Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Rangers interested in Ordonez, asking for his medical records 


After striking out on Carlos Delgado, the Rangers appear to be getting involved in the Magglio Ordonez pursuit.

According to T.R. Sullivan, who quotes Scott Boras, Ordonez's agent, pretty liberally, Ordonez:

1) Won't take a one year deal
2) Doesn't want a significant paycut from the $14 million he made last season
3) Won't DH

Oh, and Ordonez is coming off two knee surgeries, which limited him to 52 games last season, when he posted his lowest OBP since 1999, and his lowest slugging percentage since 1998.

Ordonez is a curious case...when healthy, he's a terrific hitter, a guy with a career .300 EQA who before last season hadn't posted an EQA lower than .304 since 1999. He's not a $14 million per year player, but if healthy, he's a very solid middle of the lineup bat, a guy well worth a 3 year, $36 million contract.

The "if healthy", though, is the hangup. His knee problems have been the source of much mystery and speculation, as Boras has limited access to Ordonez's medical records. Ordonez recently traveled to Austria to have a procedure done on his knee...the procedure had to be done there because it hasn't been cleared for use in the United States.

Boras claims, though, that he's been working out for five months, that he's resumed baseball activities, and that "Whatever clubs need to see, we're willing to do that."

Boras has being laying in the weeds with Ordonez all offseason...it appears that, with the Rangers having been jilted by Carlos Delgado and no other significant free agents left on the market, he may be hoping that Tom Hicks gets an itchy check-writing finger and jumps to land someone, rather than be left empty-handed. Magglio Ordonez is the only single girl left in the bar at 2 a.m....and it looks like Boras is now using that to his advantage, pressuring teams who are afraid of going home alone to make a bad decision. This is particularly true in the case of Baltimore and Detroit, two teams that have reportedly been aggressive in courting free agents, only to end up, for the most part, empty-handed.

Hicks is saying the right things, that the medical records have to be reviewed, that there has to be some protection in case Ordonez can't come back. But after Carl Everett and Brian Jordan, you'd think that the Rangers would be leery about guys who are coming off of major knee problems. I suspect that Ordonez won't be back to 100% until towards the All Star Break, if at all in 2005, so any team pursuing him would need to expect not to get much out of him in the first part of 2005.

I'd be very leery of Ordonez, though. Sullivan claims that if "Ordonez is seeking a contract that exceeds the four-year, $52 million deal Carlos Delgado agreed to with the Florida Marlins on Tuesday, then the Rangers will likely bow out." If Ordonez wants anything close to Delgado's deal, the Rangers need to stay away.

He has put up some very good numbers in the limited time at TBIA. However, the only way I would want to see him in a Rangers uniform is if he signs a one year deal and is the fulltime DH. The deal does not have to be like the Pudge deal, that is with an injury clause. Give him a guaranteed deal worth $9 or $10 million. It's not like Hicks doesn't have the money to spend. Besides, if Hicks saves the money this year, I seriously doubt it will be spent next year.

Sadly, there have been so many teams losing out on free agents this winter (the Rangers among them) that I think teams like the Tigers and Orioles will overspend (both in terms of money and years) to save face. If Hicks and Co. stick to their fiscally responsible guns, then the Rangers will finish the winter in disappointing fashion but without taking on another "dead weight" contract.
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