Follow-up from Inge signing

Not a whole lot of indifference towards Brandon Inge’s 2-year, $11.5 million (not $11 million, since he’ll get at least the $500,000 buyout for 2013 even if the Tigers don’t pick up his option) contract. Fans either like it, really like it or really hate it, much like everything else with Inge over the last three or four years.

I’m probably not going to change any minds, but I’ll just offer up some points …

  1. Re-signing Inge isn’t the centerpiece of the offseason. It’s a first piece. You don’t re-sign Inge to bat fifth behind Cabrera; you sign him to bat lower in the order and maintain a high level of defense at third base.
  2. By having keeping Inge’s range and arm at third base, the Tigers have the flexibility to get away with Jhonny Peralta at shortstop. They’re separate negotiations, and nothing is close with Peralta right now, but it would’ve been tough to look at Peralta as a shortstop without Inge to his right. I’m not sure it’s an automatic right now that Peralta gets re-signed, or that his option is picked up, but that’s the Tigers’ preference.
  3. For all the speculation about the Tigers making a run at Adrian Beltre, it wasn’t going to happen. He didn’t give Detroit the time of day when he was a free agent after the 2004 season (he supposedly wanted to play on the West Coast), and he wasn’t expected to this time, either.
  4. There was a decent chance of Inge getting more money, at least a little more, had he hit the open market. There are enough managers and front-office people who value his defense that some team would’ve stepped forward. Inge accepts the idea that he probably left some money out there, but the comfort level of sticking around and the peace of mind this offseason meant more.
  5. One side benefit of re-signing Inge is the continuity in the Tigers clubhouse, where Inge has emerged as a team leader over the last year or two. He isn’t an in-your-face guy, but he gets a lot of respect.

14 Comments

I’m with Rich…how can anyone blame DD already for the 2011 lineup? The 2010 season isn’t even over yet…and from Dombrowski’s comments in the press conference something to the effect of “in what promises to be a busy winter adding a lot of players, Inge is a nice start” there is an opportunity for DD to put together a nice offseason. If this is all that happens and we really do bring back the same lineup, then of course we can all pile on.
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As far as the Inge signing goes, you again have to remember to compare what he gives the Tigers at that price versus what is honestly available for 3B for 2011. Inge has a trusted track record. You know he will play excellent D and will hit somewhere between 15-25 HR if he isn’t hurt. He will probably hit around 240 and drive in around 70-80 runs. He will play hard and be a good clubhouse guy. Who else could they have gotten? Beltre wasn’t coming here, and would have tied them up for way more $$$ and years anyway. Peralta could have played third, but the jury is still out on him…I tend to agree that he probably plays better in a contract year. And again you must consider that if he plays 3B, who is available for SS? It’s not like there are a ton of fantastic FA options out there for these positions who want to come to Detroit.
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The flexibility for the offseason is with the OF/DH spot and the pitching staff. There are always more available sluggers for decent prices at OF/DH than 3B/SS. And we honestly would have been right in it if Scherzer had pitched the first month like the rest of the season and we hadn’t wasted starts on Willis and unready Oliver.

Some very good points on Inge.
As to DD and 2011—don’t hold your breath. He is segues every time he talks. He may want to get some of the same pieces we want but he is already schmoozing that we have enough just the way it is..
As to the clubhouse, I bet Inge is great in the clubhouse, especially those clubhouses that don’t win championships.
Because with the likes of starters like Inge, Peralta, Sizemore/Rhymes, Ordonez, Raburn, Guillen—you aint’ gonna win any championships.
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When I think of acquistitions I think of whether they are championship caliber players. Guys like Jeter, Crawford, Werth, and even Polanco are those types of players.
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The infield as it is right now is nowhere near championship caliber.

Polanco would have made a great 3rd baseman, as we all know. Imagine, Brandon making more money than Poly. I don’t get it. Well, that’s water over the bridge.
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Dan, Derek Jeter is never going to be a Tiger. He’ll remain in NY, but will probably have to switch positions pretty soon. I wouldn’t want him at his age. I’d love to see us get Carl Crawford. Now, that’s an upgrade, but I’m not holding my breath.
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And I hope they know what they’re doing if they do pick up a slugger. Look at Aubrey Huff. Huff’s problem in Detroit was he’s a position player and not a DH. He has been sensational for the Giants all year. I hope they stay away from guys like that who are blocked from playing time.

