Magglio’s return to Tigers far from certain

The Tigers have interest in Magglio Ordonez, and Ordonez has interest in staying with the Tigers. Starting Sunday, other teams and other free-agent outfielders will get to enter the mix and negotiate with each other. And the talk won’t just be on the Tigers side.

While the Tigers hit the free-agent market in search of a run producer for the middle of their order, Ordonez’s agent, Scott Boras, expects to gather interest in his client from several teams. So if an Ordonez return to Detroit is going to happen, it isn’t likely to happen quickly.

“We’ve gotten a lot of early calls,” Boras said. “I think with this marketplace, the right-handed hitters of that ilk, like Magglio, there’s going to be a very strong demand for them.”

How much of an impact Ordonez’s ankle makes on his offseason remains to be seen. He’ll turn 37 at the end of January, and Tigers fans witnessed Scott Sizemore’s slow recovery from ankle surgery this past season. Boras, however, echoed comments Ordonez made to Venezuelan reporter Augusto Cardenas last month, that his ankle is at 90 percent and strengthening.

“I think a lot is being made of a standard fracture, what a lot orthopedic surgerons say a minor fracture,” Boras said. “There’s no issue with flexibility, weight bearing, anything like that. It was really just a very simple fracture. It simply took some time to heal. This was not a complicated event. There really will not be any time frame where teams will wait and see if he has any trouble performing.”

There’s a huge advantage for Ordonez in this market if he’s viewed as a full-time outfielder. The outfield market drops off significantly beyond top free agents Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth, unless there are teams that see Adam Dunn, Vladimir Guerrero and Hideki Matsui as full-time outfielders. Ordonez was an everyday right fielder at the time of his injury, and while his short strides towards fly balls looked uncertain at times, his routes were generally true. The one question would be the ankle, and Boras doesn’t expect it to be an issue.

He’s strong enough about it that he doesn’t expect Ordonez to play winter ball — not that he can’t, but that he shouldn’t.

— Jason Beck

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