To hear Brandon Inge talk about the multi-year contract offer he received from the Tigers, one would think he already had his signature on it. That was the tone of his voice.
“I’m absolutely ecstatic about it,” Inge said. “This is where I want to play, as long as they’ll let me. A multi-year [deal], I feel like they’re showing me a little respect. And it’s another thing where everyone’s comfortable with everyone, meaning myself and the organization. They know what they’re going to get. I’m going to go out there and play as hard as I can, rain or shine, whether I’m injured or not. And I think it maybe eases their mind a little bit.”
He caught himself eventually and cautioned that he hasn’t agreed to it yet, that there’s still a business side involved. Still, walking away from the interview, it was difficult to envision Inge not being a Tiger next season.
“You never know,” he said, “but in general, [it's] the gesture of telling me that they want me back and already starting out with an offer. And obviously, there’s a dirty business side of it, but that’s just to be handled. You just have to do what’s fair for you and your family at that point. I’m not looking to break the bank. I just want what’s fair. That’s all.”
It is not hard to envision Inge and the Tigers reaching an agreement before he hits the free-agent market.
“I don’t want to make it for certain, because like I said, there’s a business side of it, but absolutely,” Inge said. “If it’s fair, which I don’t really foresee them not being fair, then absoultely, without a doubt. I’m a person who’s big on loyalty. If they stick beside me and they showed me the gesture this way, then I’m going to stick beside them. I love that. That’s right up my alley as far as respect for the game, respect for an organization, and a lot of loyalty.”
The fact that the Tigers started out with a multi-year offer, rather than a one-year stopgap, is a good sign. Inge had hinted that he was looking for a multi-year deal, possibly even three years, but two years is a good starting point for both sides.
The fact that they started out on that road seemed to catch Inge by surprise.
“It was a matter of whether I was wanted, in my mind,” Inge said. “My only thing was I’m not going to play somewhere where I’m not wanted, that’s all. I’m not saying that in any disrespectful way, but if somebody doesn’t really want you around, then that’s probably not the best move they should make, and I respect that. I’d go my separate ways, then. And obviously [the offer], that’s what I wanted to hear.”