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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Tigers - Signed Ordonez

Detroit Tigers - Signed RF Magglio Ordonez to a 5-year, $75 million contract.

There have been a lot of people crowing since the Kevin Millwood deal about how Scott Boras is out of touch and can’t get top dollar for his players anymore.  In fact, there was even hooting about Boras screwing over Derek Lowe after his joke to Jim Bowden that their Derek Lowe money would “take care of the first year” and hooting about Boras screwing over Magglio Ordonez by being secretive about his client’s health.

Oops.  Boras managed to squeeze an amazing $9 million a year for Lowe out of one of those supposedly miserly Moneyball GMs and now, in one of the best played negotiations, getting $15 million a year for a player not worth anywhere near that even if you ignore the health concerns.

Ordonez was a great player from 2000-2003, but $15 million would be pushing it for him even coming off the nearly 1.000 OPS 2002 season.  Coming off a subpar season and a knee injury?  Pass.  You can’t even blame the subpar couple of months on a knee injury; it happened all of a sudden in a collision with Wee Willie Harris, resulting in 2 operations for Ordonez..  Like the Pirates, the Tigers have to learn that being snubbed by players you want doesn’t mean that you need to spend the remaining money.  The Tigers got desperate, but overspending by this much to assuage some disappointment is a bad long-term strategy.

It’s hard to see how the Tigers are going to leave their 25-man roster now.  They’ve previously said that they want both Fernando Vina and Jason Smith on the roster, but I just don’t see how that’s possible now, unless they can pay someone to take ###### Higginson off their hands.

Ordonez, Magglio - 2005 ZiPS Projection
————————————————————————————-
AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA   OBP   SLG
————————————————————————————-
511 56 156 36 2 19 84 49 60   5 .305 .370 .495

Dan Szymborski Posted: February 06, 2005 at 12:26 AM | 147 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. DCA Posted: February 06, 2005 at 12:59 AM (#1127256)
Hey, it's a better deal than 8/$140 for Juan Gonzalez
   2. Brandon in MO (Yunitility Infielder) Posted: February 06, 2005 at 01:02 AM (#1127259)
A re-enactment of a young college players first meeting with Scott Boras.

Scott Boras - "Hello, I'm Scott Boras"
Player - "Hi"
Boras - "I'd like to represent you"
Player - "What's in it for me?"
Boras - "Do you know who Charles Johnson is?"
Player - "Yeah, he sucks!"
Boras - "I got him a big money deal! You hear about Magglio Ordonez after he was injured? I got him 15 million dollars a year!"
Player - "You rule Scott Boras! You can be my agent!"
Boras - "Yes, now you deserve a signing bonus and a major league contract!"
   3. Buddha Posted: February 06, 2005 at 01:02 AM (#1127260)
What else should they have done with the money?
   4. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: February 06, 2005 at 01:03 AM (#1127263)
I ####### love this signing. Compared to this, almost every signing in baseball [not you, Milton] looks rational, and I think there is something neat about that. Besides, the Tigers have been so bad for so long, even a one-legged Magglio is an upgrade. Hey, its not my money.
   5. NTNgod Posted: February 06, 2005 at 01:04 AM (#1127264)
They've previously said that they want both Fernando Vina and Jason Smith on the roster, but I just don't see how that's possible now

Fernando Vina is out for the year (there's a slight chance he might make it back by the end).

Even Vina's agent said there is very little chance Vina will play in 2005.
   6. Brandon in MO (Yunitility Infielder) Posted: February 06, 2005 at 01:06 AM (#1127266)
Fernando Vina is out for the year

I'm sick of players like Fernando Vina and Albert Belle getting into fights with Albert Belle and then getting hurt for a year.

*explodes*
   7. NTNgod Posted: February 06, 2005 at 01:16 AM (#1127280)
Vina's injury just hasn't gotten any better over the offseason:

It is a very difficult problem to deal with that is not necessarily repaired by an operation. The very last resort is surgery because of the risk, with no guaranteed outcome. You must give it every chance to heal, non-operatively," [agent Sam] Levinson said. "Unfortunately, Fernando is not making any progress and the realistic chances of him coming back and playing this season are very, very slim."
   8. Buddha Posted: February 06, 2005 at 01:29 AM (#1127291)
Pena
Infante
Guillen
Inge
Pudge
Ordonez
sanchez
White
Monroe
Higginson
Young
Wilson
utility man

Bonderman
Robertson
Maroth
Johnson
Ledezma
Knotts
Rodney
German
Walker
Urbina
Percival
lefty reliever

There's your probable 25 man roster.

Although they'll probably trade one of their outfielders for something. White ($3 million) might not fetch as much as Monroe.
   9. Ben Posted: February 06, 2005 at 01:30 AM (#1127294)
Buddha- Uh, nothing? Is that possible? Spend it on some good player in the future?
   10. edman85 Posted: February 06, 2005 at 01:31 AM (#1127298)
I think you are getting Fernando Vina and Ramon Martinez mixed up and forgetting about Carlos Guillen's recovering ACL in the process.

Also, there is a clause in the deal that allows the Tigers to void it given that he spends enough time on the DL with a knee injury, taking a lot of risk out of the deal.
   11. Urban Faber Posted: February 06, 2005 at 01:37 AM (#1127307)
I'd like to know what the Tigers' out clause is before I express my opinion of this deal.
   12. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: February 06, 2005 at 01:40 AM (#1127311)
Buddha made this point with I-Rod and it is a good one, you can't sit on your money forever. At some point, in order to keep a team from being a pile of crap, you have to spend. I think is a bad deal in part because of Magglio and in part because it however seems like the dollars were so wildily divergent from the market for Maggs. You do have to spend your money sometimes, but who exactly were they bidding aganist?
   13. NTNgod Posted: February 06, 2005 at 01:41 AM (#1127312)
I'd like to know what the Tigers' out clause is before I express my opinion of this deal.

Most haven't been released yet.

The Tigers can void the deal if Magglio's knee causes him to spend 25 days on the DL in 2005.
He'll make $6-7 mil this year, w/ a $6 mil signing bonus...
   14. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 06, 2005 at 01:42 AM (#1127314)
Is it only voidable in 2005?
   15. Buddha Posted: February 06, 2005 at 01:45 AM (#1127315)
"Buddha- Uh, nothing? Is that possible? Spend it on some good player in the future?"

How do you know they won't spend money on some good player in the future? And how do you know that mysterious good player would take it? The only free agents the Tigers are going to get are the ones who are major gambles. No one else is going to come there.

Illitch will spend big money on his team if he thinks they can win. With Ordonez, if he's healthy, they have an outside chance to win. Plus the All-Star game is there this year and I think they wanted to be improved.

Finally, if he's got an out clause for any future knee injuries, it makes it more palatable.
   16. RMc's Yelling Mob of Hackmen Posted: February 06, 2005 at 01:47 AM (#1127318)
Well, at least Higgy finally has a chance to play for a winner now...
   17. NTNgod Posted: February 06, 2005 at 01:47 AM (#1127319)
Is it only voidable in 2005?

Don't know yet. Most of the clauses haven't been released/leaked out...
   18. Urban Faber Posted: February 06, 2005 at 01:48 AM (#1127321)
What's the hockey team costing Ilitch this season?
   19. Buddha Posted: February 06, 2005 at 01:49 AM (#1127322)
"I think is a bad deal in part because of Magglio and in part because it however seems like the dollars were so wildily divergent from the market for Maggs. You do have to spend your money sometimes, but who exactly were they bidding aganist?"

How do we know what the market for Maggs is? How do we know who was bidding for him and who wasn't?

Orlando Cabrera got $10 mil. Derek Lowe? Richie Sexson? Troy Glaus? JD Drew? The market has been crazy this year.

And I'd still like to see the actual terms of the deal before we call it completely asinine and stupid.
   20. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: February 06, 2005 at 01:54 AM (#1127329)
How do we know what the market for Maggs is? How do we know who was bidding for him and who wasn't?


