Brandon Inge Enters Walk Year

Take a quick look at Brandon Inge's numbers and he doesn't seem that different from Pedro Feliz. They're both strong defensive third basemen in their early thirties who will give you an OPS close to .700. Feliz signed a $4.5MM deal with the Astros this offseason, but when Inge hits the market next winter, he can hope for a little more.

Granted, Inge strikes out about 30% of the time he steps up to hit. That limited his OBP (.314) and slugging (.406) last year, despite his 27 homers. But Inge saves about ten runs a year with his third base defense, and he can also catch and play all three outfield positions. Plus, Inge will be 33 when he hits free agency, a year younger than Feliz was this winter.

Mark DeRosa's versatility helped him land a two-year deal, even though he'll be 35 this season. Fellow 2011 free agents Feliz and Miguel Tejada are older than Inge and less versatile. There will be other competition, though. Garrett Atkins, Jorge Cantu and Adrian Beltre could all be free agents after the season.

Inge won't be the only Tiger whose contract is coming off the books. Jeremy Bonderman, Nate Robertson, Dontrelle Willis, Johnny Damon, Gerald Laird, Bobby Seay, Adam Everett and maybe even Magglio Ordonez will see their deals expire, too. That means the Tigers will have the flexibility to bring Inge back. Even if they choose not to, he should have other suitors if he is productive in 2010.


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