What Happened to Rey Ordóñez in 1998?

Rey Ordóñez struggled at the plate in 1998, per usual, but earned his second consecutive gold glove award. The human highlight-reel shortstop hit .246 with a .278 OBP and .299 SLG%. While pundits regularly criticized his offensive performance, Ordóñez contributed 15 sacrifice hits, which was 2nd in Major League Baseball. The 98′ Mets finished 88-74, good enough for second place in the NL East, but not sufficient to earn a Postseason birth. 

Now a third-year starter for the New York Mets, Ordóñez played in 151 games (starting 147), each of them at shortstop, where he earned a reputation as the best defensive SS in the business. Defensive metrics indicate that Ordóñez regressed defensively in 1998, but those metrics are highly unreliable. Consider that in the following season (1999), Ordóñez led all MLB players with a 4.0 Defensive WAR. It’s hard to believe that Ordóñez defensive abilities fluctuated so frequently, especially when he won the Gold Glove in 3 consecutive seasons (1997-1999). 

Rey Ordóñez 1998 Stats

AVGOBPSLGHRRBIsSB
.246.278.2991423

What Happened to Rey Ordóñez After 1998?

1999

Rey Ordóñez entered the 1999 season as the incumbent shortstop and enjoyed his best all-around season (according to metrics) along with his third consecutive Gold Glove. His OPS improved from .577 to .636 (the highest of his 9-year career). Ordóñez personal accomplishments helped the Mets to their first postseason birth in years before losing to Atlanta in the NLCS. 

2000

Ordóñez next season (2000) got cut short by injury, which became one of the New York Mets’ greatest tragedies. As an organization poised for a World Series run, their shortstop fractured his left arm on May 29th when he tagged FP Santangelo of the Dodgers. Still early in the season, the front office overreacted to the injury by trading top prospect Melvin Mora to Baltimore for an aging Mike Bordick, who would serve as Ordóñez’s replacement. 

Some argue the trade worked out since the Mets went on to make the World Series (before losing to the Yankees), but Bordick only hit .260 with a .365 SLG% while failing to match the elite defense of his predecessor. Bordick’s numbers declined further in the postseason, and he left the Mets as a free agent after the playoffs to return to Baltimore. Meanwhile, Mora made 2 All-Star games with Baltimore and led the league in OBP% in 2004. 

2001-2002

Ordóñez returned as the starter in 2001 and 2002 though his defensive skills had deteriorated noticeably. Despite his decline, Ordóñez remained a quality defensive player while slightly improving his offensive production. Still, the Mets failed to regain their postseason momentum and missed the playoffs both years. 

2003

After the 2002 season, the New York Mets traded Rey Ordóñez and cash considerations to Tampa Bay for players to be named later (Josh Pressley and Russ Johnson). In simpler terms, they paid Tampa Bay to take Ordóñez off their books. Ironically, Rey Ordóñez played great for Tampa in 2003, improving his OPS to .815 (the highest of his career) but only played in 34 games due to injury. Still, he matched his career-high in home runs in just a fraction of the at-bats. 

2004

Rey Ordóñez signed a minor league contract with San Diego in 2004 but got released before the season. Less than a week later, he signed on with the Chicago Cubs to play his final 23 MLB games and nine minor league games. The once-heralded shortstop only hit .164 for Chicago that season.

2007

After a full season out of Major League Baseball, Ordóñez attempted a comeback in 2007 after signing a minor league deal with Seattle the previous November. After initially making the final roster cut, Rey Ordóñez was sent to minor league camp at the last minute (due to a trade that filled the final roster spot). That was the last we would hear of Rey Ordóñez in the MLB.

What Teams Did Rey Ordóñez Play For?

Rey Ordóñez played for the New York Mets, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and Chicago Cubs. He also played spring training games with those teams along with the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners. 

Where is Rey Ordóñez Now (2020)?

Rey Ordóñez reportedly lives in Miami, FL, where he attends Marlins games (pre-COVID). Ordóñez believes the Mets should hold on to the current shortstop Amed Rosario rather than trade him as they are allegedly considering.

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