Well, process of elimination. Who's left? The Pirates? Blue Jays? What teams have money to spend and holes in the outfield? I understand you're desire to defend the move, I'm probably closer to your camp here than most people, but I severly doubt there were other offers for Magglio in that range
   21. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: February 06, 2005 at 01:57 AM (#1127333)
This is a terrible deal. It would have been an overpay if he was completely healthy and coming off of a great season. If I'm were a Tigers' fan I'd hope he gets hurt so they can void the deal.
   22. Sam M. Posted: February 06, 2005 at 01:59 AM (#1127338)
Buddha made this point with I-Rod and it is a good one, you can't sit on your money forever.

OK, then take the $15M they're spending on Magglio this year and add it to your draft budget. Make deals to pick first-round quality talent in the 4th, 5th, 6th round -- guys teams are skipping because of their likely contract demands and/or because it's assumed they are committed to college and would have to be bought out at top $$$ -- and have one of the great drafts (and great draft experiments) of all time. Stock your minor league system with a bulge of talent that will be the envy of the rest of the league for years to come.

Then you have the money for next year to either do the same thing, or actually spend on a low-risk, top-shelf FA. There are interesting, creative things to do with the $$$ for a team willing to think outside the box.
   23. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: February 06, 2005 at 02:00 AM (#1127340)
Orlando Cabrera got $10 mil. Derek Lowe? Richie Sexson? Troy Glaus? JD Drew? The market has been crazy this year.

Drew's inclusion on this list is silly. His pay is right in line with his projection.
   24. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: February 06, 2005 at 02:06 AM (#1127348)
OK, then take the $15M they're spending on Magglio this year and add it to your draft budget.

I completely agree with this. Just because you find you have some extra money doesn't necessarily mean you're required to go out and blow it on that season. This kind of draft investment -- particularly for a team like the Tigers, for whom Ordonez is very likely *not* the last missing piece to the postseason puzzle -- would make a world of sense.

3-4 years from now, you could be looking at a situation where you've got solid players coming up the system at 4-5 positions. You want to get to the point where you can play cheap talent at a few positions that lets you afford to make a big free agent signing that will put you in to the postseason. This is kind of doing it backwards.

(of course, the AL Central isn't exactly murderer's row, but I still don't think the Tigers have a serious shot. I mean, this is the team that won 43 games just two years ago.)
   25. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: February 06, 2005 at 02:11 AM (#1127358)
The market has been crazy this year.

Yep. As Hawk might say about fiscal responsibility and wise spending...

It gone.
   26. Buddha Posted: February 06, 2005 at 02:13 AM (#1127364)
Sam: How do you know they won't do that anyway?

RB: You're probably right. Although the Mets and Rangers were known to show interest.

The terms of the deal that scare me the most are the supposed two vesting years for $30 million. Although I'd be willing to bet that he would have to have some great years in the first five for the last two to vest. And if that's the exchange, I'll take the two vesting years happily.

"If I'm were a Tigers' fan I'd hope he gets hurt so they can void the deal."

Or you could root for Ordonez to be healthy and hit 300/380/550. Ridiculous. Ordonez isn't Derek Freakin Bell, he's a great hitter! Some of you make it seem like the Tigers just paid $12 million next year for Ross Gload.
   27. Buddha Posted: February 06, 2005 at 02:17 AM (#1127371)
"I completely agree with this. Just because you find you have some extra money doesn't necessarily mean you're required to go out and blow it on that season. This kind of draft investment -- particularly for a team like the Tigers, for whom Ordonez is very likely *not* the last missing piece to the postseason puzzle -- would make a world of sense."

Again, how do you know that they won't do it? Or that it would pan out if they did do it?

One thing that bugs me about BTF is the idea that if you're not going to win it all, you shouldn't even try. Well, the Tigers probably won't win the division this year or next year, might as well scrap it all and finish last. Yea! We can be the Royals!

Bullcrap. Try to win. Try to win now and try to win tomorrow and try to win next week. You can sign free agents and build through the draft at the same time. The ideas are not mutually exclusive.
   28. Sam M. Posted: February 06, 2005 at 02:18 AM (#1127373)
Sam: How do you know they won't do that anyway?

That's cheating, Buddha. The premise of the argument to which I was responding was that the money was just sitting there with nothing to do, and that if they didn't spend it on Magglio it would have gone to waste.

So my answer is simple: whatever you would have otherwise spent on the draft in 2005, bump it up by $15M, and get the higher-value players in the later rounds you otherwise would pass on because of their contract demands (and because it would be a wasted pick). AFAIK, the Tigers have not recently (ever?) followed a strategy of using mid and late-round picks on high-round talent. Doing so now would have been a better use of the first year of Ordonez's contract, while still leaving all the money from the next four years available.
   29. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: February 06, 2005 at 02:23 AM (#1127384)
I really shouldn't comment on this deal until the terms of the contract of this deal are released. Ordonez is a great hitter but there has to be better ways to spend the money they are going to give him. They could blow everyone out of the water for Hudson next offseason or sign Aramis Ramirez to fill the hole they have at third. Just because they couldn't sign people this year doesn't mean they won't be able to do that next offseason.
   30. Sam M. Posted: February 06, 2005 at 02:23 AM (#1127386)
One thing that bugs me about BTF is the idea that if you're not going to win it all, you shouldn't even try.

Straw man alert!!! Of course the Tigers should try to win. Better, though, that they do it intelligently with a wise allocation of resources between the goals of winning soon and building a contending team for years to come.

Hey, if they have enough to follow my draft strategy (or, if you don't like that, allocate it to international signings) AND sign Ordonez, fine. But I'll make a little bet right now that the Tigers do not spend appreciably more on their draft picks in 2005 than they spent on 2004, and that we do not see them leaping to pick some first-round talent in the later rounds (and then spending the bucks to sign them).

The Tigers didn't choose Ordonez AND a big commitment to the draft. Frankly, I doubt they even chose Ordonez over that strategy. They chose Ordonez probably without ever considering it -- and it's that lack of creative thinking on their part I'm criticizing.

And, frankly, that would have been a far better use of George Steinbrenner's money for the Yankees than Jaret Wright. If there's ever been a team that should use later-round picks for first round talent, it's the Yankees. So I'm not just picking on the Tigers, Buddha.
   31. Urban Faber Posted: February 06, 2005 at 02:25 AM (#1127388)
One thing that bugs me about BTF is the idea that if you're not going to win it all, you shouldn't even try.

Hey, check the Zimbalist thread from a day or two ago. I got reamed for suggesting the Pirates aren't trying - I guess they are, but by virtually every move they make, you could have fooled me.
   32. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: February 06, 2005 at 02:28 AM (#1127391)
One thing that bugs me about BTF is the idea that if you're not going to win it all, you shouldn't even try.

It's not that you shouldn't try. But you shouldn't do things that actively preclude you from winning in the future. If you know you're going to have a limited budget, spending a big chunk of it on a guy with a bad knee -- at a time when your team has a limited chance to contend -- isn't a great idea.

Yeah, maybe he adds 5-6 wins this year (if he's healthy), but maybe that means you win 75 games instead of 70. And (assuming a fixed amount of money to spend) you've used up money that could go toward filling multiple holes for teams down the line that could have a chance to contend.

Might that fail too? Absolutely (I mean, the Cubs haven't won in 96 years, and they've tried it every way they can without success). But it might succeed as well, and it certainly seems to have a better chance of succeeding than this strategy does.

And sure, the Tigers might get career years from people, key contributions from rookies, and a lot of luck, and win this year. But that's a lot of mights and ifs.

