The incident was reportedly serious enough that Major League Baseball referred the matter on to the FBI before Ordonez chose not to pursue the complaint.
"I didn't want to press charges against him," Ordonez told the Times. "I don't want any problems. He is probably desperate for money. I don't understand why he is trying to put people down."
Canseco and Ordonez were teammates for about half a season with the Chicago White Sox in 2001, four years before Canseco made national headlines with his first book, "Juiced." The 2005 best-seller delved into the topic of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball, and Canseco, an admitted steroid user, named several Major League players who he said also took PEDs.
Some of those players ended up being mentioned in subsequent reports and in last month's Mitchell Report. Canseco, in turn, has been pursuing a follow-up book, which he plans to title "Vindicated," as well as a documentary movie expected to be based on "Juiced."
Ordonez was not mentioned in "Juiced" or the Mitchell Report, which referred to Canseco at various points. Canseco talked to members of former Senator George Mitchell's staff for their investigation.
The Times cites sources with knowledge of the situation saying that Canseco or people close to him approached Ordonez last summer as well as associates of his agent, Scott Boras. The offer reportedly was to keep Ordonez's name out of Canseco's upcoming book if Ordonez invested money in a $5 million movie project Canseco is promoting.
Ordonez told the paper that one of Canseco's friends had left messages with him, but that Canseco himself had never specifically asked for money.
"I told [Tigers president/general manager Dave] Dombrowski," Ordonez told the Times, "because I didn't know why he was calling me."
The Tigers, in turn, reportedly passed along the details to the Commissioner's Office, which contacted the FBI. Boras also supposedly filed a complaint with the FBI.
The Tigers are not commenting on the report.
"Any conversations between Magglio and me would be between the two of us," Dombrowski wrote in an email Thursday.
Canseco denied the report when contacted by the Times, saying he had tried to reach Ordonez about his books, and added he had not been contacted by the FBI.
Don Yaeger, a former associate editor at Sports Illustrated who was to be a ghost writer on "Vindicated," told the Times that Ordonez was to be the "most prominent" name in Canseco's upcoming book. However, Yaeger left the project in December because he questioned the evidence behind many of Canseco's upcoming allegations.
"What he sent me," Yaeger told the Times, "was stuff like, 'Look at the difference in their bodies'; there were not a lot of specifics."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.