The Book of Mike

"This is no junior college. This is the notorious University of Miami.” -- Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis, after getting knocked around for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Canes.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Option B for Marlins: Magglio Ordonez?

It has not been this widely speculated yet – actually, I haven’t heard it speculated about at all – but after Carlos Delgado signs, arguably the best free agent left on the market will be Magglio Ordonez, and acquiring him would make sense for the Marlins.

While Delgado is surely the safer bet (check out Delgado’s second half stats if you’re concerned about his healthy), Ordonez could come at a discounted price, and if his health is better than some have speculated (i.e. the White Sox, who were content to let him get away over concerns stemming from his repeated injuries), he could turn out to be quite a bargin for the Marlins.

Like Pudge Rodriguez prior to the 2003 campaign, Maggs could probably be had for a one year deal (if he remains on the market for a few more weeks), and possibly even a one year, incentive laden and/or deferred money contract. Acquiring Ordonez if the Mets swoop in and land Delgado could be a pretty nice second prize on a number of levels:

First, Maggs brings a big bat. He hits for power. He hits for average. Second, he forces one of the Marlins weaker bats to the bench. This would likely be either Jeff Conine or Juan Encarnacion (my guess is that if they were able to sign Ordonez, Encarnacion would be traded for a prospect or two – if a taker could be found – and that Conine would play first base).

Another valuable, although much less quantifiable attribute that Ordonez would bring is in the clubhouse. The Marlins have an emerging superstar in Miguel Cabrera. While Ordonez hasn’t risen to the level of superstardom in the United States that many believe Cabrera will, he is a four time All-Star who is revered in Venezuela as a baseball legend. This influence could teach Cabrera, who is also a native of Venezuela, well and help keep him on the path to the perennial all-star type of career that many experts forecast for him.

About the only thing that Ordonez wouldn’t bring to the Marlins is left handed power. Still, the value of his bat from the right side makes that almost pointless.

There are significant concerns about his health (he only participated in fifty-two games for the White Sox last season), but with the right contract he could be a great fit for the Marlins. It’s definitely too much to hope that the Fish could end up with both Carlos Delgado and Magglio Ordonez, but at the same time I wouldn’t say that it’s out of the realm of possibility. Even ending up with one of the two would be a significant victory for the Marlins this season, as landing either player makes the club a legitimate post-season contender.


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