In the end, you do what you do to help the team win, and that's how it should be. The Tigers think this will help them win, or they wouldn't have done it. But there's a very real difference between spending $75M to improve your team now from 70 to 75 wins, and setting that money aside in hopes of improving a future team from 85 to 90 wins. Fans won't really care whether the Tigers win 70 or 75 games this year -- but they will care in a couple of years if 85 wins leaves them on the outside but 90 wins means a division champsionship.
   33. Buddha Posted: February 06, 2005 at 02:32 AM (#1127399)
Russ: How do you know they won't do that? You don't. And even if they DID, how do you know they would sign in Detroit? They threw big money at Pavano, Finley and Glaus and they all turned them down. It's not a fantasy player auction, sometimes the players just don't want to play in your city. And if your city is Detroit and you haven't won jack in years, it happens more often than not.

The Tigers have bid big money on free agents for the last two years and have been turned down by everyone except the free agents with injury issues. I don't expect that to change until they start winning consitently again.

Sam: I don't know if the Tigers have done that or not. Considering the utter crap shoot that is the later rounds of baseball's draft, I'm not sure that strategy would be as wise of a use of resources as spending them for someone who is already an All-Star caliber major leaguer. I would imagine that the Tigers can spend as much as anyone else on the draft and still come up with the same results.

Where I'd like to see them get more involved is in the overseas talent department. But they've recently opened up a couple "academies" in Latin America and assigned some of the scouting department to Japan. So maybe they're moving in the right direction there as well.
   34. Buddha Posted: February 06, 2005 at 02:34 AM (#1127409)
"They chose Ordonez probably without ever considering it -- and it's that lack of creative thinking on their part I'm criticizing."

Say hi to dave Dombrowski for me the next time you're in on the Tigers organizational meetings. You sure seem to know more about the team I spend too much of my life following than I do. Kudos.
   35. billfer Posted: February 06, 2005 at 02:37 AM (#1127411)
Here are the terms the AP is reporting:

The 31-year-old Ordonez gets a $6 million signing bonus and a $6 million salary in 2005, meaning the Tigers' exposure is $12 million.

His contract calls for a $15 million salary in 2006, $12 million in 2007, $15 million in 2008 and $18 million in 2009. Detroit has a $15 million option for 2010 with a $3 million buyout, and a $15 million option for 2011 with no buyout.

In addition, Ordonez's salary in each of the option years would become guaranteed if he has 135 starts or 540 plate appearances in the previous season, or 270 starts or 1,080 plate appearances in the previous two seasons. If his 2010 salary becomes guaranteed under this provision, it would be at $18 million. The 2011 salary would be $15 million.

Link
   36. Tim D Posted: February 06, 2005 at 02:39 AM (#1127414)
Re #24: Not if Drew misses 40 or so games a year which given his track record.....

I'm a Tiger diehard. This move is a definite reach and was probably driven more by Ilitch than by DD. It's too much money and it's too long. But if they wait three or four years to build a team, well DD will be long gone, they will be drawing 2000 fans a night, and they will have no money to spend on anything. They have the AS Game this year. They need to perk things up. Everybody in Detroit is disgusted that they haven't done anything. They haven't had a +.500 year since 19 freakin'93, and they haven't played a meaningful September game since 1988. They have got to do more than sit around and wait for kids who flame out or get hurt as often as they develop. They play in a crappy division. They have some young arms right now, and will have more. They need people who can hit rather than running Higginson and the like out there every day. Say what you like, but Ordonez, Percival and Pudge give them a chance to compete, if only in the fan's eyes. This used to be a great franchise. The fans are near mutiny. Spending more money on the draft (which they are doing as well) just isn't going to satisfy the customer.

I wish it was less money and I wish it was 4 years max. Maybe they could have played hardball and saved some money. And maybe Boras would have just sat on his hands until someone goes down in spring training, say Sheffield, or Vlad, or Sosa. Do you really think Ordonez would come to Detroit except for a bunch of cash? Did Pudge?
   37. Buddha Posted: February 06, 2005 at 02:39 AM (#1127415)
UCCF: Wanna bet right now that the Tigers win more than 75 games?

"It's not that you shouldn't try. But you shouldn't do things that actively preclude you from winning in the future. If you know you're going to have a limited budget, spending a big chunk of it on a guy with a bad knee -- at a time when your team has a limited chance to contend -- isn't a great idea."

Do any of you know what the Tigers' budget will be in the future? Do any of you know what the payroll is? Who's on it, who's coming off of it and how much money they'll have to spend in the future?

If this move helps the Tigers win 83 games next year, it's a success.

I'll take a 2-3-4-5 of Guillen, Pudge, Young and Ordonez over any other team in the Central's 2-3-4-5 for next year.
   38. Dr. Vaux Posted: February 06, 2005 at 02:42 AM (#1127420)
Besides, they have to behave financially in a way that will get the average fan back behind them, not just a few of us. "Thinking fans" are a sizeable, sizeable minority. I haven't lived in Detroit for ten years, but I'm sure most "baseball fans" are much happier they signed Ordonez than they'd be otherwise, and that has value for an organization trying to rebuild its reputation not only within baseball circles, but also among the general public. Now, in each of the last two off-seasons the Tigers have signed a marquee player. They go into the season with a chance, albiet a very small one, to contend for the division title. If things break right, they could have an average offense and average pitching. When was the last time you could say that? When? 1994? Yes, we saw how that worked out, but you've heard of luck, right? Bad... and good.

There's my rant.

I wouldn't have signed this contract, it scares me to death, and I've been on this board earlier today sobbing and gasping about it. So what; I'm over it now, and I can accept that it had to be done. I went through the same process, though on a lower level, with Rodriguez last winter. But do you know what the best part of it is? The good part? I actually give a damn! That's worth a lot of money right there.
   39. Sam M. Posted: February 06, 2005 at 03:01 AM (#1127458)
You sure seem to know more about the team I spend too much of my life following than I do. Kudos.

With all due respect, Buddha, I think you're being a little hyper-sensitive here. If you can show me a record of the Tigers using draft picks from the 5th round and later on high-round talent, and then spending big bonus $$$ to sign them, fine -- I'll take it back. I'm sure if they have, you'd be able to point us to it, right?

Do I know they never considered it with the Ordonez money? Of course not. But what do you think? Honestly, do you think they ever even put that on a list of options, thought about it, and rejected it? I'd be shocked if they did, just like I'd be shocked if more than one or two other teams ever did it. I'm not picking on the Tigers here; a lack of creative risk-taking and non-traditional player acquisition strategies is epidemic in baseball. I only singled out the Tigers because the argument was made they needed to spend it on Ordonez because there was "no other use of the money, so why not spend it?"

There's always another use of the money. There are always options, if you are creative enough. Maybe the Tigers considered them; if so, more power to them. I happen to think that, in this instance (UNLIKE the I-Rod deal, which you may recall I defended the Tigers on), using the money on a hyper-draft approach would have been a better use of the first year of Magglio's money, so if they considered and rejected my idea, then I think they made a mistake. Either way, I just don't want to hear the BS that it was either spend it on Magglio, or let it sit in the counting house for Illitch to count up his money.

Oh, and of course pouring it into the draft isn't guaranteed to work. NO strategy (including signing Magglio Ordonez) is guaranteed to work. So let's not hold any proposal to that kind of a standard.
   40. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: February 06, 2005 at 03:01 AM (#1127459)
Do any of you know what the Tigers' budget will be in the future? Do any of you know what the payroll is? Who's on it, who's coming off of it and how much money they'll have to spend in the future?

Of course not, and neither do you. Maybe the team is planning to raise its salary limits, who knows? It's all speculation. But even speculation should be grounded in some kind of reasonable belief. I think it's reasonable to believe, based on historical factors, that the Tigers aren't likely to suddenly add $15-$20M to their payroll next year.

I'm not willing to belabor this point, because I've already been through this discussion once in the Sosa-Baltimore thread. If you think that 83 wins is a successful season, then that's great. And if think it means that 2006 will bring more than that, that's great. If this is the stepping stone season where the kids mature and the team comes together, so that 2006 is the year they really contend...

But a team that rides along between 79-85 wins every year is as pointless as a team that wins 69-75 games. Fans care about winning -- in the postseason (or at least getting there). You can't really build a marketing campaign around a slogan like "Come watch us get within 2 games of .500 for the 5th straight year!"

