The Myth of Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen Coming Off the Books

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Unfortunately, offseason mode is in full swing for Tigers fans. Fortunately, it took until the middle of October for it to get here.

So far in this young offseason, the first thing I’ve often heard in conversations about preparing for next year is “Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen’s contracts come off the books, so they’ll have money to spend.”*

*I even heard this line from a restaurant manager this morning as I had breakfast with some guys from work.

True, and false.

Ordonez and Guillen are free agents, so the combined $23 million that they made will go elsewhere, but that money is pretty much all tied up with their current roster. Justin Verlander is due a $7.25 million raise for next year. Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez will both receive $1 million more next season than they did this year. Jhonny Peralta is owed an extra $250,000, and Ryan Raburn will collect an additional $800,000. That’s $10.3 million gone on money that is already signed, sealed, and delivered.

Max Scherzer and Phil Coke will enter their first year of arbitration eligibility, so the Tigers will be looking at having to fork over another $4 to 5 million to retain their services. We’re down to only about $6 million of the “Guillen/Ordonez money”, and we’ve only looked at the no-doubt-about-it type moves.

If the Tigers want to pick up Jose Valverde’s option, they’d be looking at a $2 million increase in his salary over this year. If they want to tender Delmon Young with an arbitration offer, they’d be staring at a $1 to 2 million hike in his pay. If Detroit decides to keep both players, we’re only left with (around) $3 million.

Of course, the likes of Brad Penny, Brad Thomas, Joel Zumaya, and Ramon Santiago come off the books as well, so the Tigers would have some wiggle room, but it’d be tough to land a big-name free agent and fill out the rest of the roster while keeping the total payroll in check.

I’d definitely like to see the Tigers’ brass allow Delmon Young to walk, give Joel Zumaya some sort of two-year deal (assuming he’s “on track” health-wise), bring back Ramon Santiago, and decline Valverde’s option and offer him arbitration, but all of that i’s probably a different post.

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