Results tagged ‘ Brandon Inge ’

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.

Inge sure sounds like a Tiger next year, and beyond

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.”

Tigers want Inge back, and other end-of-season items

Just finished a long, long conversation with Dave Dombrowski, and he pretty much mapped out the Tigers’ offseason plans and priorities. The biggest point of it: The Tigers will indeed be looking for a middle-of-the-order bat, either in the outfield or at DH, but they want to keep Brandon Inge and Jhonny Peralta at 3B and SS, respectively.

Dombrowski confirmed the Tigers have talked to Inge and his agents, Sam and Seth Levinson, in the last couple days about a multi-year contract and made him an offer. It’s still early, but considering Inge clearly wants to stay in Detroit and the Tigers not only want him back, but seem to consider it a priority, there’s every ingredient for a match.
“We want him back,” Dombrowski said of Inge.
The Levinsons also represent Peralta, and Dombrowski said they’ve been in touch about him, too. That doesn’t mean they’re going to pick up his $7.25 million option, but one way or another, they would like to have him back at shortstop. 
“We’re looking to sign him as our shortstop,” Dombrowski said.
The other contract option they face is Magglio Ordonez, who is in a middle ground right now. Not surprisingly, Dombrowski said they’ve told Ordonez and agent Scott Boras that they will not exercise his $15 million option. However, Dombrowski indicated that they’re open to bringing him back.
“That will not close the door by any means,” Dombrowski said. “For us, he is definitely a possibility.”
Ordonez, in turn, expressed what Dombrowski called “a strong desire to remain a Tiger.” So again, the two key pieces for a deal are there. Whether that results in an agreement is something different. Ordonez is a Boras client, and as the Yankees will attest with Johnny Damon, sometimes those negotiations can stretch out in an effort to get the best deal.
“Magglio will not be a quick sign,” Dombrowski said.
As for the rest of the pending Tigers free agents, the answer is essentially no. Dombrowski told Johnny Damon and Gerald Laird they will not be purusing them as free agents, and Dombrowski said they “most likely” won’t pursue Jeremy Bonderman.
“We’re not closing the door per se, but we’re not actively pursuing him,” Dombrowski said of Bonderman.
Some of the other notes to come out of the nearly hour-long interview:
  • Alex Avila is going to get the majority of the starts at catcher next year. As Dombrowski said, “We’re going to give Alex Avila the primary responsibility at catcher.”
  • Dombrowski stopped short of saying Ryan Raburn is an everyday outfielder, but he came awfully close. “I think we feel he can be a primary guy,” Dombrowski said. “I wouldn’t say he’s an everyday guy, but he’s going to play a lot.”
  • Confirming what Dombrowski told WDFN next month, they’ll go into next season with Will Rhymes and Scott Sizemore competing for time at second base. Dombrowski also said Danny Worth could see time there, as could Carlos Guillen when he’s healthy.
  • Dombrowski on Rhymes: “We like what we see. We think he has a chance to be a spark for us.”
  • Dombrowski seconded what Leyland said earlier about the bullpen as a priority. “Ideally, we’d like to have one more guy in the back end,” said Dombrowski, who used Brandon Lyon as an example of the kind of signing they’d like to make there. 
  • The Tigers will not be pursuing Cliff Lee, or anyone at the very top end of the free-agent starting market. However, Dombrowski cautioned that they won’t necessarily be looking for a stereotypical fifth starter.
  • The Tigers are open to having a full-time DH, if that’s what it takes to add a bat in the middle of the order. In other words, they can find room for Adam Dunn.
  • Brennan Boesch and Casper Wells will compete for outfield spots next year.

Inge, Santiago happy for St. Pierre

Brandon Inge has been in the Tigers system since Detroit drafted him in 1998. Ramon Santiago signed that summer and made his way to the states the next year. The only player still in the system who predates them is Max St. Pierre, who was a teammate of Santiago in the Tigers farm system and went to Spring Training alongside Inge just about every year.

So when they found out Tuesday night that St. Pierre had been recalled, it was big news for them.
“That’s awesome of the organization right there,” Inge said. “It’s really cool when you reward a guy who has worked his tail off for that many years. Just for his determination, his persistence, just to tough it out, I’m very pleased for him to get up here and get a little piece of the pie and for the organization for sticking with a guy like that and giving him a reward.
“That’s a great story. I’m so happy.”
Inge said he was proud of the organization as well as the player for sticking it out with each other, including a reunion a few years ago after St. Pierre left for a season to try to see if he could make it elsewhere.
“It’s an amazing story. He’s been playing for a long time,” Santiago said. “He played most every day with me when I was down in the minor leagues. I’m really happy for him.”
For what it’s worth, when Tigers president/general manager confirmed the news Tuesday night, he mentioned that they had come close to calling him up a couple different times in recent years. The circumstances, he said, just never worked out.

