Brandon Inge Rumors
Friday Night Links..
- Despite a published report to the contrary, Phillies scouting director Marti Wolever is not headed to the Mets, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
- MLB.com's Mark Sheldon spoke to a few members of the Reds who would like to see Dusty Baker sign an extension with the club.
- Brandon Inge and Johnny Damon are both okay with having been put on waivers, writes Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press.
- Reds manager Dusty Baker dismissed questions about him possibly becoming the Dodgers manager if Joe Torre retires, writes John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
- Mark Kizla of The Denver Post urges Todd Helton to call it quits.
- The Padres don't have much interest in outfielder Cody Ross, tweets Corey Brock of MLB.com.
- The Pirates will send Luis Heredia to their affiliate in Bradenton not to pitch, but to familiarize himself with the program, writes Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker (via Twitter) passes along a report from Japanese outlet Sponichi that the Yankees sent Damon Oppenheimer and scout Billy Eppler to watch Yu Darvish.
- Adam McCalvy of MLB.com (via Twitter) wonders aloud if the Brewers might make a deal in order to free a roster spot for the returning Carlos Gomez.
- Nats GM Mike Rizzo says that Bryce Harper won't be playing in any games for their Gulf Coast League affiliate this season, according to Ben Goessling of MASNSports.com.
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...
- Brandon Inge and Johnny Damon are now on waivers, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter). We should soon know if the two Tigers clear.
- Baseball America presents the compensation picks in the 2011 draft and total bonuses from 2008-10. The Nationals, Pirates and Blue Jays have have spent the most on bonuses.
- This doesn't count towards their draft spending, but the Pirates signed Colombian shortstop Dilson Herrera for $220K, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney doubts that Ted Lilly would clear waivers this month. The left-hander, who tossed a two-hitter last night, would likely be claimed by a contending team.
- Jamey Newberg lists the hurdles the Rangers will face if they want to acquire Manny Ramirez from the Dodgers this month. As Newberg explains on MLB.com, a lot would have to fall into place for the Rangers to acquire the slugger.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post points out that the Mets' decision to let Darren O'Day go at the beginning of last year has not worked out for New York.
- Mark Kiszla of the the Denver Post says Todd Helton “needs to hang up his No. 17 Colorado uniform and retire.”
- Joe Beimel, a free agent after the season, would like to keep playing in Colorado, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter).
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.”
Links for Wednesday night....
- The Reds will wait until September 1st to promote Aroldis Chapman, but he'll still be eligible for the playoffs, writes John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. In a separate blog post, Fay explains Chapman's postseason eligibility.
- Scott Miller of CBS Sports, Fangraphs' Jack Moore, ESPN's Keith Law (Insider-only) and ESPN.com's Rob Neyer share their thoughts on today's Derrek Lee trade.
- Ian Casselberry at MLive.com argues that the Tigers ought to trade Brandon Inge.
- Unsurprisingly, Ozzie Guillen had a response for those who criticized the White Sox for parting ways with Jim Thome. Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune has the story.
- Scrambling for a source of saves for the last month and a half of your fantasy league? Follow @closernews on Twitter to stay up-to-date on the latest injuries, blown saves, and everything else closer-related.
The Cardinals have intensified their search for help at third base, reports Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Felipe 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.
- 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.
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.
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...
- Jeremy Bonderman, $12.5MM salary in 2010
- Dontrelle Willis, $12MM
- Nate Robertson, $10MM
- Johnny Damon, $8MM
- Brandon Inge, $6.6MM
- Gerald Laird, $3.95MM
- Bobby Seay, $2.475MM
- Adam Everett, $1.5MM
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.
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.
Joe Strauss from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch discusses the Cardinals and their current situation with free agent Matt Holliday. Let's dive in:
- The Cardinals are pushing for a meeting with Scott Boras at the Winter Meetings to discuss whether or not they have a legitimate chance to bring Holliday back to St. Louis.
- If they were to retain Holliday, the club would be content to give David Freese his shot at third base and spend its leftover money on the rotation rather than infield help.
- Re-signing Mark DeRosa is one alternative to Holliday in left, although the Cardinals understandably aren't fans of DeRosa's current asking price of three years and roughly $24MM.
- The Cards had interest in bringing Chone Figgins aboard, prior to his agreement with the Mariners.
- St. Louis continues to say that they don't have leverage to make trades after parting with a number of top prospects, but Strauss mentions that some teams looking to shed salary could make sense. He names Dan Uggla, Kevin Millwood, and (if he's made available) Brandon Inge as some candidates, though the Marlins are asking a lot in return for Uggla.
- Strauss also mentions Adam Dunn, who's owed $12MM this season as a good fit, though the Nationals aren't intent on moving him. According to Strauss, several within the Cardinal organization were pushing for Dunn over Holliday last season before the deadline.
- If the Cards are able to sign Holliday, backloading the contract as they typically do with large deals won't be beneficial as the expensive years will coincide with those of Albert Pujols, if and when he, too, gets a new contract.
- Strauss names Vicente Padilla and Ben Sheets as possible free agent arms to target.
- Interesting note on the Cardinals from Strauss; they haven't made a trade at the Winter Meetings since 2003 when they acquired Adam Wainwright, Jason Marquis, and Ray King.