Do you really think appreciably more people will care about an 82 win Tiger team than a 75 win Tiger team? Maybe if the division winner is 84 wins and they're in it until the last weekend. But that seems unlikely, even in the AL Central.
   41. DTS Posted: February 06, 2005 at 03:12 AM (#1127467)
Ordonez is a great hitter

Hell, even that's an overstatement. He's not a great hitter. Very good, but he's never been excellent. He's never finished in the top ten in his league in OBP and only twice did so in slugging (5th and 9th). He once finished 8th in MVP voting, but only once. He's not an elite hitter. And, he's got bad wheels and only played in 52 games last year. This contract is TERRIBLE.
   42. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: February 06, 2005 at 03:21 AM (#1127474)
And even if they DID, how do you know they would sign in Detroit? They threw big money at Pavano, Finley and Glaus and they all turned them down.

The Tigers did throw big money around at those players but so did other teams. When I mean blow people everyone out of the water I mean outbid by 2 to 3 million a year. Next year when teams are bidding for Hudson at 4/50 it would be better for the Tigers if they could go 4/60. I understand the Tigers are at a disadvantage but they gave Ordonez an contract no one else came close to.
   43. (poster to be named later) Posted: February 06, 2005 at 03:26 AM (#1127478)
I agree with DTS. Dumb, dumb, dumb deal. I gotta admit though, I got a fantastic gut laugh out of it. Don't get me wrong, though, I'm not saying the laugh was worth 75 million of even somebody else's money.
   44. billfer Posted: February 06, 2005 at 03:27 AM (#1127480)
Do any of you know what the Tigers' budget will be in the future? Do any of you know what the payroll is? Who's on it, who's coming off of it and how much money they'll have to spend in the future?

Actually, now it looks like their payroll for this year will be about $72 million (they still have a bunch of 0-3 guys to sign).

Going forward, they only have 4-5 guys under contract (Pudge, Guillen, Percival, Ordonez and a Young option) so they have quite a bit of flexibility. Higginson's 8.5, Vina's 3, Johnson's 4, and White's 3 are all coming off the books. I realize that they'll have to fill those positions with somebody, but they aren't on the hook for a ton.
   45. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: February 06, 2005 at 03:31 AM (#1127491)
One thing that bugs me about BTF is the idea that if you're not going to win it all, you shouldn't even try. Well, the Tigers probably won't win the division this year or next year, might as well scrap it all and finish last. Yea! We can be the Royals!

The problem I have with this trade, well - one of the problems, is that it helps give the Tigers a slight chance at the postseason in '05 and in exchange get a big contract that will make it harder for them to manuever in '09, '08, and maybe '07. You mentioned somewhere in these threads that the Tigers are still hurt by all the old lingering Randy Smith trades. Four years from now I think people will be saying the same about the Ordonez deal.

What else should they have done? Take that fifteen million and try to get 2-3 B-quality free agents.

Admittedly, I'm about as down as Ordonez as anyone. After the Sosa trade I was saying I'd rather they sign Burnitz than Ordonez because I think he's a better/safer bet.

Outta curiousity, who was the last big free agent signing in Detriot before I-Rod?
   46. billfer Posted: February 06, 2005 at 03:33 AM (#1127495)
Do you really think appreciably more people will care about an 82 win Tiger team than a 75 win Tiger team? Maybe if the division winner is 84 wins and they're in it until the last weekend. But that seems unlikely, even in the AL Central.

For a team that hasn't had a .500 season since 93, yeah I think people will care.

Is the contract too much and too long? Of course it is. I think the Tigers even overpaid by their standards. The problem is that the farm system is barren. There isn't help coming in the next couple years whenit comes to position players. I echo a lot of Tim D's (37) comments in that respect.

Maybe by getting to 84 wins the Tigers can at least lessen the "Tiger Tax" when it comes to getting guys in the future.
   47. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: February 06, 2005 at 03:47 AM (#1127519)
Yeah, maybe he adds 5-6 wins this year (if he's healthy), but maybe that means you win 75 games instead of 70

Big surprise (to me at least) of the day: the Tigers had a 79-83 pythag record last year.

I still don't see them winning it, mainly because those Twins always seem to do better than they're supposed to (IMHO anyway).

Might that fail too? Absolutely (I mean, the Cubs haven't won in 96 years

97. But who's counting?

I haven't lived in Detroit for ten years, but I'm sure most "baseball fans" are much happier they signed Ordonez than they'd be otherwise, and that has value for an organization trying to rebuild its reputation not only within baseball circles, but also among the general public.

Couldn't this same argument be used to defend the Eric Milton signing though? Hey, I've seen fans get all hyper over big name signings of players before - George Bell, Dave Smith, Mel Rojas. One thing I've concluded is that what matters isn't the way fans feel when a guy is signed, it's what they feel after they've seen him play. Ordonez dang well better be better off than I'm giving him credit for then.

Detriot's had 11 straight bad seasons. Without this signing they'd be very likely to have 12, but I don't see that causing the team to collapse into nothingness or draw only 2000 fans a game as others here seem to think.

But a team that rides along between 79-85 wins every year is as pointless as a team that wins 69-75 games.

I get the feeling that this is the attitude Buddha was b1tching about in post #28. And frankly, I don't blame him. I'd much rather root for a team winning 83 games than 73 games a year.

Do you really think appreciably more people will care about an 82 win Tiger team than a 75 win Tiger team?

Can't speak for Tiger fans, but I feel that way about the Cubs.

The only free agents the Tigers are going to get are the ones who are major gambles. No one else is going to come there.

Didn't other teams make a run at Percival? Did the Tigers offer him that much more than other teams?
   48. Buddha Posted: February 06, 2005 at 04:01 AM (#1127531)
"Didn't other teams make a run at Percival? Did the Tigers offer him that much more than other teams?"

I don't think anyone offered him two years.
   49. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: February 06, 2005 at 04:03 AM (#1127533)
Didn't other teams make a run at Percival? Did the Tigers offer him that much more than other teams?

From what I remember, he signed with Detroit almost immediately, saying he was happy with their offer. I know the Cubs had expressed some interest, but then one morning I woke up and he was a Tiger.

I get the feeling that this is the attitude Buddha was b1tching about in post #28. And frankly, I don't blame him. I'd much rather root for a team winning 83 games than 73 games a year.

OK, you'd rather root for a team winning 83 than 73. So would I. But what about a team that won 83 every year, sort of floating along in 2nd or 3rd place, maybe 85-86 some years? I've been a Cub fan long enough to know that even .500 seasons -- few and far between though they've been -- aren't that interesting unless you're actually competing toward the post season.

You have to leave yourself the opportunity to go from the 83 win team to the 93 win team, and this contract severely hampers their flexibility to make that kind of transition. These aren't the Yankees, and there aren't any $200 million payrolls coming up the road. Every dollar spent on one player has a corresponding opportunity cost someplace else. As players leave, they're going to have to be replaced, but the pool of available money to replace them is now less.

And the funny thing is, as far as we all can tell the Tigers were bidding against themselves. I never heard of any other team offering close to this deal. The marginal cost of this contract, based on any reasonable speculation of performance, is just incredible. Even at $10M/yr Ordonez would likely have been overpaid.

The deal smacks of doing something to do something. Everyone is turning us down, and we have to do... *something*. And they weren't going to let him get away, no matter what the price.
   50. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: February 06, 2005 at 04:10 AM (#1127547)
The problem with the Tigers is that they have been so bad for so long that I think team ownership has grown impatient as well. I don't think they want to look like they are taking their time rebuilding when they have been rebuilding for more than a decade now. I from Windsor, close to Detroit, and I listen to a lot of sportsradio. Tigers fans expected the Tigers to sign some people this offseason and I don't think upper management wanted to disappoint them.
   51. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 06, 2005 at 04:15 AM (#1127551)
Detroit's a big enough city that a little taste of success could turn them into a bigger market team very quickly. I don't think this is the way to go about it but I do believe that the difference between 83 and 75 wins is bigger for this team than it is for most.
   52. Buddha Posted: February 06, 2005 at 04:18 AM (#1127553)
UCCF: Again, you don't really know what the Tigers are planning to do with the budget (and neither do I), but with Higgy, White, Johnson, Vina and Young coming off the books next year, that's a LOT of money.

