Magglio Ordonez returns to Tigers for one year and $10 million

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Last month the Tigers declined their $15 million option on Magglio Ordonez for 2011, but after shopping around for a new team Ordonez has decided to return to Detroit on a one-year deal worth two-thirds the salary.

Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that Ordonez turned down two-year offers elsewhere to re-sign for $10 million, citing his loyalty to Tigers owner Mike Ilitch. That may be true, but $10 million for one year is the same deal Carlos Pena got from the Cubs and several other veteran corner outfielders and designated hitters signed for less, so it’s hardly a big discount for the 37-year-old.

Ordonez can still hit at age 37, batting .303/.378/.474 this season and a combined .311/.376/.466 over the past three seasons, but he missed the final 65 games of the year with a fractured ankle and had become a liability defensively even before suffering the injury in late July. Victor Martinez’s presence makes hiding Ordonez’s glove at DH unlikely, but the Tigers are willing to give up some defense to keep another big bat in the lineup.

Yankees acquire James Paxton from Mariners

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The Yankees announced that the club has acquired starter James Paxton from the Mariners in exchange for three prospects: pitcher Justus Sheffield, outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams, and pitcher Erik Swanson.

Paxton, 30, has been among the game’s better starters over the past few years. In 2018, he went 11-6 with a 3.76 ERA and a 208/42 K/BB ratio in 160 1/3 innings. The lefty has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining after earning $4.9 million this past season.

Sheffield, 22, is the headliner in the Mariners’ return. He made his major league debut in September for the Yankees, pitching 2 2/3 innings across three appearances. Two of those appearances were scoreless; in the third, he gave up a three-run home run to J.D. Martinez, certainly not an uncommon result among pitchers. MLB Pipeline rates Sheffield as the Yankees’ No. 1 prospect and No. 31 overall in baseball.

Thompson-Williams, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the fifth round of the 2016 draft. This past season, between Single-A Charleston and High-A Tampa, he hit .299/.363/.546 with 22 home runs, 74 RBI, 63 runs scored, and 20 stolen bases in 415 plate appearances. He was not among the Yankees’ top-30 prospects, per MLB Pipeline.

Swanson, 25, was selected by the Yankees in the eighth round of the 2014 draft. He spent most of his 2018 campaign between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Overall, he posted a 2.66 ERA with a 139/29 K/BB ratio in 121 2/3 innings. MLB Pipeline rated him No. 22 in the Yankees’ system.

This trade comes as no surprise as the Yankees clearly wanted to upgrade the starting rotation and the Mariners seemed motivated to trade Paxton this offseason. To the Mariners’ credit, they got a solid return for Paxton, as Sheffield likely becomes the organization’s No. 1 prospect. The only worries about this trade for the Yankees is how Paxton will fare in the more hitter-friendly confines of Yankee Stadium compared to the spacious Safeco Field, and Paxton’s durability. Paxton has made more than 20 starts in a season just twice in his career — the last two years (24 and 28). The Yankees are likely not done adding, however. Expect even more new faces before the start of spring training.