Why The Detroit Tigers Aren’t Trading Magglio Ordonez This Season


On Monday, Jon Paul Morosi posted an article to FoxSportsDetroit.com proposing that the Tigers could possibly look to trade Magglio Ordonez this season. I thought it was clear that this was simply of case of Morosi playing a game of “what if” and that he had no actual inside knowledge as to whether or not the Tigers’ front office would even consider trading the veteran outfielder.

Still, J.P.’s article was passed along by MLB Trade Rumors and ESPN Rumor Central almost as if a trade was actually in the works. And while it certainly is possible that the Tigers trade Ordonez before the July 31 (non-waiver) trade deadline, I think the odds of it actually occurring are about as long as Magglio having a four-triple game his next time in the lineup.

Here’s why.

First, as Morosi points out in his original piece, Magglio is a five-and-ten player (five years with his current team and ten years of MLB service time), so he has the ability to veto any and all trades. So even if the Tigers were dead set on trying to deal the aging Ordonez, he could simply say “no thanks, I’m good”, and they would be forced to keep him.

Second, there’s not much of a market for aging players with waning fielding abilities and slowing bats (see also: Posada, Jorge). But even if an American League team did want to acquire Ordonez to fill a DH role, Morosi speculated that the Tigers would have to take on a burdensome contract in return.

To that I ask “what’s the point?”

The Tigers wouldn’t be offloading an expensive contract to free up payroll in order to trade for another (more useful) player, so all they’d be doing  is swapping a potentially potent (albeit aging) bat for a potentially less potent (but still probably aging) bat and (hopefully) a C-level prospect. In the middle of a division race.

I’m not a huge believer in things such as clubhouse chemistry, but why would the front office want to upset the balance of things in order to execute a trade with so little upside?

Sure, Magglio Ordonez is having a rough season at the plate so far, but he has a track record as a excellent hitter. He only has only failed to eclipse the .800 OPS mark in two seasons (.741 in 1998 and .795 in 2005), and the team showed in 2009 that they have the patience to wait for that production to come. Taking the “wait and see” approach for the remainder of the year has the potential for far greater returns that anything they would get in return for trading Magglio Ordonez.

[NOTE:] While this post was sitting in the scheduling queue, John Parent posted a very similar take on the potental trade on Motor City Bengals. I’m glad to see that we share the same view on the situation. Check out his post as well.

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