Casper Wells heading to Detroit

The Tigers were on the verge of yet another player move from Triple-A Toledo Sunday night. But the move appears to be a simple call-up, likely to get the Tigers back to their usual number of position players on the 25-man roster, rather than a precursor to any larger move.
Casper Wells was in the Mud Hens’ starting lineup for their game Sunday at Columbus before he was pulled and sent to Detroit in time for Monday’s series opener against the Royals, MLB.com has learned. However, the move is not believed to be related to any trade talks on current Tigers. Indications suggest the Tigers have nothing going on the trade front at the moment, though reports stated they placed Johnny Damon and Brandon Inge on waivers last week.
The Tigers went to an eight-man bullpen ahead of their series last week in New York to help ease the strain on their exhausted bullpen, sending down outfielder Jeff Frazier and calling up lefty reliever Daniel Schlereth. Detroit swapped pitchers with Toledo on Friday, sending down Robbie Weinhardt and calling up Alfredo Figaro, but decided to stay with an extra reliever after three consecutive starters lasted just five innings against the Yankees.
Detroit’s bullpen is in much better shape now after back-to-back seven-inning performances against Cleveland Friday and Saturday from Armando Gallarraga and Max Scherzer and an eight-inning outing from Justin Verlander Sunday. Manager Jim Leyland said Sunday they would not be staying with eight relievers for long. Still, who’s heading back to Toledo isn’t yet clear.
Wells was up with the Tigers in May, starting two games and entering two others as a defensive replacement. He’s hitting .233 for the Hens this year with 21 home runs and 46 RBIs, but his recent numbers are outstanding. He’s batting .354 (23-for-65) in August with seven doubles, three triples, five home runs, 12 RBIs and a 1.246 OPS. His OPS since the All-Star break is 1.040 to go with a .295 second-half average.

Wednesday: Tigers vs. White Sox

The left-side infield experiment begins tonight now that Brandon Inge is back in the starting lineup. He returns to third base, shifting Jhonny Peralta over to shortstop. They’ll bat seventh and sixth, respectively, right behind the shorter-haired Brennan Boesch.

The bullpen again looks like it’s going to be short a closer. Jose Valverde remains under the weather with head and body aches. He was going to try to throw during batting practice today, but he didn’t sound optimistic. “I want to be at least 60 percent, but it’s not good right now,” he said.
TIGERS
  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Rhymes, 2B
  3. Damon, DH
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Boesch, RF
  6. Peralta, SS
  7. Inge, 3B
  8. Avila, C
  9. Kelly, LF
P: Armando Galarraga
WHITE SOX
  1. Juan Pierre, LF
  2. Omar Vizquel, 3B
  3. Alex Rios, CF
  4. Paul Konerko, 1B
  5. Carlos Quentin, RF
  6. Mark Kotsay, DH
  7. Alexei Ramirez ,SS
  8. A.J. Pierzynski, C
  9. Gordon Beckham, 2B
P: Edwin Jackson

Tigers activate Inge from disabled list

After two weeks of surviving without key bats in the lineup, the Tigers finally get somebody back. They activated Brandon Inge from the 15-day disabled list Wednesday, the first day he was eligible after fracturing his left hand on July 19.
Inge is expected to be in Detroit’s starting lineup at third base Wednesday night against the White Sox at Comerica Park. Jhonny Peralta, the third baseman the Tigers acquired from Cleveland last week to fill in for Inge, could shift over to shortstop or designated hitter.
To make room for Inge on the 25-man roster, the Tigers placed infielder Danny Worth on the 15-day DL with a bruised left heel, an injury he suffered over the weekend but tried to play through.
The move brings back not only a right-handed power bat to the Tigers lineup, but also a key presence on the team. While the Tigers have frequently been starting at least three rookies every night as they try to overcome injuries to Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen, Inge is the longest-tenured Tiger on the team, dating back to 2001. 
His return comes about two weeks earlier than the initial timetable of 4-6 weeks that doctors gave him after he took a Scott Feldman pitch off his hand. Even the optimistic projections, taking into account the fact that Inge would want to be back sooner than expected, had him missing three weeks.
When team doctors checked out Inge’s hand and the fractured fifth metacarpal, however, they found no reason why he couldn’t play ball right now if he was willing to play through pain — if he had any.
“He said he had no soreness whatever,” manager Jim Leyland said Tuesday night. “It’s hard to believe, but they said originally — nobody wanted to mention anything about it — that it could be quite a bit quicker. But they didn’t want to get into that, because it’s normally what it is. But from what I understood, the doctors said it’s healed over extremely well, the calcium’s built up. He would have no more chance of hurting that bone that he would any other bone in his body, if he played.”
Once Inge received that clearance, he began taking batting practice on Monday and said he didn’t feel any pain in his hand. After another round of batting practice Tuesday morning, this time with the team, he received clearance to begin a rehab assignment with low A Class West Michigan.
Inge hit two doubles and drove in a run over his five at-bats. After that, Inge was ready to head back to Detroit.
He returns hoping to reignite the hitting tear he enjoyed in early July. He went 12-for-24 with four doubles, a triple and nine RBIs over a six-game stretch against the Mariners and Orioles before going 0-for-9 against the Twins leading into the break. He went 3-for-13 with an RBI in four games after the All-Star break before breaking his hand.
For the season, Inge is batting .263 with six homers and 40 RBIs.

