Saturday, July 24, 2010

Ordonez Fractures Ankle, Out 6-8 Weeks

Magglio Ordonez left tonight's game after the third inning with a fractured ankle and will be out six to eight weeks.  His ankle had already been bothering him and he was being used as a designated hitter to reduce the risk of further injury.  However, he twisted his ankle sliding into home on a double by Miguel Cabrera in the bottom of the third.  He had to be helped off the field and x-rays revealed the bad news later.

The Ordonez injury combined with Brandon Inge's broken hand may be too much to overcome for a team trying to stay in the race in the American League Central division.  They already have five rookies playing regularly and will likely call up another tomorrow.  Possibilities include Ryan Strieby, Casper Wells and Wilkin Ramirez.  This could also mean more playing time for Ryan Raburn and Donny Kelly.  The line-up is not looking good at all right now.

This week's injuries will probably alter what they will try to as the trading deadline approaches. Much of the talk has centered around acquiring a starting pitcher such as Danny Haren or Ted Lilly.  There has also been talk about relievers, although specific names have not been mentioned seriously.  They might now shift their attention to hitters.  One possibility would be to move Carlos Guillen back to DH, Johnny Damon to left field and Scott Sizemore to second base and to acquire a new third baseman. 

Of course, they might also decide that they are no longer serious contenders and stand pat.  They could spend the rest of the season finding out which young players are ready for next year. 

Another thing to think about is Magglio Ordonez's contract.  His 2011 option will vest if he reaches 135 starts or 540 plate appearances in 2010 or 270 starts and 1,080 plate appearances in 2009-2010.  He has only 84 starts and 365 starts so far this season, which makes it virtually impossible for his option to vest.  This means the Tigers will be able to shed his $15 million contract, or at least sign him at a lower salary.   

With the end of contracts of Ordonez, Dontrelle Willis, Nate Robertson, Jeremy Bonderman, Johnny Damon, Gerald Laird and Brandon Inge brings, over 60 million will be coming off the books after the season.  A couple of those players may be back at lower salaries, but I think we can expect a lot of wheeling and dealing this off-season.

For now though, the injury is a big blow to their chances to contend for the division title.  It could lead to a disappointing rest of the summer for Tigers fans.  All we can do is wait and see how things unfold starting with the player they call up for tomorrow's doubleheader.    

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