I have no problem with the Tigers taking the money they paid to Damion Easley, Matt Anderson and Danny Patterson last year and paying it to Magglio Ordonez.

"Drew's inclusion on this list is silly. His pay is right in line with his projection."

What projection is that? The one where "Mr. Healthy" himself actually plays a full season? At least the Tigers got themselves an insurance policy in the form of an out clause, which is probably one of the reasons why they had to overpay, to GET that clause put in there.

"Hell, even that's an overstatement. He's not a great hitter."

Funny how Ordonez goes from the most-overlooked-player-in-baseball to average in just one contract.

top 5 in average for two years, top 10 in slugging for two years, top 10 in OPS for two years. Then he got hurt. To me, that's a great hitter. But maybe you have a different definition of great than I do.

Come on guys. Is it too much money? Probably by a bit. Is it for too many years? Yeah if the last two years kick in. But he makes the Tigers line-up pretty damn good for next year and probably the best in the division (or second best behind Cleveland). But I don't think this is going to hamstring the Tigers for years or prohibit them from developing players.

Like I said before - and no one has bothered to address - you can still sign free agents AND develop a quality farm system. The Tigers don't have to penny pinch like other teams. They can spend money.
   53. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: February 06, 2005 at 04:19 AM (#1127555)
Detroit's a big enough city that a little taste of success could turn them into a bigger market team very quickly. I don't think this is the way to go about it but I do believe that the difference between 83 and 75 wins is bigger for this team than it is for most.

I will say this: this signing should make Detroit a more palatable place at least to consider for next year's crop. Maybe winning does that as well, though the money it would take to go from 83 to 93 wins -- spending in the free agent market -- would not be insignificant.
   54. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: February 06, 2005 at 04:19 AM (#1127556)
OK, you'd rather root for a team winning 83 than 73. So would I. But what about a team that won 83 every year

Well, right now we're talking about a team that wins 73 games every year, so getting to 83 is an achievement.

I still don't see this helping them at all, but I do admit there's a chance Ordonez could be good this year.
   55. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: February 06, 2005 at 04:20 AM (#1127557)
You're absolutely right about that. The Red Wings are only outspent by the Rangers in Hockey and the Pistons had the NBA's largest attendance last season. They could easily have a payroll of 80-90 million dollars. The Red Wings spent 65 million a couple of years ago.

That's why this deal is annoying. It's too bad Beltre wanted to stay on the West Coast as he would have been the perfect signing for that team.
   56. Buddha Posted: February 06, 2005 at 04:23 AM (#1127560)
"It's too bad Beltre wanted to stay on the West Coast as he would have been the perfect signing for that team."

True (although he has only had one good season, albeit one of the greatest seasons for a third baseman in history, but it's not like he's been consistent), and I think the Tigers didn't bother too much because they were told he didn't want to come.

But I still think they'll be in on Ramirez next year if he becomes a free agent. And maybe if they win more games with Maggs this year, they'll look more like a major league organization and less like the Mud Hens?
   57. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: February 06, 2005 at 04:23 AM (#1127561)
Come on guys. Is it too much money? Probably

I'll see your probably and raise you a definately.

But he makes the Tigers line-up pretty damn good for next year and probably the best in the division (or second best behind Cleveland).

Only if Johann Santana gets kidnapped.
   58. Buddha Posted: February 06, 2005 at 04:24 AM (#1127562)
"Only if Johann Santana gets kidnapped."

Did Santana hit 4th or 5th last year? I forget...
   59. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 06, 2005 at 04:26 AM (#1127564)
To me, that's a great hitter. But maybe you have a different definition of great than I do.

EQAs for Ordonez (ignoring cup of coffee in 1997):
.251
.276
.292
.300
.313
.301
.271

EQAs for Drew (ignoring CoC in 1998)
.264
.293
.334
.276
.300
.335

JD Drew is 2 years younger. And yes, injury caveats do apply.
   60. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: February 06, 2005 at 04:28 AM (#1127567)
I don't want to sound like a hater, but the best thing that can happen is that Ordonez gets hurt and the Tigers void the deal. There is just no way he's going to be worth that much money.

What this deal has done is show that the Tigers are serious about spending money. The Tigers shouldn't be considered a small market team.
   61. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 06, 2005 at 04:28 AM (#1127568)
Oh, here are the EQA averages for the OF positions. JD Drew is supposedly going to get a shot at CF by the way. It's what I heard and might not be true.

LF: .277
CF: .264
RF: .272
   62. Sam M. Posted: February 06, 2005 at 04:33 AM (#1127574)
Like I said before - and no one has bothered to address - you can still sign free agents AND develop a quality farm system.

You're missing the point. Every team decides what it's going to spend on its draft picks in any given year. There is no indication -- none -- that the Tigers' budget for this aspect of their operation is markedly higher than other teams. Nor have I seen any indication they are increasing it in 2005 to make it higher.

So if you're telling me they can do both, fine. Let's see if they do. If they don't, then I will say they'd have been better served taking the $12M they're on the line for in 2005 (according to AP) and allocating it to their draft budget. With that, they could draft and signing at least four additional first-round talents they draft in the later rounds, beyond their actual first-round pick. IMO, that would have been a better use of that money, while still leaving them with $63M in the subsequent years that is now committed to Ordonez.
   63. Sam M. Posted: February 06, 2005 at 04:35 AM (#1127576)
Did Santana hit 4th or 5th last year? I forget

He probably could have hit 4th on the 2003 Tigers.

OK, that was a cheap shot. Couldn't resist.
   64. Buddha Posted: February 06, 2005 at 04:52 AM (#1127590)
Sam: I'm not missing your point, don't flatter yourself. (cheapshot returned : ) )

1) Neither I nor you know the Tigers' draft budget. So you don't know if they've done that or not.

2) I think you're much more likely to see a return on an investment in Ordonez than you are in spending a lot more cash on mid to late round draft signing bonuses. But we probably disagree on that. Fair enough.

Pops: at bats

Ordonez:

535
624
588
593
590
606
202

Drew:

368
407
375
424
287
518

I'll take Ordonez's at bats and production over Drew's teasing production followed by a 15 day DL stint for his recurring hang nail problems.
   65. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 06, 2005 at 04:54 AM (#1127594)
I'll take Ordonez's at bats and production over Drew's teasing production followed by a 15 day DL stint for his recurring hang nail problems.

Who's contract would you take?
   66. Buddha Posted: February 06, 2005 at 04:56 AM (#1127597)
"Who's contract would you take?"

Drew's with the Ordonez injury clause. How's that for playing both sides of the fence?
   67. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 06, 2005 at 04:56 AM (#1127598)
Who's Whose contract would you take?

D'oh
   68. Buddha Posted: February 06, 2005 at 04:56 AM (#1127599)
Pops: And it's not an either/or proposition. Drew wasn't coming to Detroit.
   69. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 06, 2005 at 05:02 AM (#1127603)
Pops: And it's not an either/or proposition. Drew wasn't coming to Detroit.

True, I have gotten off track. My point with posting the EQAs was that I think Ordonez is a very good player but I don't think he qualifies as great. Even if he didn't have injury concerns. I just tossed Drew in there for comparison since he was mentioned earlier in the thread.
   70. Sam M. Posted: February 06, 2005 at 05:08 AM (#1127610)
1) Neither I nor you know the Tigers' draft budget. So you don't know if they've done that or not.

Come now. Is there, or is there not, a player the Tigers have drafted in the past decade who fits this profile:

(a) touted as a first-round talent, but who slipped because of perceived signability issues, whom

(b) the Tigers drafted after the fifth round and paid first-round money to sign?

