The Magglio Ordonez Situation

Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press has a new column about the Magglio Ordonez situation.  It's bad enough that the 35 year-old right fielder is off to a .241/.331/.304 start in 127 plate appearances.  The other issue is that his 2010 option for $18MM vests if Ordonez reaches 457 total plate appearances this year.  He's got just 330 to go, with a current pace of 4.2 per game.

It'd take serious manipulation by Jim Leyland to prevent Ordonez from getting those 330 additional plate appearances.  Rosenberg figures that'd result in a grievance by the players union and Scott Boras.  Ordonez also has a $15MM vesting option for 2011 based on playing time in 2009 and/or 2010.

How about releasing him?  Ignoring deferred money, Ordonez is guaranteed another $14.5MM this year plus a $3MM buyout for 2010.  Eating $17.5MM now beats paying Ordonez the remaining $14.5MM for this year and the $18MM for '10.  Would that result in a grievance, or are the Tigers free to release him and only be on the hook for this year plus the 2010 buyout?

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