I think we need to keep in mind that the acquisitions may not necessarily come from the FA list. DD doesn’t get into bidding wars often, and I agree with that. You end up overpaying. Besides, the FA list is somewhat sparse in certain areas.
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I look for trades to bring in people we’re not even considering. What will make this offseason more interesting than others is that it’s difficult to project what will happen. Even I am reading the rumors this year, and I hate rumors.
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–Rich

Well, Rich, I’m with you. Things can change in a moment’s notice. Maybe we’ll see a big trade or just some small ones. I definitely would like another starting pitcher. Not sure if that’s going to happen and DD doesn’t seem inclined at this point. After the World Series, things will start happening.

I don’t say we should go after those guys mentioned—just that they are championship caliber players. I’d love to have any of them to be sure.
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Jeter is most likely going nowhere. Would he work in Detroit? He would be ideal IF we had not signed Inge and we had a cast of characters that might be able to go all the way. We need either a shortstop that we would like to have for the next 5-10 years or one that we want for 1 season. Worth or Iorg are not ready and quite likely may never be.
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I too think that trades will be far more important than FA signings in building this team. In my reverse logic way of looking at things it is just as important to turf some of the personnel on this club as it is to acquire the components we need to succeed. So, yes trades are what will make 2011 not isolated FA signings. That being said, we do need a couple of FA gems.
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I guess I am getting pretty tired of the rhetoric we get foisetd on us by DD in the off-season and JL during. I can’t stand when DD comes out and says things like Sizemore is ready to play 2nd base and Coke is going to be a good LHP starter for the rotation, that Carlos will be the everyday left-fielder–blah-blah-blah.
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We live with Inge. Yes, it could be worse. But I hope we don’t have to hear the media tripe about how he left money on the table signing here, how he is taking less money this year this contract than last (no duh!) how he could have gone for bigger bucks elsewhere but his loyalty is here etc. Brandon would not have got as good a contract anywhere else in baseball than he did here ….again.
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And the comments about his playing time being irrational are spot on. This is not a Cal Ripken or Alan Trammel we’re talking about. This is a guy who is physically limited because of injuries, strikes out at a rate that is alarming, and is a career .235 hitter. If you can give AJ the odd day off you can certainly give Brandon one once in a while too.
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I for one have no problem with the Inge signing. With Brandon we know what we are getting. A true gamer that will always give it his all & is below average at the plate with some pop.
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I’ve said all along that the lineup can carry Inge just not along with the likes of Everett & Laird. At least Brandon gives you soemthing at the plate unlike the later two.
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As someone mentioned earlier I sure miss Polly. To think we gave up a clutch hitter & gold glove 2nd baseman only to give Damon twice as much money to be a weak hitting DH still blows my mind.
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The trade for Polanco was DDs greatest acquisition and letting him walk was his worst mistake. Watching him get clutch hits for the Phillies just kills me. On the other hand I’m happy for Polly. He is a class act all the way.
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Inge is a start. I’m expecting Peralta to follow suit. Then the real fun begins. I’m expecting at least 2 BIG free agent signings and a couple trades. The makeup of this team is going to change a lot in the coming months.
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Joe

I understand them not wanting to sign Polanco to multiple years, but not offering him arbitration in order to get him for one year vs a draft pick was a real mind-blower. And let’s not forget Brandon Lyon. We sure could have used him this past season. And next season.
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The Peralta business bears watching. The longer it takes to get this deal done, the more I suspect something else is up. We haven’t reached that point yet. If we sign him, one year only, please. If he’s really all that, then we can do a multiple; if he wants to stay in Detroit as much as he says he does, that is.
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Perhaps we need to bring signs to the ballpark that say “Rest Inge.” Kelly can fill in for him just fine, and a good time to do it would be when one of those nasty RHers are starting. You know, the guys with those diving sliders that Brandon flails at?
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–Rich

I understand what you’re saying, dan, about Jeter. He’s a winner and we want more players like him. Even if NY let him go(which they won’t) I don’t think he’d approve a trade and even be a free agent and come to Detroit. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s just my impression.
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Don Kelly is one of our most versatile players. He has played beautifully in the field, 3rd and 1st base. Danny Worth can flash the leather with the best of them. But we don’t know how well or how consistent they will be with the bat. Those are 2 fine players that could be used in a trade. Of course, most teams want pitching, so I don’t know who would go and who would stay.
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In the meantime, we get to watch Polly for at least one more game.
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We’ll just have to wait and see how it all plays out. I’ll give DD the benefit of the doubt, since he did get us Cabrera. It was a high price to pay, but well worth it. Two more sluggers and a starting pitcher would be wonderful, Dave.

