Tigers re-sign Inge to two-year deal

The Tigers took care of their first piece of offseason business Thursday by signing third baseman Brandon Inge to a two-year contract with a club option with 2013, keeping the longest-tenured current Tiger in the Old English D. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The signing completes negotiations that began before the season even ended, a relative rarity for the Tigers. But with the potential additions the Tigers stand to make this winter, they wanted to quickly move on keeping their defensive stalwart at the hot corner before he could hit the open market.

The 33-year-old was eligible for free agency this winter, having just finished a four-year, $24 million contract he signed after the Tigers’ trip to the World Series in 2006. The Tigers have been through plenty of change since, including a brief positional move for Inge a couple years ago, but his defense at third has become one of the constants.

Inge batted .247 this year with 28 doubles, 13 home runs and 70 RBIs in 144 games, having missed two weeks to a fractured hand, but his strength has been his range at third. He ranked third among AL third basemen in range factor and total chances, though his zone rating ranked more towards the middle of the pack.

The total package was something the Tigers wanted to continue, especially given their desire to retain Jhonny Peralta at shortstop for next year and look for offensive moves at other spots.

“I think with Brandon, you have to know what you have in a player,” team president/general manager Dombrowski said at season’s end. “First of all, he’s an outstanding defensive third baseman. We all know he’s a gamer. He gives you everything he can. He represents what you want on the field. He never leaves an ounce of anything behind that’s out there.

“He gives you some offense. I don’t think you write down Brandon Inge as coming out and hitting 25 home runs and knocking in 100 runs all of a sudden. I think you have to look at the numbers he’s put up and figure that’s probably the type of hitter you have. If he gives you more, that’s great.”

Inge has long expressed his desire to stay in Detroit, but he also wanted multi-year security. He was seeking a three-year deal at one point and had a two-year offer from the Tigers at season’s end, but the third-year option proved to bridge the gap.

“This is where I want to play, as long as they’ll let me,” Inge said at season’s end. “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.”

Inge has been in the Tigers organization his entire career, from draft day until now. He made his Major League debut in 2001, and is one of just two players left in town who were around from Detroit’s 119-loss season in 2003 to its World Series trip three years ago. Ramon Santiago is the other, but he was traded out of the organization and came back.

Inge made Michigan his full-time home this year, making him the only Tiger who lives in the area year-round. It appears he’ll be able to commute to work for at least the next couple years.

14 Comments

I’m overwhelmed with ambivalence. While I think the world of Inge as a humble, modest, community minded athlete (not a multitude of those around), I am resigned to the medicocrity it contributes to the team offensively. A team with a palpable need need to become an offensive threat has just aceepted 3 of their 4 infielders next year as being dubious offensive impacts. There are no Longoria’s, Tulowitzki’s, or Polanco’s in there! Our group COULD collectively hit under .250 and conceivably produce less than 35 HRs and 180 RBIs among them. Throw in a a developing catcher like Avila in his 2nd year and you have a pretty impotent group of infielders—MCab notwithstanding.
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The Hot Corner is one of those postions where you can “load up” offensively. DD has mad a mistake in judgement here. Peralta (who I’d keep if we had a game-changer at 3rd) now should be let go and look for a game-changer to plug in there. I like Peralta but as dependable and solid as he is he does nothing exceptionally well.
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I was shocked when Brandon got his last contract. I remember wondering why so much and so long. Same with Bondo and Nate. DD went a little dreamy after 2006 and many players benefitted.
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We now have a very mediocre infield that will struggle to produce offensively , inexperienced , slow (aside from Rhymes who’s just inexperienced!). Now we add an appointed LF to an outfield composed of a sophmore (careful with those sophmores) and a brittle aging RF to platoon with a puzzled rookie with seeping self-confidence. Can’t forget a DH who will hit a handful of HRs and drive in 40 ors so while making numerous mistakes on the base paths to go with his .260 average. At least till he pulls a hammy or twists an ankel or tweaks a shouler or tears his knee up.
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This is what you pass off as a team for 2011 Dombrowski?
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For all our sakes—-wake up.
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And that is not even considering the pitching staff and incompetent field managing.

