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Detroit won't re-sign Johnny Damon; Ordonez to become FA

Oct 3, 2010, 1:03 PM EDT

Speaking before Sunday’s season finale, Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski said he would not re-sign Johnny Damon or Gerald Laird this winter and that Magglio Ordonez’s $15 million option would be declined.
Dombrowski also indicated that it was unlikely Jeremy Bonderman would be back, but that the team was in talks with fellow free-agent-to-be Brandon Inge about a multiyear deal.
The closest thing to a surprise here is that the Tigers are ruling out Damon, who declined a trade to the Red Sox in August in part because he was happy in Detroit. Damon has given the Tigers their $8 million worth this year while hitting .271/.355/.401 with 11 steals in 536 at-bats.
Ordonez’s option was sure to be declined, but the Tigers will have some interest in re-signing him to a smaller deal. The 36-year-old hit .303/.378/.474 in 323 at-bats before going down with an ankle injury this year.
Getting more athletic in the outfield will likely be a priority for Detroit this winter. Austin Jackson looks like a Gold Glove-quality center fielder, but it’d still help to have him surrounded by better defenders than Damon and Ordonez. Brennan Boesch could play left or right regularly, but he doesn’t figure to be handed a job after his extremely rough second half. The Tigers figure to bring in at least one veteran outfielder this winter even if they re-sign Ordonez.
The other matters were pretty clear cut. Inge, who is finishing up a four-year, $24 million contract, won’t get such a long deal this time, but he might command a similar annual salary. The Tigers like his play at third base even though his offensive numbers don’t really stack up. Laird was sure to be forced out, and the team will find someone else to pair with young Alex Avila in 2011. Bonderman may be offered a minor league deal to return and battle for the fifth spot in the rotation, but he’ll surely seek guaranteed money elsewhere.

  1. andrewlw - Oct 3, 2010 at 1:30 PM

    It’s nice that Dave Dombrowski is so forward and has already come out and said this.

  2. Buccofan - Oct 3, 2010 at 3:41 PM

    I think Detroit is making the right move with respect to Damon. Declining power, declining speed, and his defense is a joke. For $8 million, the Tigers can do better and/or get younger.
    Of course, neither he nor his agent (Boras?) will agree.
    Declining Ordonez’ option is also smart. It’s not a question of performance, it’s the combination of the salary, his health, and his age. I hope they can work something out; maybe he’s the DH in 2011.
    Laird? Pure no-brainer, both him and the Tigers cutting him loose. There are a ton of guys like him available every off-season.

  3. Kiwicricket - Oct 3, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    Not many people party like the Laird famiy though…This must be taken into consideration.

  4. Buccofan - Oct 3, 2010 at 10:34 PM

    As I said, a no-brainer. ;-)

  5. Paper Lions - Oct 4, 2010 at 8:07 AM

    Wait. Since when is a .756 OPS from a horrible LF/DH worth $8? That 20 pts of OPS above an AL average player, with no defensive value.

  6. Gay Richardson - Oct 5, 2010 at 9:45 PM

    Let’s get real here!! The only reason that we’re keeping Alex is because his father is working upstairs in the box!!!!!!!! I feel that Laird is a better catcher than Alex. If someone would help him in his batting, I think he’d be a great catcher for the Tigers. If you all think about it, the only thing against Laird is his batting average, because he sure can catch and he can throw out anyone, way better than Alex. Alex misses too many balls especially when runners are on base. I’d still take a chance with Laird, during the summer, help him with his batting and if he can get that together, he’d be great. If you get rid of Laird you might as well get rid of Alex too because he’s not the catcher for our team. They should have kept Pudge and we wouldn’t be having this conversation. He could hit and hard and he could catch and throw out base runners, but nooooooo they got rid of him so Inge could be the catcher and Cabby would be the third baseman. It didn’t work out like that and now we have this problem with not having a catcher, because I’m telling you Alex is not the catcher for this team. He’s only here because of his father.
    As for Damon, I feel that he stuck with our team when he could have left us, give him at least a one year deal just for the dedication. He has come through for us in a lot of situations, so I say give him a 1 year deal. Maybe as a DH since everyone thinks that he can’t throw from LF. I also say keep Maggs. We do need veterans in the outfield. We have a lot of rookies including Jackson that need mentoring. I have seen Jackson, Boesch, and Kelly running in to catch balls and their gloves are turned the wrong way. Some readers might say ” what is she talking about.” I’m talking about how you’re suppose to catch a ball when you’re running in to catch it. Sure Jackson can catch and run down almost anything hit over his head, but when he’s running in to catch a ball, his glove is turned the wrong way. He does it , Boesch does it and Kelly does it too. I was always told when you’re running in, stick your glove out and you never know what might fall in. Arm stretched out, and glove open upward not running to the ball with your glove hand sticking forward with the fingers forward. This is how Boesch missed a lot of balls in the outfield, also Jackson and Kelly. TURN THE GLOVE AROUND SO THE OPEN PART IS UP INSTEAD OF FACING THE CROWD. Some of you might get what I’m saying and some of you probably don’t know what I’m talking about. This is where the veterans come in, they can teach them how to actually catch the ball which they should already know how. Another thing, why have first and third base coaches if you’re not going to use them. There are so many of the rookies and veterans that hit the ball and as they are running, they just watch the ball instead of letting the first and third base coaches do their job and tell you to come on or hold up. Well I still feel that they should keep Damon and Maggs and Guillen in case they are trying to get rid of him too. We don’t need a whole rookie team. I would like to see the Tigers win another championship before I leave this earth, so please don’t do like you did last year and got rid of half of our team.

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