BASEBALL Ordonez adds power to Tigers
The four-time All-Star was hurt for much of 2004.
DETROIT (AP) -- For the second straight year, the Detroit Tigers added a marquee player about two weeks before the start of spring training.
First, Ivan Rodriguez. Now, Magglio Ordonez.
"Most of us go into spring training excited, but when you sign a big-time guy like Ordonez, it makes you even more excited," Tigers pitcher Jason Johnson said Sunday in a telephone interview from Tampa, Fla.
"It's really going to boost our morale. I can't wait to get started."
After signing in 2004, Rodriguez helped the Tigers win 72 games. That was a 29-win improvement from the previous season, the second-best turnaround in the AL since it expanded in 1961.
With Ordonez's bat in the middle of the lineup, Detroit figures to improve its chances of competing in the AL Central, expected to be among the weaker divisions in the major leagues this year.
"In our game, you go on track record, and he's been an All-Star and a .300 hitter who drives in well over 100 RBIs a year," Tigers manager Alan Trammell said last month after he and team officials met with Ordonez and his agent in Miami.
Ordonez, the last remaining premier free agent, and the Tigers agreed to a $75 million, five-year contract, a baseball source told The Associated Press on Saturday.
The deal could be worth up to $105 million over seven seasons, the source said on the condition of anonymity.
The Tigers are expected to introduce the four-time All-Star outfielder at a news conference today.
Detroit added Ordonez and Rodriguez, both represented by agent Scott Boras, with complex contracts structured to give the team some protection if they are hampered by injuries.
The Tigers would have the right to void Ordonez's contract after the 2005 season if he has a reoccurrence of the left knee injury that limited his production with the Chicago White Sox for most of last year and if the reoccurrence lands him on the disabled list for 25 days or more.
The Ordonez, 31, gets a $6 million signing bonus and a $6 million salary this year.