The Tigers And Magglio Ordonez

After today's game against the Red Sox, only 81 plate appearances stand between Magglio Ordonez and an $18MM payday next year. The Tigers, who will have to pay at least $3MM to buy out Ordonez's 2010 option, face a $15MM decision: what to do with Magglio?

He's not hitting this year, especially against righties, against whom he has a .658 OPS and just two homers. As for his glove, Maggs has been slightly below average defensively since the beginning of last year if you go by UZR/150. So why not limit Ordonez's at bats against righties in favor of Clete Thomas (.771 career OPS vs. RHP) and Ryan Raburn (.735 career OPS vs. RHP)?

Two reasons. First, Magglio has started hitting. Coming into today's game, he was hitting .295/.340/.523 since July 4th. Secondly, his agent, Scott Boras would be sure to remind the Tigers of his client's recent hot streak if they benched him, and Boras could file a grievance.

So what should the Tigers do? Are they stuck paying Magglio $18MM next year? Or can they wiggle out from under the 2010 option without compromising their playoff chances or infuriating the players' union?

Here's what a couple of analysts are saying: R.J. Anderson of FanGraphs says the idea of paying Magglio $18MM next year is extremely unattractive from the Tigers' perspective. Rob Neyer of expects the option to vest, so he says the Tigers have to win the division this year and get reasonably good production from Ordonez next year or someone needs to be fired. 

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