Make it simple: have they drafted a player after the 5th round, to whom they paid at least a $1M bonus? That would be a pretty good indication this strategy was in play.

I think you're much more likely to see a return on an investment in Ordonez than you are in spending a lot more cash on mid to late round draft signing bonuses. But we probably disagree on that. Fair enough.

Indeed. We do disagree on that. If you trust your scouts and GM in the drafting game, then picking (in effect) five first-round quality talents is a great strategy for rebuilding your system, and is very likely to pay dividends. If they can't make that work, then the team has bigger problems than Magglio can solve, anyway.
   71. CWS Keith plans to [omitted] at [omitted] Posted: February 06, 2005 at 05:21 AM (#1127629)
I get the feeling that this is the attitude Buddha was b1tching about in post #28. And frankly, I don't blame him. I'd much rather root for a team winning 83 games than 73 games a year.

Chris --

Are you speaking from experience (as a fan), or are you just saying that?

The White Sox, the past four seasons, have won:

83 in 2001
81 in 2002
86 in 2003
83 in 2004

It's not fun to be a fan of a team like this. Sure, there'll be those weeks where your team rips off five or six in a row, and you'll be thinking about who they'll be playing in round one of the ALDS.

A .500 team, or thereabouts, is such a frustrating team to watch. Either be excellent, or rebuild -- that's the way I see it. If one builds a team just to 'get by', he's doing the team he's managing, and the city he manages for, dis-service.
   72. edman85 Posted: February 06, 2005 at 05:53 AM (#1127649)
Wow, more than ever, I will be rooting my rear end off for this team just to prove everybody wrong here, in addition to the many many years of suffering I have endured in my short life.

The best argument by far is the person who said this money should be reinvested in late round draft picks, because it's too risky... Great idea, let's invest the rest in Enron stock while we're at it.
   73. Sam M. Posted: February 06, 2005 at 06:07 AM (#1127667)
this money should be reinvested in late round draft picks, because it's too risky... Great idea, let's invest the rest in Enron stock while we're at it.

Every year, there are a half-dozen or more first-round quality talents who either don't get drafted at all, or slip past the 10th round, because teams believe they are unsignable, or too pricey. A team willing to take $10M or more and spread it around could draft them in the late rounds, and get 3-5 of those "unsignable" players.

The result? Not only their own actual first round pick, but up to a half-dozen first-round talents all brought into the system at the same time. Of course, each one may not pan out. But if your scouting and development systems are SO POOR you can't get a nice haul of talent out of that investment, then your team has no hope anyway.

Is it a better strategy than signing major league talent? Not always; it depends on the major league FA, and on how good your drafting and development are, and how close your team is to contending/winning. But it's surely at least arguable that for the Tigers in this instance -- arguably, still a number of years from serious contention, with a dearth of minor league talent, and when the FA involved is a risky one -- it would have been the better strategy.

Put it this way. Would the Tigers be better off spending $12M in 2005 on:

(a) Magglio, or (b) four prospects they sign for $3M bonuses each, in addition to their own first-round pick?

If they'd chosen (b), they'd not only have the players, but they'd also have the rest of the $63M they're going to pay Ordonez between now and 2009, to use on major league payroll or whatever they choose to, next year.

You can call that Enron if you'd like. OTOH, it might just be like buying Microsoft in 1980.
   74. Old Matt Posted: February 06, 2005 at 06:26 AM (#1127708)
Wither Craig Monroe?
   75. Buddha Posted: February 06, 2005 at 06:31 AM (#1127713)
"Every year, there are a half-dozen or more first-round quality talents who either don't get drafted at all, or slip past the 10th round, because teams believe they are unsignable, or too pricey. A team willing to take $10M or more and spread it around could draft them in the late rounds, and get 3-5 of those "unsignable" players."

Sam: Like whom?
   76. Sam M. Posted: February 06, 2005 at 06:47 AM (#1127741)
Buddha, I'll give you one example. Last year, in the 14th round, the Mets drafted a RHP named Brad Meyers. Meyers was seen as 2nd round talent, but slipped because he was a "tough sign," because he was believed committed to attend Loyola-Marymount. The Mets took a shot, but weren't willing to pony up first round bonus money and he went to college. That's the kind of guy a team could decide to take, and perhaps turn $10M into the equivalent of five first-round picks.

Then there's the Jeremy Sowers story. He told teams he was committed to Vandy, and it would take a huge signing bonus to change his mind. The Reds drafted him -- in the first round -- and made a token offer, pretty much in order to avoid paying for even ONE first round pick. Had the Reds not been trying to play games, the odds are Sowers would have slipped significantly, and been available in the later rounds for a team using this strategy.
   77. Buddha Posted: February 06, 2005 at 07:08 AM (#1127763)
Sam: Anyone who has ever made it to the major leagues? Anyone who has ever been close to Ordonez in terms of production in the majors?

I'm not trying to be an ass, I just think that there are no sure things in the MLB draft, especially if you're talking about pitchers. Throwing a lot of money at 5 or 6 kids who happen to slip is as likely - or more likely, IMO - to be money spent on players that never contribute to a major league team than spending money on a proven major league talent like Ordonez.

I don't think your idea is without merit, but it's EXTREMELY risky. Even more risky than signing magglio and his bandaged knee.

I think we (and I include myself in that "we") tend to overvalue prospects a bit on this site. And I am fairly certain we all overvalue silly things like "marginal dollars per win" and other invented financial statistics.

The MLB draft comes down to good scouting, good player development and luck. I'm not so sure that throwing $15 million more into that process (on top of the amount the Tigers already throw into it) is going to help. Rather, they need to put the right people in charge, change the nature and feel of the organization. DD has started to do that (2 years too late, IMO, but apparently there was some unwillingness to spend $$$ when Illitch's wife was in charge and now she's gone) by hiring Avila and now Chadd. Once the Tigers start to win consistently, pay their players well and treat them well and improve the teaching and scouting throughout the organization, then we'll start to see change.

If the change first starts at the top with the major league club, then so be it. Seems like a good place to begin to me. And if that means paying too much for one or two players in the beginning, then so be it.

One or two fifth round picks that slip aren't going to change the organization.
   78. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 06, 2005 at 07:12 AM (#1127767)
One or two fifth round picks that slip aren't going to change the organization.

What about investing in Latin America? Ordonez himself was found this way.
   79. Sam M. Posted: February 06, 2005 at 07:23 AM (#1127781)
I'm not trying to be an ####, I just think that there are no sure things in the MLB draft, especially if you're talking about pitchers.

Well, I would turn that around and say that -- because there are "no sure things -- a team willing to make a deep commitment like this puts itself in a far better position. Instead of crossing your fingers hoping your one shot at a first-round pick pans out, you are giving yourself 3, 4, 5 shots at a first-round quality talent. The odds are then MUCH better that at least one or two of them is going to pan out, and your draft isn't so dependent on the first-round pick.

As I said before, it's not fair to hold the draft/development approach to a "sure thing" standard. Signing FAs isn't a "sure thing," either. Think the Yankees wouldn't have been better off putting just two years of the Giambi money into my idea? The Dodgers with Dreifort, the Rangers with Park, etc., etc., etc. Until a team systematically tries what I've suggested, we'll never know if it would work to dramatically increase a team's yield from its draft crop, will we?

I think you're kind of defensive about this because I've raised it in the context of the Tigers and the Ordonez signing. It's really not about the Tigers, though: it's about the sameness, and the lack of innovation, in how teams approach the acquisition of talent. I just wish we'd see more teams adopt strategies that depart from the standard approaches, that try different things. To me, what was cool about Moneyball was that the A's were trying SOMETHING different -- more than what it was, the mere fact they were willing to break the mold was great.
   80. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: February 06, 2005 at 07:58 AM (#1127826)
What's more innovative than spending $75 million on a dude with a gimpy knee? $150 million for Bill Veeck's midget?

I think it might be a terrible signing, but I also don't know what Mag's injury is like--I'm no Will Carrol.

