Once Magglio Ordonez showed the Tigers that he was healthy, it only took ten days or so for the team to bring him back to Detroit. But GM Dave Dombrowski wasn't always certain that Ordonez would return.
"When you have a player that can hit like Magglio," Dombrowski said on a conference call with reporters, "you always have some concerns [about losing him via free agency] because he's a good player."
Agent Scott Boras declined to discuss specifics, but acknowledged that other teams expressed interest in his client. Boras explained that the market for right-handed hitters with power is strong (an assertion that's hard to contest given the $126MM deal Boras negotiated on behalf of Jayson Werth this month).
The Tigers may have wondered about their ability to re-sign Ordonez, but they say that their concerns about his health are minimal. Ordonez had surgery in August after fracturing his right ankle, but Boras called the injury "minor." The Tigers appear to agree; Dombrowski said Ordonez is in "tremendous shape." The right fielder worked out in Florida for the Tigers during the Winter Meetings to show that he is in playing condition.
Ordonez said he chose to return to Detroit because of his relationship with the Tigers front office, team owner Mike Ilitch and his familiarity with the city. Boras said economics are just part of the picture for his client, who reportedly turned down multiyear deals to play in the Motor City. Ordonez's current deal, which will pay him $10MM in 2011, probably won't be his last.
" I don't think Magglio is in any way thinking about the end of his career at this point," Boras said.
Ordonez, who has the final say in the matter, explained that he hopes to be a Tiger for a while.
"I'd like to finish my career with the Detroit Tigers," he said.