Brandon Inge Rumors
Here are some of the latest rumors out of Oakland as the A's look to be buyers and not sellers at the trade deadline...
- Yunel Escobar's reported attitude problems have given the A's pause in pursuing the Blue Jays shortstop, but after talking to Toronto sources, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle "the sense I got was that Escobar has matured from his Atlanta days, when he was at his worst. Two people with the Blue Jays told me they really like Escobar and his reputation is overblown." In terms of other possible shortstop upgrades, Slusser doesn't think Marco Scutaro "is a top option" for the A's and Stephen Drew might not be available if the Diamondbacks make other moves.
- The A's are focusing on shortstop more than third base, opines Joe Stiglich of the Bay Area News Group. Brandon Inge entered tonight's action with a .211/.269/.395 line since joining the A's, but Stiglich writes that Oakland values his defense and clubhouse leadership.
- A.J. Griffin's "value is at an all-time high" and the rookie right-hander could be a "viable trade chip" to get the Athletics a shortstop, a rival executive tells Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Griffin, 24, has impressed since joining the A's rotation, posting a 2.25 ERA and 3.63 K/BB ratio in six starts.
The Orioles no-hit the Tigers on this date in 1967, but Detroit walked ten times and still managed a 2-1 win. Here are some Tigers-related notes to begin the week before tonight's game against the Royals...
- Tigers manager Jim Leyland hinted that the Tigers could option Max Scherzer to the minor leagues for a time if his struggles continue. "There are always choices," the skipper said, according to Lynn Henning of the Detroit News. Scherzer has a 7.77 ERA with 10.0 K/9 and 4.8 BB/9 five starts into the season.
- Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press says the three-way trade that sent Curtis Granderson to New York for Scherzer, Austin Jackson and Daniel Schlereth “remains in the best long-range interests of the Tigers” because they cashed in their best trade chip for players with star potential.
- Leyland says the Tigers need to get Scherzer going, according to Sharp. "There's no question about that,” Leyland said. “I'm not mad at him. I love the guy. But it's just the facts. We need to get him going.”
- Longtime Tiger Brandon Inge is expected to join the Athletics in Boston today, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Inge agreed to terms with the A's yesterday.
The 35-year-old Inge picked up just two hits in 20 at-bats with the Tigers this season after batting just .197/.265/.283 in 303 plate appearances last season. He was released by Detroit, the only organization he's ever known, on Thursday last week.
Oakland's third base situation has been in question all season. Scott Sizemore was originally scheduled to start at third for the A's, but went down with a knee injury prior to the season. The A's have since acquired Luke Hughes from the Twins, but Hughes profiles more as a utility player than a starter. Oakland was one of three teams, along with the Twins and Orioles, rumored to be interested in adding the veteran.
Inge is a career .234/.304/.387 hitter whose defense at third has long been considered to be a plus. He possess a 5.6 UZR/150 in his career at the hot corner. Inge is represented by ACES.
Sunday afternoon linkage..
- Brandon Inge clears waivers at 1pm CST and the A's are the frontrunner to sign him, a source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
- The Brewers are tenth in payroll this season, but that won't be the case for the club every year, owner Mark Attanasio told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal also spoke to GM Doug Melvin, who sounded skittish about doling out five- and six-year deals as a small-market club.
- Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times wonders if the Red Sox's Carl Crawford could be a fit with the Dodgers. If Boston were willing to pay off part of his $142MM contract and accepted some decent pitching in return, he believes there could be a match between the two teams.
- More from Shaikin, who writes that the Angels could opt-out of their stadium deal in 2016 and potentially move right down the street from the Dodgers. The Dodgers could not challenge such a move on the grounds of traditional territorial rights like the Giants are blocking the A's from moving to San Jose.
- For Japanese imports such as Hiroki Kuroda and Yu Darvish, the major leagues represent a significant change, writes Jeff Bradley of the Star-Ledger.
6:05pm: The Athletics have legitimate interest in Inge, according to Joe Stiglich of the Bay Area News Group. General Manager Billy Beane would not comment on Inge specifically, saying only that he is looking to "upgrade at third base, as well as all other positions."
10:23am: Brandon Inge might not be on the free agent market for long despite his struggles at the plate. The Twins, Athletics, Orioles and Diamondbacks are among the teams that may have interest in the recently-released ACES client.
There are indications that the Twins will at least have a discussion about Inge, La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports. Minnesota could demote Danny Valencia to Triple-A and rely on Inge and Sean Burroughs at the hot corner.
The Athletics are expected to have some interest in Inge, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. However, the 34-year-old must clear release waivers before becoming eligible to sign with a new team. Joe Stiglich of the Bay Area News Group noted yesterday that he expects the Athletics to consider Inge.
