Brandon Inge Rumors

Odds & Ends: Webb, Pirates, Ozzie, Pena, Mets, Lopez

Some links to check out after the Rangers clinched their first AL West title since 1999…

Odds & Ends: Ramirez, Twins, Inge, Pirates, Dodgers

Saturday afternoon linkage..

  • Ken Gurnick of tweets that the Dodgers have left Manny Ramirez out of the lineup for a third consecutive game.  One has to wonder if this means that the Dodgers are ready to send Ramirez to the White Sox.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter) asked Twins GM Bill Smith if the club's payroll has reached $100MM.  He responded, "I've quit checking."
  • There's no evidence yet of serious trade talks between the Dodgers and the White Sox regarding Manny Ramirez, tweets Jon Heyman of SI.
  • A source tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter) that he would be very surprised to see the Tigers trade Brandon Inge before Tuesday's deadline.
  • Commissioner Bud Selig has no issue with the Pirates' financial statements which were made public earlier this week, writes Adam McCalvy of
  • Dodgers players don't seem to be too concerned about the divorce of the McCourts in this article by Beth Harris of the Associated Press.

Odds & Ends: Mets, Reds, Helton, Darvish, Harper

Friday Night Links..

Odds & Ends: Inge, Damon, Draft, Lilly, Manny

One year ago today, the Mets released Livan Hernandez. So far in 2010, Hernandez has a 3.06 ERA and ranks in the top ten in the NL in innings pitched and complete games. He doesn't strike anybody out, but his walk rate is low and he's headed for the 200 IP plateau once again. Here are some links for Friday as we contemplate Hernandez's surprising season… 

Cardinals Interested In Geoff Blum

The Cardinals are interested in Geoff Blum, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Blum, Craig Counsell and Edwin Encarnacion have all cleared waivers, so the Cards could trade for those infielders without restriction. Brandon Inge also interests the Cards, but if he has cleared waivers, it has not been reported.

The Cardinals are pursuing infield help more aggressively than before, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The team lost David Freese to a season-ending ankle operation, so the front office would like to add a third baseman or utility infielder. GM John Mozeliak says he’s discussing players who have cleared waivers with a number of teams and waiting for other players to be placed on waivers. 

"The whole process of waivers is about being patient," Mozeliak said. "At the same token, if we felt like we could do something that will help us sooner rather than later, we would give that real consideration.”

The Cardinals are relying on Felipe Lopez to play third, but he has just a .580 OPS since the All-Star break. Allen Craig has appeared at the hot corner, but is probably not an everyday option there.

Odds & Ends: Chapman, Lee, Inge, Thome

Links for Wednesday night….

Cardinals Intensify Third Base Search

The Cardinals have intensified their search for help at third base, reports Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-DispatchFelipe Lopez has struggled of late; he's been David Freese's main replacement at the hot corner.  Allen Craig made his first start at the position yesterday, but manager Tony La Russa isn't keen on the idea of using Craig there.  One outside name on the Cardinals' radar is Brandon Inge.  Strauss says they retain interest in the Tigers' third baseman, who returned from a fractured hand on August 4th and should be placed on waivers this week.

Inge is fairly pricey, with $1.76MM of his $6.6MM salary remaining.  All American League teams plus any National League club with a worse winning percentage than the Cardinals will have first crack at him.  The Cards have a .560 winning percentage, so the Phillies, Braves, Reds, Giants, and Padres are behind them in the waiver order currently.

Other veteran infielders who might be candidates for August trades include Pedro Feliz, Geoff Blum, Melvin Mora, Wes Helms, Chone Figgins, Nick Punto, Brendan Harris, Wilson Betemit, Ty Wigginton, and Edwin Encarnacion.  Encarnacion has already cleared waivers.  Adam Kennedy is another potentially available name, but don't look for the Cardinals to bring him back.

