NEW YORK (AP) The Detroit Tigers snared the last remaining premier free agent of the offseason, agreeing to a $75 million, five-year contract with outfielder Magglio Ordonez, a baseball source said Saturday.
Ordonez's deal could be worth up to $105 million over seven seasons, the source told The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.
Under the complicated deal, Detroit would have the right to void the contract after the 2005 season if Ordonez has a reoccurrence of the left knee injury that hampered his production with the Chicago White Sox for most of last year and the reoccurrence lands him on the disabled list for 25 days or more.
The 31-year-old Ordonez gets a $6 million signing bonus and a $6 million salary in 2005, meaning the Tigers' exposure is $12 million.
His contract calls for a $15 million salary in 2006, $12 million in 2007, $15 million in 2008 and $18 million in 2009. Detroit has a $15 million option for 2010 with a $3 million buyout, and a $15 million option for 2011 with no buyout.
In addition, Ordonez's salary in each of the option years would become guaranteed if he has 135 starts or 540 plate appearances in the previous season, or 270 starts or 1,080 plate appearances in the previous two seasons. If his 2010 salary becomes guaranteed under this provision, it would be at $18 million. The 2011 salary would be $15 million.
Tigers president Dave Dombrowski did not return telephone messages.
The Chicago Cubs, Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers backed out of talks this week, and the Mets told Ordonez's agent, Scott Boras, on Friday that they were not prepared to move quickly and would first want to examine the player.
A four-time All-Star, Ordonez hit .292 last season with nine homers and 37 RBIs in 202 at-bats for the Chicago White Sox. A career .307 hitter with 187 homers, he missed 36 games after injuring his left knee May 19 an injury that required two operations, then went on the disabled list for good on July 22 with bone marrow edema.
Ordonez made $14 million last year and the White Sox made no effort to re-sign him.
Detroit went 72-90 last season a 29-game improvement in what was the second-best turnaround in the AL since it expanded in 1961. With Ordonez and Ivan Rodriguez, the Tigers have a potent middle of the batting order in the AL Central, expected to be among the weaker divisions in the major leagues this year.
Newsday first reported the agreement on its Web site Saturday.
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