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Magglio Ordonez is "Close to retirement"


Or so says his Twitter feed. Ordonez, like another former White Sox rightfielder, had attached some preconditions to the continuation of his career, namely that he would only accept a guaranteed major league contract. Considering his less than impressive 2011 season - .255/.303/.331 in 337 plate appearances - as well as his inability to play in the field, no team was likely to offer him what he wanted. And with a week and a half until the start of the regular season, Maggs appears to have accepted that this is the end.

While he'll retire a Tiger, he spent the majority of his career with the White Sox. And that White Sox career almost never happened. The Houston Astros had signed Ordonez to their Venezuelan academy as a 16 year old in 1990. However, they could not find a position for him and elected not to sign him to a professional contract. The White Sox swooped in and signed him the following year as an amateur free agent.

He reached the majors in August 1997 and, with an impressive last month, all but assured that he would be taking over rightfield the next season. His first full season was predictably shaky but, in 1999, he began a five year run of above average production. That run ended when he damaged his left knee in a collision with Willie Harris on May 19, 2004, while both attempted to corral an Omar Vizquel pop-up. While he valiantly played on for a few days, and tried to come back later in the season, his knee eventually required two surgeries. The second procedure was the then-experimental shock wave therapy, which was necessary because blood had stopped circulating to a part of his knee. The shock waves caused microfractures, allowing blood to circulate to the injured area of Ordonez's knee.

While it was unlikely that the White Sox would have pursued the Boras-represented Ordonez regardless, the knee injury sealed his departure as a free agent after the 2004 season. "We wanted to win a championship and for us to pay Mr. [Scott] Boras' price, we would have had to sacrifice one to two key players to fit in Maggs salary in our overall budget," White Sox general manager Kenny Williams said. His White Sox career ended with an excellent line of .307/.364/.525.

Ordonez signed a five-year, $75 million deal with the division rival Detroit Tigers. To protect themselves, the Tigers added a clause in the contract that allowed them to buyout the deal for $3 million if Ordonez spent 25 or more days on the disabled list because of the knee injury. Ordonez' knee fully recovered and, after battling a hernia in 2005, went on to provide five productive years to the Tigers. He also was the subject of one of Ozzie Guillen's earliest war of words in April 2005, with Ordonez calling Guillen "his enemy" and the manager responding by saying Ordonez was "playing with fire" and he "better shut up and play."

While Ordonez just missed making the SSS list of the 20 greatest White Sox players, he was an integral part of the 2000 division winning team and remains in the top 10 in numerous of the club's all-time statistical lists. Adieu, Maggs.