Brandon Inge Seems Set to Return in 2011


Tigers General Manager Dave Dombrowski spoke at length with the media prior to yesterday’s season finale. Among the nuggets unearthed by that conversation was confirmation that Dombrowski has already extended a multi-year offer to third baseman Brandon Inge, whose contract expired when the season ended.

Inge, who spoke about the offer, has not been shy in stating his desire to remain with the Tigers, and sounded like a man who had already agreed to the contract.’s Jason Beck has more.

"“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.”"

Inge later cautioned that an agreement has not yet been reached, but from the sounds of it, that agreement is more of a formality than anything else.

Keeping Inge to man the hot corner is an idea that I am 100% behind. Inge provides a tremendous asset defensively at third and he is capable of driving the ball out of the park. Is he as good as Adrian Beltre? No, but he’ll cost a fraction of what Beltre will get and his production is good enough for a player that should slot into the eight or nine hole in the order.

As Inge said in the quote above, the Tigers know what they’ll get with him and his effort and durability and athleticism will be crucial to an infield defense that could be shaky, especially if the Tigers bring back Jhonny Peralta at short.

Peralta’s situation was also discussed by Dombrowski, who said that he had been in contact with Peralta’s agents about bringing him back as well. The Tigers hold a $7.25 million club option on Peralta, who would play shortstop next year should he return, but the Tigers have not yet decided what to do with that option. It remains possible that they would decline the option and try to sign him at a lower salary, possibly going to two years instead of one.

Given the lack of obvious upgrades in the system or on the market, it makes sense for the Tigers to bring back Peralta at short, especially with Inge coming back at third, where his range would make up for the lack of range of Peralta on balls in the hole. The Tigers have better glove men, notably Danny Worth, but no one in the organization can match the bat that Peralta brings to the lineup at shortstop.

Again, neither of these moves are done, but the Tigers are making them big priorities and would like to get them wrapped up quickly so they can move on to other needs. I’ll have more later, so check back here often.

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