Inge sent to West Michigan on rehab

UPDATE: The Tigers announced just before the day game that Inge is heading out on a rehab assignment to Class A West Michigan, starting tonight. Sounds like he could be back before next week.

While the Tigers were on the road, Brandon Inge was apparently working ahead of schedule on rehabbing his broken hand. He took batting practice on Monday on his own and again Tuesday morning with the team, and he now says he would like to be back next week. He’d be shocked, he said, if he isn’t back by the time the Tigers go to Chicago for the start of their next road trip in a week and a half.

“Grip strength is good,” Inge said. “It really healed faster than I thought it would.”
That doesn’t mean he’s pain-free, but it’s not miserable pain. The one thing Inge wanted to know, he said, was if coming back early would leave the bone in his hand any more vulnerable to breaking again. Team doctors told him it wouldn’t, so he’s pushing it.
Inge has been out for two weeks since taking a pitch off his hand against the Rangers. When the injury occurred, the initial timetable for a return was 4-6 weeks. Inge said even then that he was aiming for a return in three weeks if it was at all possible.

Tigers looking at hot corner of trade market

It isn’t just pitching the Tigers are eyeing on the trade market. With Brandon Inge out 4-6 weeks with a broken left hand, they’re making it clear that they’ll look at help if they think they can swing a deal for a third baseman.
Asked if Inge’s eventual return, potentially ahead of schedule, affects their approach on the trade market, manager Jim Leyland chose his words carefully.
“I think it’s part of the equation,” Leyland said, “but I also think that a month to six weeks is a long time to go without him, if you’re fighting for a pennant. That doesn’t mean I don’t have confidence, but I don’t expect Scott Sizemore to be Brandon Inge. If anybody else does, they’re crazy.
“A month to six weeks is a long time to go without Brandon Inge right now. Then again, what does that mean? Is there somebody out there that makes sense, or somebody you don’t have to give up an arm and a leg for? That’s a tough call. I’ve thought about that, and that’s my answer. Four to six weeks is a long time. You can read into that whatever you want.”
There are options on the market at various prices. CBSSports.com’s Danny Knobler wrote Friday that the Tigers expressed some interest in Mike Lowell, who’s set to begin a rehab assignment in the Red Sox farm system shortly. Boston has been trying to trade Lowell at various points this season, and likely wouldn’t require a lot, but the 36-year-old hasn’t played third base on an everyday basis since last year.
Jose Bautista is another rumored option on the market, and the Tigers will get plenty of looks at him this weekend with the Blue Jays in town. But with Bautista leading the Majors in home runs in his suddenly scintilliating season, Toronto could demand plenty in return.
Inge is a free agent at season’s end, as is Lowell. Bautista is arbitration eligible for another year.

Inge to DL, Fien recalled

The Tigers need an extra arm in the bullpen at the moment more than they need a third baseman to replace injured Brandon Inge. So Detroit placed Inge on the 15-day disabled list and recalled right-hander Casey Fien from Triple-A Toledo Tuesday afternoon to provide an extra arm while it ponders what to do at third base.
Inge is expected to be out 4-6 weeks after fracturing a bone in his left hand Monday night against the Rangers.
After Monday’s 14-inning loss to Texas, a fourth-inning exit from Andy Oliver Sunday afternoon and a day-night doubleheader that included another extra-inning game Saturday, Detroit’s bullpen has pitched 20.2 innings over five games in four days since the All-Star break. Five relievers pitched Monday night, including closer Jose Valverde for the second consecutive day.
That left the Tigers looking for an extra arm to handle work Tuesday night if Armando Galarraga can’t work deep into the game. Enter Fien, who was up with the Tigers for two days a few weeks ago before Ryan Perry returned. Fien pitched two scoreless innings June 30 at Minnesota.
Fien’s arrival means third base will fall to the Detroit’s utilitymen for at least Tuesday. With the Rangers starting right-hander Tommy Hunter Tuesday night, Don Kelly appears likely to get the start at third base for the second time in three days. Kelly gave Inge a day off Sunday at Cleveland and replaced him at third base in the fifth inning Monday. 
Once the Tigers get their bullpen back in order, they have a few options to replace Inge positionally. Jeff Larish has been the primary third baseman at Triple-A Toledo, and is batting .298 with 12 doubles, 10 home runs and 36 RBIs since June 1, but the Tigers didn’t consider Larish an everyday third baseman during his stints in Detroit. He was playing there to enhance his versatility.
Scott Sizemore, the Tigers’ Opening Day second baseman, has hit well since coming back from injuries and could feasibly return to the big leagues if the Tigers move Carlos Guillen to third. However, Sizemore just recently came off the DL with a hip injury, and Guillen hasn’t played third base since spending half the ’08 season there.
Guillen likely won’t have a problem moving again. How he does there remains to be seen. His middle infield instincts have allowed him to handle second base a little better than expected.
Detroit’s best defensive option could be to go with Kelly, an infielder by trade coming up through the Tigers farm system before adding outfield to his resume in recent years in the Pirates and Diamondbacks organizations. He’s batting .219 (25-for-114) with Detroit this year with three doubles, a home run and eight RBIs. Fellow Tigers utilityman Ryan Raburn also has experience at third base.
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