Inge, 36, was designated for assignment by the Bucs on July 23 after hitting .181/.204/.238 in 110 plate appearances. The longtime Tiger has scarcely stayed north of the Mendoza Line over the past three seasons, hitting .204/.261/.321 in his time with Detroit, Oakland and Pittsburgh. However, his defense has remained strong, according to Ultimate Zone Rating. He's spent time at second base, third base and right field recently, and he even played an inning at shortstop for the Pirates this season.
The Pirates have designated veteran infielder Brandon Inge for assignment, tweets Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. In related moves, the team placed closer Jason Grilli on the 15-day DL, activated Neil Walker from the DL and is planning to recall right-hander Vic Black.
The 36-year-old Inge hit just .181/.204/.238 in 110 plate appearances for the Bucs this season. Over the past three seasons, the former Tigers third baseman has a combined batting line of .204/.261/.321 between Detroit, Oakland and Pittsburgh. He's seen time at second base and in right field in that time to increase his versatility, and he even appeared for five innings at first base and an inning at shortstop this season.
The Pirates announced that the team has designated right-hander Hunter Strickland and first baseman Clint Robinson for assignment. (Twitter links.) In corresponding moves, the club selected the contracts of lefty Jonathan Sanchez and infielder Brandon Inge, it also announced.
Strickland, 24, has yet to appear above the Double-A level and put up a 4.46 ERA in 42 1/3 innings at that level last season, while also compiling a 2.98 ERA in 45 1/3 innings at High-A. Robinson, 27, made his first big league showing last year with Kansas City but played primarily in Triple-A, putting up a .292/.393/.452 line in 570 plate appearances. The Pirates acquired Robinson from the Royals in the offseason after he was designated for assignment.
Major League Baseball's new collective bargaining agreement contains a provision that allows certain free agents who are signed to minor league contracts to receive a $100K retention bonus if they are not on the team's 25-man roster or the Major League disabled list five days prior to the season.
Free agents who qualify for this distinction are those who have at least six years of Major League service time and had a Major League contract expire at the end of the previous season, but signed a minor league deal ten or more days prior to Opening Day.
MLBTR has confirmed with MLB that the deadline for teams to decide on these players is today at 11am central time. By the deadline, teams with these players in camp need to decide whether to:
- Add the player to their 25-man roster or Major League disabled list (or agree to do so in writing).
- Grant the player his outright release from the minor league contract so that he may pursue opportunities with other teams.
- Pay the player a $100K retention bonus to keep him in the organization beyond the deadline and send him to the minors.
Here's the latest news from around the league on Article XX(B) signees and their roster statuses with their respective teams (newest updates on top).
- Miguel Olivo has been offered the $100k retention bonus and is still deciding whether to accept it, tweets John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
- Austin Kearns and Casey Kotchman made the Marlins' 25-man roster, according to the team.
- Mets reliever Tim Byrdak will report to the minors and take the $100K retention bonus, MLBTR has learned. Byrdak is returning from August shoulder surgery.
- The Rangers told Derek Lowe that he has made the team as a reliever, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com.
- Chad Gaudin's contract was purchased and added to the Giants' roster, tweets Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com.
- Chad Qualls made the Marlins' bullpen, MLBTR has learned.
- With Brandon Gomes being optioned to Triple-A, it looks like reliever Jamey Wright has made the Rays, tweets Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune. The Rays have told both Wright and Juan Carlos Oviedo they will be added to the roster, tweets Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Oviedo had Tommy John surgery in September, so I imagine he'll land on the 60-day disabled list.
- The Pirates have committed to keeping Brandon Inge on the roster, tweets Sanserino, though he may start the season on the DL after being hit by a pitch.
- Reliever Pedro Feliciano accepted a minor league assignment from the Mets, tweets Marc Carig of Newsday, so he'll snag the $100K retention bonus.
- Jonathan Sanchez made the Pirates' rotation, tweets Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The 30-year-old posted a 4.73 ERA with a 1.11 K/BB ratio in 13 1/3 innings this spring, but the Pirates saw something they liked.
- Lyle Overbay and Aaron Cook were released by their respective teams today.
The Pirates inked Brandon Inge to a minor league deal with an invite to big league camp earlier this week. The third baseman obviously hopes to make the varsity squad but if it doesn't happen by late march, his contract includes an opt-out clause that will allow him to try elsewhere, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Post-Tribune. Here's more out of the Central divisions..