It’s step one in the plan. Not sure if it will be a good or bad plan when all is said and done, but this was expected. We won’t know which direction this thing is going until after the WS.
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We need solid pitching top to bottom and a more aggressive approach on offense, which includes baserunning. We don’t put enough pressure on opposing teams. We’re not going to hit 240 homers no matter who we acquire. More than new players, we need a new philosophy, and you know what that means. Until then, we’re treading water anyway.
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Welcome back again, Brandon. You may remember a bunch of us here counseling you to go along with the positional changes in 2008 and it would work itself out. Well, it’s worked itself out. No fee, we fans are a not for profit service.
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–Rich

Congrats to Brandon and his agents (Levinson Bros. and Keith Miller) for getting this deal during the exclusive rights time period…The Tigers should now turn their efforts to signing/renewing Peralta, another Aces player, quickly so they can concentrate their efforts on new offensive and bullpen opportunites

too early to grade this move, particularly since the $$ amount still unknown. depends what else gets done in the offseason. expect the roster to be shuffled quite a bit. gm report cards come out in the spring, not before the ws is done.

No comment!

While not using those new cutting edge stats here, I did run Inge’s traditional numbers for 2010. “Before” is before his broken hand, and “after” is obviously after the injury. “Pace” is calculated for a full season.

Before:

BA .263
HR pace 12
RBI pace 74
OBP .342
SLG .413

After:

BA .223
HR pace 21
RBI pace 87
OBP .288
SLG .371

Overall much better numbers before being injured, but his HR and RBIs jumped afterward. What does it mean? I don’t know. I’m just putting it out there.

I am pretty sure that he’d do better if JL didn’t play him EVERY SINGLE DAY.
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–Rich

Good, now get him a hypnotist for his hitting and move him to shortstop and get Beltre for third.

Following Rich’s post, Inge has generally been an offensive dud post break since 2006 and it amazes me management has never talked about the need to regulate his playing time.
Inge’s 2011-12 Contract seems ‘fair’ at $11m with a $500k buyout for 2013. It seems DD will convert Peralta’s $7m into a similar extension.
I am not comfortable with both and would have leaned towards the team mascot.
Crazy that a ‘fair’ contract for an average MLB player sets him up for life after only 1 or 2 seasons.

Brandon’s presence on the bench and in the locker room is worth whatever the money turns out to be. Our desire to win cannot overcome the need to deal with the human element of the team. Guys like Brandon and Carlos are the heart of that element of the Tigers and I for one am absolutely thrilled to see him come back.

Don’t mind that he is back and don’t mind that it is a two year deal, but in my opinion $11.5 for two years is toooooo much money for him. If he hit 20+ homers maybe but he is too inconsistent for me in that regard.

The story is that Inge drives JL crazy if he’s not in the game. I have to wonder who’s in charge here? As I’ve said before, I can teach a dog to sit. Brandon will be 34 and needs more days off.
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Regarding Peralta, if they’re set on having him back, I’d just pick up the one year option and forego any multiple year deals. I’m not sold on him yet, and suspect he may need to be playing for a contract at all times. There’s nothing wrong with a one year deal for this type of player. If he walks, he walks.
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–Rich

Well, if you listened to the DD and Inge interview today, you will know how Brandon despises selfishness in the clubhouse. I won’t quote but he said something to the effect that they had to rid the clubhouse of selfish players.
If only he could hear himself talk. Please, do all of us a favor, Brandon, and take some days off. Your age has already started to show and you do better after a rest. Let Donny, Danny, or Jhonny play 3rd once a week or so.
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I don’t know why I like Jhonny Peralta, I just do. I liked him the first day he put on a Tigers uniform. He’s such a humble guy, the complete opposite of Inge. If he has a slump, you can tell he’s not happy about it, but he usually rights the ship pretty quick. I’d like him better at 3rd, but that’s the way it goes.

People forget how good Jhonny Peralta played 3rd base for what we thought was going to be at least a 6 week assignment. He looked so good at 3rd that Brandon had to come off the DL after only 2 weeks with a broken hand.

Well, I am a fan with my heart and not always my head. I love Brandon and would have hated to see him in a jersey for anyone else. That said, I totally agree that Brandon has to learn to not always play hurt. Achy is one thing – hurt is another. And days off don’t mean you a liability, it means you need some time to rest yourself to be the best player you can be. I also think Cabrera needs more time off, at least in the field. I know everyone says first doesn’t require as much but I still think mentally a few days off in the field is necessary.

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