Tigers' Ordonez benched for cause

June, 18, 2009
6/18/09
8:57
PM ET
What's the deal with overpaid Tigers, anyway? Just the latest:
    The Detroit Tigers have benched right fielder Magglio Ordonez, The Detroit News reported.

    "I'm going to get him away from it," manager Jim Leyland told reporters before the Tigers game at St. Louis on Thursday.

    Leyland said, "indefinitely," when asked how long Ordonez would be out of the lineup.

    Ryan Raburn started in right field in the series finale against the Cardinals.

    Ordonez, 35, has a .273 batting average but has driven in six runs since his last multiple-RBI game May 15. He has two home runs and 22 RBIs.

Talk about your epic fail.

Just for the record, the Tigers owe Ordonez roughly $11 million more this season, plus they're on the hook for another $3 million when they (inevitably) don't exercise their $18 million option for 2010. I have to admit that I never have been able to get my noodle around all the money that baseball teams spend on players who can't really play. I mean, intellectually I understand that it's just the cost of doing business; that there's risk involved with every contract, and even the best decisions will sometimes result in negative outcomes.

But you know, where I come from, $14 million can buy a lot of SpaghettiO's.

Anyway, my intellectual shortcomings are neither here nor there. That $14 million is a sunk cost, and smart owners and executives don't let sunk costs get in the way of doing what must be done. You pay your money, you take your chances, and if things don't work out you cut your losses. Ideally, anyway.

The problem for the Tigers -- and I just wrote about this -- is that the Tigers aren't exactly awash in hard-hitting outfielders. Raburn? Well, sure. He's not the worst hitter in the league. But he can't really hit right-handed pitchers and neither can Marcus Thames, tonight's starter in left field.

The Tigers haven't gotten any offense this season from their catchers, their second basemen, or their shortstops. You can live with that because catchers, second basemen and shortstops aren't necessarily supposed to hit if they play good defense (which the Tigers' catchers and second basemen and shortstops generally do).

But the Tigers haven't gotten any offense from their corner outfielders, either. The Tigers' only offense has come from their first baseman, their center fielder, and their out-of-his-mind third baseman.

Can they win that way? Sure. In 2009, anything is possible in the American League Central.

I wouldn't try it, though. The Tigers (almost) need to trade for a good-hitting outfielder, and there's no reason to wait until late July to do it.

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