- There's been quite a bit of trade talk surrounding Rick Porcello this offseason but the pitcher says that he's not letting the speculation bother him, writes John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press. Some believe that Porcello could be slotted in the bullpen if Drew Smyly beats him out for the fifth rotation spot, but he's not open to that possibility. "I believe that I'm an established starter, and I believe that I belong in the starting rotation, and that's what I'm thinking about. I'm preparing to start for the Detroit Tigers. I'm not even considering the bullpen as an option," said Porcello.
- Torii Hunter is on board with the projections that have the reloaded Tigers pegged as the best team in the AL Central despite the upgrades made by Indians and others, writes James Schmehl of the MLive.com.
- Ian Stewart is ready to reestablish himself after a broken bone in his wrist hampered his play across the last two years, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. The Cubs non-tendered Stewart this offseason before signing him to a non-guaranteed deal.
Inge elected to sign with the Pirates after it was reported there were two teams vying for the third baseman's services. The 35-year-old will provide Pittsburgh with a veteran bat off the bench.
CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler first reported that a deal was imminent.
The Pirates are close to reaching an agreement with infielder Brandon Inge on a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, reports Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. Inge, 35, spent the majority of the 2012 season with the Athletics after being released by the Tigers.
The veteran posted a .218/.275/.383 batting line last season before an injury to his throwing shoulder led to arthroscopic surgery in September. Beyond spending time at third base and providing an experienced bat at the plate, Inge's greatest value to the A's may have been the leadership he demonstrated in the clubhouse.
Here's the latest on the Twins, courtesy of 1500 ESPN's Darren Wolfson…
- The Twins had numerous discussions with Brett Myers before the right-hander signed with the Indians, but they never made him an offer.
- Rich Harden's minor league contract with Minnesota includes a July 31st opt-out date according to Wolfson. The right-hander can elect free agency if he's not added to the big league roster by then.
- The Twins will have a scout on hand to watch outfielder Dariel Alvarez and infielder Aledmys Diaz tomorrow. The two Cuban defectors are hosting a workout for teams.
- The club has had "brief talks" with free agent outfielders Ryan Sweeney and Scott Podsednik after trading both Ben Revere and Denard Span this offseason.
- The Twins have talked about Brent Lillibridge and Yuniesky Betancourt, but they're likely to sign elsewhere. Minnesota also has interest in Brandon Inge.
- The Indians have reached out to several teams about Jeanmar Gomez, including the Twins. Gomez was designated for assignment earlier this week and Cleveland has ten days to trade, release, or waive him.
Unimpressed by the third base market, the Marlins are turning to some veteran free agents with experience at the position. ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports that the Marlins have been checking out Miguel Tejada in winter ball (Twitter link). The team has also kicked the tires on Placido Polanco and Brandon Inge, Stark reports.
Tejada didn't play at the MLB level in 2012, though the Orioles signed him to a minor league contract in May. The Diamondbacks are also interested in the 38-year-old and have offered him a minor league deal. Tejada, an SFX client, last appeared at the MLB level in 2011, posting a .239/.270/.326 batting line in 343 plate appearances with the Giants.
The market for Polanco has been quiet since the Phillies declined their half of the $5.5MM mutual option on his contract. The 37-year-old posted a .257/.302/.327 batting line in 328 plate appearances this past season, missing time with back injuries. ACES represents Polanco.
Similarly, the market for Inge has seemed quiet to this point in the offseason. The 35-year-old posted a .218/.275/.383 batting line with 12 home runs for the Tigers and Athletics this past season. Oakland hadn't ruled out re-signing the ACES client as of early November.
The Athletics have had minimal contract talks with their free agents this winter, with the exception of Jonny Gomes, writes Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Sources say that Oakland presented Gomes' former agency, ACES, with an offer at the end of the season. The two sides were unable to come to terms on a deal, however, and the A's went on to trade for Chris Young. Here's more from Slusser..
- Brandon McCarthy has drawn immediate interest from numerous teams including the Cubs, White Sox and Blue Jays. McCarthy was impressive when healthy but missed significant time thanks to shoulder issues and the scary line drive incident in early September.
- Oakland hopes to continue talks with shortstop Stephen Drew, who became a free agent after the club declined their side of a $10MM mutual option. The shortstop posted a combined batting line of .223/.309/.348 in 327 plate appearances for the Diamondbacks and A's in 2012.
- The Athletics won't totally rule out a return for Brandon Inge, but he hasn't been considered a strong candidate to return.
- The A's agreed to a new one-year deal with Bartolo Colon earlier this afternoon, and GM Billy Beane told MLB.com's Jane Lee that he considers the right-hander low-risk depth (Twitter link).
- Slusser notes (on Twitter) that the Colon deal will not impact the club's attempts to re-sign McCarthy.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.