Rosenthal On Manny, Cardinals, Braves, Inge

We already took a look at Ken Rosenthal's updates on Joe Torre and Dusty Baker, but those weren't the only items of interest in his latest Full Count video at FOX Sports. Here are the others:

  • Manny Ramirez should be on his way back to full health in the coming weeks, but if the Dodgers want to move him before August 31st, his no-trade clause may make things difficult. Rosenthal indicates that the Dodgers might be careful about when they place Ramirez on waivers, perhaps doing so if and when the White Sox are behind the Red Sox in the standings. As Rosenthal notes, Boston winning a waiver claim on Manny would make a trade highly unlikely, whereas the White Sox and Dodgers could have a better chance of working something out.
  • The Cardinals and Braves are both searching for third base help. The Cardinals plan to give Allen Craig some time there and the Braves have been content with in-house options so far, but Rosenthal suggests Brandon Inge is a player who could be a fit for both teams. If Inge is placed on waivers, another contender may put in a claim to block the Braves and Cards from having a shot at him.

Free Agent Stock Watch: Brandon Inge

Last year, Brandon Inge posted a .314 OBP and a .406 slugging percentage with a +7 UZR/150 on defense. This year, he has a .316 OBP and a .403 slugging percentage with a +6 UZR/150 on defense. His production is as consistent as can be, but his free agent stock is not quite the same as it was pre-season.

Back in March, Inge appeared to be on track for a modest one-year deal. At that point, he was just one year removed from 2008, when he caught 60 games and played center field 13 times. Now, the 33-year-old is exclusively a third baseman, so it would be hard to leverage his versatility into a favorable contract.

Inge is not exactly the same hitter he was in 2009, despite his nearly-identical slash line. He hit 27 homers a year ago, but his power has come in the form of doubles so far in 2010, possibly because he's hitting more line drives. Inge still strikes out a lot, but he now fans 23% of the time (down from 30% last year).

A few months ago, it looked like Garrett Atkins, Miguel Tejada, Pedro Feliz, Jorge Cantu and Adrian Beltre would be competing for jobs alongside Inge. Beltre has distinguished himself from that group of free agents-to-be with exceptional play on offense (.898 OPS) and defense (+18.5 UZR/150) and it now appears that Atkins and Feliz will be non-factors this winter. Cantu and Tejada are still comparable to Inge and could be competing for openings in Baltimore, Boston, Houston, Miami and Detroit after the season. 

Inge will no longer be able to distinguish himself from the likes of Tejada and Cantu with his versatility, but he remains a capable hitter and an above-average defender. Those skills should enable him to land a guaranteed deal in the $4-6MM range.

Detroit’s 2011 Payroll Situation

Once the Tigers traded Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson for four pre-arbitration eligible players, the thought was that owner Mike Ilitch was trimming payroll after the recession hit Detroit especially hard. However, he then approved a massive extension for ace Justin Verlander as well as the signing of Johnny Damon, and now his team's Opening Day payroll is expected to be somewhere around $130MM, up from $115MM last year.

Lynn Henning of The Detroit News wrote about the payroll savings GM Dave Dombrowski will enjoy after the season, which are pretty significant. Here's a look at the money the Tigers have coming off the books after the 2010 season…

That's $57.025MM in savings right there, and the team would be wise to avoid letting Magglio Ordonez reach the 540 plate appearances needed for his $15MM option to vest.

Ilitch isn't shy about spending big on the free agent market, and he'll have the money available to add a big bat to complement Miguel Cabrera (Jayson Werth, Aramis Ramirez if he declines his option?) as well as another elite starter to a rotation that already includes Verlander, Rick Porcello, and Max Scherzer (Josh Beckett, Cliff Lee?) after the season. Keep in mind that I was just throwing some names out there off our 2011 free agents list, and that the Tigers have not been linked to any of those players in any rumors we've seen.

The Tigers are already in a position to compete in the AL Central, and once they shed some dead money after the season, they'll have a chance to jump ahead of the pack if they spend wisely.