The Orioles have some interest in Inge, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reported yesterday. Meanwhile, Steve Gilbert of MLB.com wouldn’t be surprised if the Diamondbacks take a look at the veteran third baseman (Twitter link).
Inge has just two hits in 20 trips to the plate so far this season and he posted a .548 OPS last year. The Tigers are responsible for his $5.5MM salary, so any team that signs him would only owe him a pro-rated portion of the MLB minimum for the remainder of the season.
Most general managers prefer not to rush trades for bullpen help early in the season because relievers are so volatile, according to ESPN.com’s Buster Olney. Olney takes a look at some relievers off to hot starts in his latest Insider-only column. Here are some highlights:
- Blue Jays left-hander Luis Perez has impressed an AL executive after striking out 14 in 12 2/3 scoreless innings to start the season. "He could be a starting pitcher, but to me, he's as good a left-handed reliever as there is in the American League right now," the person said.
- Olney points out that left-hander Matt Thornton is pitching well and notes that the White Sox tried to trade him at last year’s trade deadline and again over the winter.
- MLB executives have told Olney that they aren’t interested in acquiring Brandon Inge because he doesn’t contribute at the plate anymore.
- Olney wonders when the Mets will be able to spend like a large market team and says manager Terry Collins “has done a terrific job” with the current roster.
The final game on tonight's docket is in progress as the Nationals face the Padres at Petco Park. Links for this evening..
- The Phillies had trade interest in Brandon Inge during spring training, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. However, it's not clear if the club still has an eye on Inge. The Orioles are also said to have some interest in the third baseman.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman understands that he will have to take responsibility if the team's trade for Michael Pineda does not work out in the long term, tweets Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger. Pineda will miss the rest of the season as he recovers from arthroscopic shoulder surgery.
- Right now, the Red Sox's deal with Carl Crawford looks to be a disaster, writes Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. The outfielder is set to earn $142MM over the course of his seven-year pact.
A look at a few items out of the AL East as the Blue Jays take on the Orioles in Baltimore..
- The Orioles are still looking for ways to improve defensively and the club has some interest in Brandon Inge, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Inge was let go by Detroit earlier today but made it clear that he wants to continue playing.
- There hasn't been any talk of Will Middlebrooks being promoted in support of the struggling Kevin Youkilis, a Red Sox source told Alex Speier of WEEI.com. So far this year, the veteran is hitting just .204/.267/.296 as Middlebrooks has looked solid for Triple-A Pawtucket.
- Peter Gammons of MLB.com tweets that the lesson to be learned from the Red Sox's Carl Crawford "debacle" is that the club should have had his agent work with the club to help with his adjustment to a new market. Crawford hit just .255/.289/.405 for Boston in 2011 and could now miss three months after undergoing elbow surgery.
- Former pitcher Curt Schilling suffered the same torn anterior labrum in his throwing shoulder as Michael Pineda and believes that he could bounce back better than ever and return in less than a year, writes Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com. Yesterday we learned that the Yankees pitcher is likely going to be sidelined for a full year.
Inge, the Tigers' primary third baseman for much of the past eight seasons, was the team's longest tenured player. However, the Tigers didn't have an obvious role for him after signing Prince Fielder and moving Miguel Cabrera to third base. The ever-versatile Inge learned second base this Spring Training, earning praise from his bosses for his defensive work. However, he has just two hits in 20 trips to the plate so far this season and he posted a .548 OPS last year, so the Tigers weren't getting much from him on offense.
Inge, an All-Star in 2009, has two 27-homer seasons to his name. He has considerable MLB experience at third, catcher and center field, plus recent experience as a second baseman. I'd be surprised if teams view him as anything but a third baseman, though. Inge will earn $5.5MM this season and his contract includes a $6MM club option ($500K) buyout for 2012.
Inge made it clear that he wants to continue playing, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com (via Twitter). Any team that signs him would only owe him a pro-rated portion of the MLB minimum for the remainder of the season. Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com first reported the news (Twitter links).
The latest rumors from Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (all links go to Twitter)...
- The Tigers have tried hard to interest the Phillies in Brandon Inge without much success. Inge offers steady defense at third and has been learning second base this spring, but he earns $5.5MM in 2012.
- The Phillies tried to re-acquire utility player Jason Donald from the Indians, but Cleveland preferred to keep him. The Phillies drafted Donald in 2006 and sent him to Cleveland in the 2009 Cliff Lee trade.
- Teams inquired on Ubaldo Jimenez this spring, but the Indians don’t have interest in moving him, either.
- Scouts are watching Diamondbacks left-hander Mike Zagurski, since there’s a sense the Diamondbacks might trade him.