LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Tigers watched Magglio Ordonez move around on his surgically repaired right ankle in a private workout Wednesday morning. What it means for the market on the free-agent outfielder remains to be seen.
Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski confirmed the Tigers were represented, a statement agent Scott Boras made earlier in the day. No other club was represented or invited, though neither the Tigers nor Boras confirmed that.
"We had a workout today with Magglio where he got a chance to illustrate just where his baseball abilities were at," Boras said early Wednesday afternoon. "That took place this morning. Teams got to see that. I really don't know [how many teams] because I haven't gotten the report. I know that Detroit was there for sure."
The workout took place in central Florida, close to the site of baseball's Winter Meetings at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. Dombrowski wouldn't offer an assessment or any other details.Speaking with reporters in the hallways of the hotel, Boras spoke about a number of players, including the just-signed Carlos Pena, but his remarks on Ordonez became a popular topic.
The workout for Ordonez was meant to demonstrate the health of his surgically repaired ankle, which Boras has said in recent weeks is fully healed and has allowed him to adopt a normal workout regimen. It would make sense that the Tigers would want to check out his health, especially with Ordonez and Boras seeking a two-year contract.
One reason the Tigers were so cautious about Ordonez's recovery back in August was the nature of the broken ankle. It was a vertical fracture up and down the ankle, rather than across. Putting weight on the ankle too soon could hamper the recovery, team medical officials said back then.
Dombrowski's confirmation was the first statement he has made on Ordonez in at least two weeks. The Tigers had gone silent about their interest in Ordonez, his health, and contract negotiations, citing new baseball rules limiting their comments about free agents. However, they're known to be interested, as are the Rangers and Red Sox. The Orioles were reported to be interested, but O's president Andy McPhail denied that Wednesday.
Ordonez is seeking at least a two-year deal, according to a source. Boras wouldn't confirm that Wednesday, preferring to let the market decide, but he indicated the market on Ordonez has grown in recent days since Jayson Werth's seven-year deal with the Nationals.
"Magglio is a guy that has gotten a lot of interest from a lot of teams now that Jayson has signed," said Boras. "He's a middle of the [order] guy. He's had a great batting average, been a productive guy, he's a veteran player and he's a winner. There are a lot of things about Magglio Ordonez where he fits a broad base of teams. Once Jayson signed, a lot of the teams interested in Jayson are now interested in Magglio."
The Tigers had some early interest in Werth, but backed off after learning the years and dollars it would take to sign him, Dombrowski said earlier this week.
Indications from the Tigers as of early Wednesday evening suggested no deal was imminent on any front. Detroit's front-office members spent Wednesday night celebrating Murray Cook's award as Major League Baseball's East Coast Scout of the Year. Many of those same team officials will travel from Orlando to South Florida this weekend for catcher Alex Avila's wedding, so it appears unlikely the Tigers will make any major moves until next week at the earliest.
That doesn't mean the Ordonez market is stagnant. Given Boras' track record of using top free agents to set the market for those below, the assumption has been that Ordonez's market would move slowly until Carl Crawford (who late Wednesday agreed to a seven-year, $142 million deal with the Red Sox) signs, despite Werth's deal. Boras disputed that.
"Actually, with the amount of interest and such, I would say there's a chance that those types of contracts for veteran hitters, those contracts can move a little quicker than normal," Boras said, "because of the fact that there's just so many people that need bats, just need those 3-4-5 guys. There's just a real shortage of them."