By Sean McAdam
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- If the Red Sox are as interested as it seems in Magglio Ordonez, they have plenty of competition.
The Sox like Ordonez as a right-handed-hitting bat in their outfield, freeing Mike Cameron to serve as a depth outfielder behind Jacoby Ellsbury in center and J.D. Drew in right, while also supplying some at-bats as a righty alternative to David Ortiz at DH.
But as Ordonez's agent, Scott Boras, said Wednesday in the final full day at the winter meetings, there is no shortage of suitors for Ordonez.
"The marketplace for Magglio is pretty aggressive,'' said Boras.
In the end, whether the Red Sox land Ordonez may come down to their willingness to extend him a two-year offer. FoxSports.com reported that Ordonez's asking price is thought to be two years, 20 million.
That figure wouldn't necessarily knock the Red Sox out of the running. Even with the acquisition of Adrian Gonzalez, the Sox are currently committed to approximately 135 million. That figure includes an estimated 11 million salary for arbitration-eligible Jonathan Papelbon and several million more for low-service time players such as Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Daniel Bard and others.
But would the Sox commit to more than a year, guaranteed, to a 37-year-old outfielder who hasn't played more than 131 games since 2008?
Ordonez, who missed several months at the end of 2010 with a broken ankle, worked out in Florida for teams Wednesday. It was unclear whether the Red Sox had anyone in attendance.
At 36 -- he'll turn 37 before the start of next season -- Ordonez is probably past his prime, but that hasn't lessened the interest in him. Along with the Red Sox, the Philadelphia Phillies, Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers, for whom Ordonez played the last six seasons, are very much in the mix.
A source familiar with the negotiations Wednesday added that there is also interest from an A.L. West team -- believed to be Texas -- and at least one other team in the National League other than Philadelphia.
Boras said Ordonez's ankle isn't an issue.
"He's 100 percent -- he's ready to go, Boras said. "Magglio is a guy that has gotten a lot of interest from a lot of teams now that Jayson Werth is signed. He's a middle-of-the-lineup guy. He has a great batting average, is a productive guy, and he's a veteran player and he's a winner. There's a lot of things about Magglio Ordonez where he fits a broad base of teams."
Unsurprisingly, Boras is pitching Ordonez to teams who lost out on Werth, another of his clients, who signed a mammoth seven-year, 126 million deal with Washington on the eve of the meetings.
"Once Jayson signed,'' said Boras, "a lot of the teams that were interested in Werth turned to Ordonez.
"With the amount of interest and such, there's a chance for those types of contracts for hitters, veteran hitters . . . to move a little quicker than normal because of the fact that there's just so many teams who need bats. They need that 3-4-5 guy in the offense. There's a real shortage of that in the game today."
Of course, with the presence of newly-acquired Adrian Gonzalez, third baseman Kevin Youkilis and DH David Ortiz, Ordonez likely wouldn't fit into the 3-4-5 mix for the Red Sox. He'd likely bat sixth, preserving the left-right-left-right combination Terry Francona has all the way through the lineup, with J.D. Drew hitting seventh, a switch-hitting catcher (mostly hitting righthanded) eighth and right-handed Marco Scutaro hitting ninth.