The Tigers announced that the slumping and entirely unproductive Magglio Ordonez will be benched indefinitely. I don’t know that means he’s out of the starting lineup, or in a deep freeze. Ordonez has been a harmless groundball machine of late (though he did manage a sac fly last night). The bigger issue though surrounds his plate appearance option for next season.
As has been well documented at this point, Ordonez has an option that vest if either of these criteria are met:
- 135 starts or 540 PA’s in 2009
- 270 starts or 1080 PA’s in 2008-9
In 2008 Ordonez amassed 144 starts and 623 plate appearances leaving him 126 starts and 457 plate appearances away from an $18 million option. So far this year he has started 57 of the team’s 65 games and he is at 243 plate appearances meaning he is 69 starts or 214 plate appearances away.
Ordonez has been playing less of late and batting lower in the lineup. Over the team’s last 27 games Ordonez has 22 starts and 92 PA’s or 3.4 PA’s per team game. At that rate going forward Ordonez would pick up 330 more PA’s this season. Avoiding the option would mean limiting his playing time by another third.
There are 97 games left in the season. We’ve discussed why his release is unlikely but there is a small chance the Tigers could limit his plate appearances enough that the option doesn’t vest. Of course, if Ordonez continues to struggle and it means more at-bats for Josh Anderson types that is likely bad news as well.