kathy
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My understanding of the Migg trade was it was Illich’s idea and DD put his stamp on it with the Willis extension.
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It has been a while where we can say we have players worth trading. Sure going to be interesting what eventuates but the team definitely has three big issues in order with a few nice to haves:
1. No. 5;
2. SP #3 with Rick at 4 and take an internal pick for #5;
3. 8th innings experienced relief.
Adding some cream on top with:
4. A RH experienced catcher
5. No. 3 hitter provided he is a significant upgrade on Raburn; and
6. A young infielder with potential to cover SS & 3B with Peralta on a 1 year extension.

If Avila goes anywhere I know where Dombrowski can get a good ***’t GM! What’s your going rate Dave?
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Nice succint summation of our needs!

Sorry for the typo! (succinct)
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One other thing to mention about Crawford. I know he is gonna fetch a bundle of millions but aside from that—-this guy would vitalize the Tigers. Improve the top half of the order immensely. One could argue you could even bat him 5th but he would be so intimidating paired up with AJ at the top of the order or batting 3rd. The guy is an excellent outfielder.
And PAY ATTENTION DD, he PRODUCES with RISP. Maybe a .300 hitter who can swipe 40 bases and pound the ball like that, might be worth it after all!

I too will be furious if DD doesn’t pull off some major moves, so I am with everyone on this.
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As far as winners go…we signed Johnny Damon who won 2 World Series as a major part of each team, including LAST YEAR and what did that do for the clubhouse? Nothing. We were just as inconsistent with just the same fade as always. When I say a good clubhouse guy, I mean someone who doesn’t get into trouble, make stupid comments about race or nationality or start fights with teammates and who inspires people around him. I think Inge does that. Just because he hasn’t been a part of a championship clubhouse doesn’t make his clubhouse contributions worthless. Anyone really think Jeter would have won championships here in Detroit with the cast we have had the past 15 years? MAYBE 2006. And I’m not saying Inge = Jeter, but I think he would have gotten a good contract somewhere else for the same or more money…Monnesota gave Nuck Punto a similar contract a few years ago. Nick Punto.
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I don’t want Crawford, if it means no bopper. His prime asset is his speed, which will only deteriorate. Guys don’t steal 50 bases for 15 years in a row unless they are named Henderson. Guys DO hit 30+ HR and drive in 100+ runs rather consistently once they reach that level for many years. I watch Rays games all the time here in Tampa and I can tell you Crawford is not the answer. Especially not for the $$$ he makes.
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I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hanley Ramirez in a Tigers uni next year. He has a rocky history in Florida, DD has dealt with the Marlins repeatedly and FL is always looking to save $$$. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Oliver, Boesch and Sizemore/Rhymes/Worth go in a deal for Ramirez and Leo Nunez.

The way I look at it, championship teams have “top 5″ players at 7 or more of the 9 positions (including DH). By “top 5″ I mean top 5 in the league (i.e., top 10 in all of MLB). We currently have 2: Cabrera and Jackson. If we bring back Magglio, that’s 3 (contrary to popular belief, there really aren’t that many OF’s who repeatedly hit .300 / 20 / 100). If we bring in a top 5 DH, that’s 4.
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What concerns me is that DD says we’re going with Rayburn in LF, rookies at 2B, Peralta at SS, Inge at 3B, and Avila at C. If that’s true, we’ll have no more than four “top 5″ players. Our only hope is that he’s just saying those things now, but intending to trade up at several positions. Otherwise, the 2011 team will look way too much like the 2010 team that finished at .500.
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I think the smart move would be to use Raburn, Boesch, and the rookie IF’s as trade bait. But you need to realize that contenders don’t trade “top 5″ players — only sub .500 teams trade away top talent. That really limits what’s available.
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And, oh, yeah, we also need a top SP and two top RP’s.
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Just saying, I haven’t seen or heard anything from DD yet that reveals championship-level thinking. Just “hope and change” thinking, and we all know that doesn’t suffice.

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