If it's an injury that either is not going to affect him or will keep him out of the lineup for a long time, then I don't think the injury is a factor--they've got the out clause.

If there's a decent chance that even if Mags is around, he underperform his normal standard, it's the worst of the worst contract since he production is not other worldly, so if it drops, he's no longer an elite player.

On the flipside, it probably propels them to the front of the line in the race to give Boras' next mediocre pitching client an 11 year $88 million contract.
   81. Topher Posted: February 06, 2005 at 08:44 AM (#1127868)
It seems to me that if the Tigers have $12M to spend on an outfielder for 2005, it would have been better to make a trade with the Cubs for Sosa. Given the injury risk, I'd rather have Sosa than Ordonez this year. And that doesn't take into consideration that you aren't locked into a multi-year contract with Sammy.

And it wouldn't surprise me that in that hypothetical deal they would find a way to unload Higginson to the Cubs. Sosa would improve the team this season, and you don't lose the financial flexiiblity in the long term. Plus you get rid of Bobby H., which they've only been trying to do since the last century.

(Unless, of course, Sosa rejected a trade to Detroit -- I don't think he did, but I didn't follow the Sosa talks as close as others.)
   82. Eddie Gaedel Posted: February 06, 2005 at 10:11 AM (#1127902)
Buddha,

Just looking at the Cards, Rick Ankiel was drafted in the second round and given an (I believe) $2.5M contract.

JD Drew, whose got plenty of talent, didn't take the Phillies offer in 1997 and ended up a Card as a #10-ish pick.

If the Phillies (who ended up with Pat Burrell) or any of more than a half-dozen teams picking ahead of the Cards in 1998 had the money and the willingness to spend it, they would have had control of a Major-League ready player (he came up for a cup of coffee that September) for the next 6 years.
   83. Mikαεl Posted: February 06, 2005 at 01:31 PM (#1127934)
It's important to remember, with Ordonez, that New Comiskey inflates offense by 5-10%. He was about 50 RARP during his peak, with roughly average defense. At his peak, Ordonez was not a $15M player.

He's now 31, coming off an injury, and he wasn't worth $15M at his peak. So, in baseball terms, it is a very, very bad contract, verging on wantonly destructive.

But, as the Tigers fans have been saying, the money was just sitting there.

I do believe the numbers are pretty good that an upgrade from 75 to 80 wins leads to a real increase in revenue. I'm pretty sure the data is solid on that point. Second, a team that projects to 75-80 wins has a much better chance of lucking into the playoffs than a team that projects to 70-75 wins.

Here's the thing for me, though. Just as with the Red Sox contract to Varitek, I can see the case that, having backed themselves into this corner, the Tigers had few choices. Ok. But, as with Varitek, how did the Tigers find themselves in this corner?

They're overpaying Ordonez by at least 50%. I have to think that if they had upped Drew's offer to 5/75, or offered someone else, say, 25% more than they were worth, they would've had a shot. The Tigers only got Ordonez by overpaying to a degree that was not reported with any of the other contracts. If they had the money laying around and had to spend in on a free agent, they should have offered more to a better, healthier player earlier.
   84. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: February 06, 2005 at 01:37 PM (#1127935)
(Unless, of course, Sosa rejected a trade to Detroit -- I don't think he did, but I didn't follow the Sosa talks as close as others.)

In all of the stories about the Sosa trade, I don't ever once remember hearing that he was limiting his potential destinations. I think he was ready to do basically anything to get out of Chicago.

And I agree -- if you were going to take a flyer on an OF with a questionable 2004 behind him, Sosa was a much better choice, at least from a contract point of view.
   85. Mikαεl Posted: February 06, 2005 at 01:38 PM (#1127937)
As with draft bonuses, the Red Sox last year snagged two 1st-3rd roumd talents in later rounds - Matt Bono and Mike Rozier - by laying out ~2M more than slot money.

Two points: one, there are always a good number of Bono/Roziers around. You're not going to get a top 5 talent like Drew or Ankiel, you're going to get a guy who might project in the supplementary round or so. It's a much riskier strategy than is being suggested here. And cheaper - you really don't need an extra $15M in the budget, you just need three or four. I don't see it as a subsitute for a big FA signing.

The Tigers gave Verlander a huge contract last year, so laying out the cash for the 1st round pick doesn't appear to be something for which they need to set aside extra money. The Drew comparison, then, doesn't really wash.
   86. The Fallen Reputation of Billy Jo Robidoux Posted: February 06, 2005 at 02:26 PM (#1127961)
From Rotoworld -

Magglio Ordonez's deal with the Tigers will be worth up to $105 million over seven years and includes a clause that will allow it to be voided after 2005 if a reoccurrence of his left knee problem lands him on the DL for at least 25 days.

The AP story would seem to indicate that the Tigers aren't protected from knee problems in 2006 or beyond. Under the terms of the deal, Ordonez gets a $6 million signing bonus, $6 million this year, $15 million in 2006, $12 million in 2007, $15 million in 2008 and $18 million in 2009. Detroit has a $15 million option for 2010 with a $3 million buyout and a $15 million option for 2011 with no buyout. The option years would become guaranteed at $18 million in 2010 and $15 million in 2011 if he has 135 starts or 540 plate appearances in the previous season or 270 starts or 1,080 plate appearances in the previous two seasons.

----

As a Brewers fan I can understand the Tigers pain. But while we can play the "how do you know what they'll do" game until we're blue in the face, all I want to say is that I would rather the Brewers spent the money thrown at Jeffrey Hammonds, Sean Berry, Ben "Ouch my arm" McDonald, and the 2nd Higuera contract, instead put into the minors.

The Brewers often had to make "affordability" picks in those lean years. OTOH, the front office was so incompetent that I doubt it would have made a difference.

And yes, I know that these are two different front offices, owners, etc.
   87. edman85 Posted: February 06, 2005 at 02:46 PM (#1127981)
Buddha, I'll give you one example. Last year, in the 14th round, the Mets drafted a RHP named Brad Meyers. Meyers was seen as 2nd round talent, but slipped because he was a "tough sign," because he was believed committed to attend Loyola-Marymount. The Mets took a shot, but weren't willing to pony up first round bonus money and he went to college. That's the kind of guy a team could decide to take, and perhaps turn $10M into the equivalent of five first-round picks.

The Tigers did that last year with Dallas Trahern in the 36th round, paid him well and he came in and pitched spectacularly in rookie ball, even with the Higginson, Easley, Rodriguez deals clogging up the books...

The thing about Mike Illitch at this point is that I don't expect him to cry poor if any of these deals get in the way. I don't think he won't spend money to keep Bonderman and Infante etc. around, and I think he'll continue to try to bring big name free agents. He's a rich man who wants this team to win all of a sudden.

Also, the relative success of last year's team (72-90) really excited the city. Many many people came out to support the Tigers as they fought for third place. Don't tell Illitch there's no difference between 60 and 70 wins when so many more people will get excited over a 70 win season.
   88. Craig in MN Posted: February 06, 2005 at 04:23 PM (#1128043)
Just stopping in to say "Ha ha...".

Actually it's not that bad. Ordonez is a quite good player, and he'll help a lot if he's healthy. But that's just too much money and too long of a contract.
   89. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: February 06, 2005 at 04:49 PM (#1128100)
The White Sox, the past four seasons, have won:

83 in 2001
81 in 2002
86 in 2003
83 in 2004

It's not fun to be a fan of a team like this.


No it ain't. But it beats being a fan of a team that wins 73, 71, 76, and 73 games every year.

It seems to me that if the Tigers have $12M to spend on an outfielder for 2005, it would have been better to make a trade with the Cubs for Sosa. Given the injury risk, I'd rather have Sosa than Ordonez this year. And that doesn't take into consideration that you aren't locked into a multi-year contract with Sammy.

