Meetings on
Sunday when the Jayson Werth signing made waves through the Walt Disney
World Swan & Dolphin Resort. It could have a major effect on what
the Tigers do here once business begins in earnest on Monday.
That includes a potential reunion with Magglio Ordonez, which now looks
more viable than ever. The Tigers’ best shot at an offensive upgrade
might well be a return of their former batting champion.
“I certainly know we’ll be talking,” agent Scott Boras said of the Tigers and Ordonez.
Boras made the comment after the Nationals announced their seven-year
deal with Werth, whom Boras also represents. Washington reportedly
outbid other interested teams by offering a longer contract at an
average of $18 million per season.
The Tigers have been viewed around baseball as among the most interested
teams in Werth. Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski,
however, said they weren’t in the bidding.
“We were not involved,” Dombrowski told MLB.com in an email Sunday.
Boras told MLB.com that he talked with Dombrowski quite a bit this week,
on Ordonez and other topics. He said they agreed that they would
continue their conversations here. It’s worth noting that Boras also
represents reliever Zach Miner, whom the Tigers designated for
assignment last week but whom the Tigers would be interested in bringing
Normally, I don’t get into the merchandise end of things, but I know the jersey t-shirts are pretty popular, and it’s the holiday shopping season. And the Tigers did a pretty quick turnaround producing some shirseys for Victor Martinez.
They’ll go on sale Saturday morning as part of the Tigers’ one-day holiday sale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Comerica Park main pro shop.
The sale was already scheduled for other items, including leather chairs from the clubhouse, catching gear, game-used bats and jerseys, helmets and more. Hall of Famer Al Kaline is also scheduled to sign copies of his book, Six: A Salute to Al Kaline, for an hour starting at 10:30 a.m.
Last week’s signing of Victor Martinez obviously adds something to the mix, including a new gift idea for the Tigers fan who has most everything. It’s new enough that it’s the first confirmation we’ve had that Martinez will get to keep number 41.
Part of the proceeds from the one-day sale will benefit the Detroit Tigers Foundation. The first 100 shoppers will be treated to a free gift. Free parking is available across the street at Lot 1.
A year after the Tigers signed Brad Thomas out of Japanese ball, and two years after Detroit brought over Fu-Te Ni, they’ve gone back to the Far East to find a bullpen lefty. Detroit has agreed to a minor-league deal with former Royal John Bale, who pitched this year with the Hiroshima Carp in the Japanese Central League.
The Tigers still see a need for a right-handed bat in the middle of their lineup, and right field is the one opening they see where they can add that. They would like to bring back Magglio Ordonez, but agent Scott Boras is expected to wait until after the top free-agent outfielders sign and set the standards before progressing on Ordonez. One of those top-tier outfielders is Jayson Werth, whom Boras also represents.
Put it together, and the Tigers can check in about Werth while still keeping their options open on Magglio. With still around $30 million of payroll space left from the $60 million or so they shed in expiring contracts, they have the financial wiggle room for it. The Tigers have already been keeping in touch with Boras this offseason about Ordonez, and Dombrowski said after the Martinez signing that his team would regroup this week and look at their options.
Get the picture? Thus, let the Jayson Werth sweepstakes begin.
It might not be the same courtship the Tigers enjoyed with Victor Martinez, but Werth is the most logical fit among the top free-agent hitters left on the market. Even if the Tigers have every intention of trying to re-sign Ordonez, they’ve been expected to look into Werth.
ESPN’s Jayson Stark listed Detroit among the half-dozen or so teams with varying levels of interest in Werth. Foxsports.com’s Jon Morosi cited Major League sources who see the Tigers among the Red Sox and Phillies as the most serious suitors for Werth. Both reports list the Red Sox as the favorites.
No deal is expected anytime soon, which Stark confirms. The most logical plan for Werth is to wait until Carl Crawford signs, either with the Angels or elsewhere, and see how that impact other teams’ interest. Because after Crawford and Werth, Magglio is the next-highest rated outfielder on a lot of lists.
If Werth is looking for a six-year deal, as a report suggested, that could test the level of the Tigers’ interest. Detroit already has its DH spot sealed for the next four years with Martinez, so any long-term deal they add would have to be for somebody who can play the field for the vast majority of that contract. Werth has very good defensive tools for right field, including a strong arm, and has been an iron man with 315 games over the last two years for Philadelphia, but they would have to make sure he can stay healthy.
The only nontender from the Tigers today is reliever Zach Miner, whose fate was set in that regard when he was designated for assignment on Monday. Detroit will indeed tender contracts to Joel Zumaya and Armando Galarraga.