Five-year deal worth $75 million

Updated: February 5, 2005, 11:58 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The Detroit Tigers snared the last remaining premier free agent of the offseason, agreeing to a five-year, $75 million contract with outfielder Magglio Ordonez, a baseball source told The Associated Press on Saturday.

Magglio Ordonez
Ordonez

Ordonez's deal could be worth up to $105 million over seven seasons, the source told The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity. New York Newsday, which first reported the agreement, indicated the deal could be announced Monday.

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. The New York 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.

Ordonez, a four-time All-Star, hit .292 last season with nine homers and 37 RBI in 202 at-bats. A career .307 hitter with 187 homers, he missed 36 games after injuring his left knee May 19 -- an injury that required two operations -- and then went on the disabled list for good on July 22 with bone marrow edema.

Ordonez made $14 million last year and had been seeking a five-year deal, but he became a free agent when the White Sox did not offer salary arbitration because they were not able to evaluate his surgically repaired left knee.

The Tigers lost 90 games last season -- a 29-game improvement -- in what was the second-best turnaround in the AL since it expanded in 1961.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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