Now that would've been an interesting move.
   90. groove Posted: February 06, 2005 at 05:37 PM (#1128167)
Obviously the Admiral did not lend his services to somewhere near Detroit following Primer registration.
   91. chemdoc Posted: February 06, 2005 at 05:39 PM (#1128169)
A team has two ways to improve quickly: spend money or spend human capital in trades.

If you're the Tigers, you have far more money to spend than valuble people to spend. The amount of value you add by trades costs more in terms of resources than the amount of value you add with an equivalent amount of money.

To get quality free agents, the Tigers would overpay. To get quality players through trade, the Tigers would overpay. Which way do you prefer they overpay--by trades or signing FA--if they want to win sooner rather than later?

It's like picking the prom date who's the least ugly--but if you're going to the prom, you have to dance with someone.
   92. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: February 06, 2005 at 06:16 PM (#1128219)
To get quality free agents, the Tigers would overpay.

Well they certainly suceeded. But did they have to overpay in terms of both money per year and total years given. Even buying into all the reasons given for why the Tigers made this trade it still comes off looking bad. They had to pay too much for too many years on a player who is a gamble.

Even if they're trying the overpay and cross-your-fingers approach they still did a bad job of it because no one else was offering him anywhere near five years.
   93. Mikαεl Posted: February 06, 2005 at 06:22 PM (#1128235)
Even if they're trying the overpay and cross-your-fingers approach they still did a bad job of it because no one else was offering him anywhere near five years.

I agree. Further, I'd argue that the degree to which they overpaid Ordonez - ~50% - is almost certainly greater than the degree of overpayment they offered other FAs. I think Adrian Beltre could have been theirs for 5/75, or JD Drew - and both Drew and Beltre are better players than a healthy Ordonez once you account for age.
   94. Buddha Posted: February 06, 2005 at 06:49 PM (#1128293)
"I think Adrian Beltre could have been theirs for 5/75, or JD Drew - and both Drew and Beltre are better players than a healthy Ordonez once you account for age."

Why do you think either of those players would come to Detroit? And what makes Drew any more of a sure thing than Ordonez? Talk about an injury risk.

Sam: Of course the only reason I'm getting upset is because it's the Tigers! Actually I'm just excited this hasn't turned into a Mets thread yet.

As for your draft strategy and whether or not the Tigers are doing it, I'll leave that to Edman, who knows more about the Tigers minor leagues than I do. If he says they are, then they are. And that would go to back up what I've been saying all along: you don't have to either sign free agents OR build through the draft creatively or otherwise. You can do both.

Pops: The Tigers HAVE invested in Latin America. They've opened up at least one or two "academies" down there. They signed Wilkin Ramirez to a big deal a few years ago.

I think a lot of you are making superficial criticisms of the Tigers. Honestly, most of you aren't Tigers' fans and don't know anything about the Tigers and only pay attention to them when they offer what you think is too much money to some free agent (Pudge, Percival, Ordonez). Then everybody comes on the site and cries about how the Tigers are stupid and how they need to build through the draft and how this is taking away resources, yadda yadda yadda. Then I come on the site and bytch and moan about you guys and the circle of life continues... : )

But my point is (yes, there is one!), the Tigers ARE doing a lot of the things you guys keep saying they should do. They are investing in latin America, they are drafting tough-sign players low and paying them more. They are investing in the farm system. But it hasn't paid off yet. So in the meantime they have to get talent somehow. And since they're in Detroit and they've been one of the worst teams in baseball for the last decade, they have to overpay. And I'll agree, they paid a LOT for Ordonez, probably too much.

But it's not a "or" situation. It isn't like they could have had Beltre but they picked Ordonez instead. Beltre, Drew, Pavano, etc turned them down. Ordonez was the only one who'd take their money.

I don't think they're done yet. Get some pitching help and maybe they can fight for the division this year? Anybody want a nice shiny Rondell White?
   95. RP Posted: February 06, 2005 at 07:17 PM (#1128371)
I pretty much agree with Buddha here. Just substitute "Orioles" for "Tigers" in his previous comment and you'd have my thoughts exactly. A lot of posters were critical of the Orioles deal with Tejada b/c the Orioles overpaid and were "bidding against themselves." Who cares? It looks like a fantastic deal now, and it was a reasonable deal at the time it was signed. And a lot of people have argued that the Orioles are foolish for getting guys like Kline b/c that $1 million could be better spent elsewhere and the Orioles aren't going to contend. Please...if the team has a chance to make itself better without crippling itself for the future it should. You can't simultaneously criticize the owners for pocketing profits and then complain about overspending for players. I know I'm generalizing, but I think that comment applies to a lot of people here.

All of that being said, the Tigers certainly overpaid for Ordonez. But hey, it's not our money, and like Buddha said, there's no evidence that this deal will cripple them going forward.
   96. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: February 06, 2005 at 07:51 PM (#1128432)
"Drew's inclusion on this list is silly. His pay is right in line with his projection."

What projection is that? The one where "Mr. Healthy" himself actually plays a full season?


If you're so lazy that your analysis of a player's injury history doesn't go beyond looking up his number of at-bats and making cracks about hangnails, I don't know what to tell you.
   97. Buddha Posted: February 06, 2005 at 07:56 PM (#1128444)
"If you're so lazy that your analysis of a player's injury history doesn't go beyond looking up his number of at-bats and making cracks about hangnails, I don't know what to tell you."

Wow, what cutting edge commentary. Thanks for contributing to the discussion! I don't know who else but you would have thought of such an insightful, witty and accurate way of getting her point across.

Good job. After that, I just don't know what to say.

Wait a second. Yes I do. #### you #######.
   98. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: February 06, 2005 at 08:02 PM (#1128457)
What have you contributed to the discussion, ass? Unless you have reason to believe a David Wells fastball to the hand is likely to recur or you know something about his patellar tendon that his doctors don't, nothing you have to say rises above the level of fanboy idiocy.
   99. TDF, situational idiot Posted: February 06, 2005 at 08:20 PM (#1128490)
"Drew's inclusion on this list is silly. His pay is right in line with his projection."

What projection is that? The one where "Mr. Healthy" himself actually plays a full season?

If you're so lazy that your analysis of a player's injury history doesn't go beyond looking up his number of at-bats and making cracks about hangnails, I don't know what to tell you.


Well, the projections I've seen do seem to assume Drew will have as many AB's as last year...which was almost 100 more than any other year. Also, he seems to miss alot of time every other year, and last year was unfortunately the healthy one.

...

Buddah, I applaud you. Replace "Tigers" and "Ordonez" with "Reds" and "Milton", and you have said much better everything I have been trying to convey for the past 2 weeks in various threads.

I, too, think too many here have only 2 goals: Win the World Series, or win the "wins per dollar" derby. And I think that is because many of those people are fans of the Cubs/Red Sox/Mets/Yankees - teams that really can sign anyone they want, with the expectation that they should win it all this year. We fans of the underling clubs "just don't get it" that we should be happy just to fill the stadium when their teams (the superior franchises) are in town. And we should stay away in droves other times, because our owner's aren't smart enough to deserve our support.

The Reds have been pretty disappointing for the past 4 years. Owner stinginess has been a big part of it, along with bad injury luck. Now that the owner has opened up the pocketbook a little, the signings aren't seen as smart enough. Well, much like Detroit, who wants to play there, even for 25% more money than the title contenders are going to offer?

In one of the first "Milton belongs in Little League" threads, someone insisted that Cleveland couldn't have been interested in him, because they didn't sign him. Maybe they were, but not for 3 years. Or for only 3/21 or 3/24, not 3/27. We may never know.

Rebuilding through the draft takes time, time that a team like the Reds or Tigers can't allow to become more 60 win seasons. Overpaying now for decent talent so long as they are addressing the minor league system (which the Reds, I think, have done through last year's trades and picking up Kozlowski, along with a much better draft than in years past) is probably the best thing, not the worst, that such a team can do.
   100. TDF, situational idiot Posted: February 06, 2005 at 08:23 PM (#1128497)
our owner's

our owners

And this from the 's Nazi.
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