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Tigers closing in on new deal with Inge

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Tigers closing in on new deal with Inge

Postby Dannomyte » Thu Dec 07, 2006 11:02 pm

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The Detroit Tigers are close to signing third baseman Brandon Inge to a four-year contract extension.

The deal will be worth $24 million and could be announced within the coming week.

Inge, 29, made $3 million this year and probably would have made $4 million to $5 million in 2007, his final year of salary arbitration. He was scheduled to enter free agency next year but should remain a Tiger through the prime of his career. He's expected to remain at third base over the lifetime of the contract, rather than return to catcher, the position at which he broke into the major leagues.

The contract's average annual value falls between recent free-agent deals for third basemen Pedro Feliz (one year, $5.1 million with the Giants) and Aramis Ramirez (five years, $75.5 million with the Cubs).

The signing could reveal much about the manner in which the Tigers plan to retain players on the pennant-winning roster. It's believed the team will consider contract extensions for right-hander Jeremy Bonderman and shortstop Carlos Guillen before the end of this off-season. Guillen will be a free agent after next season, Bonderman after 2008.

Inge is coming off a year in which he established career highs with 27 home runs and 83 RBIs. His batting average dropped slightly (.261 to .253) compared to his 2005 numbers, but so did his strikeouts (140 to 128).

Of equal importance, he improved greatly as a third baseman. Although he committed 22 errors during the regular season, he also led all American League third basemen with 398 assists - evidence of his superior range. Manager Jim Leyland has consistently lauded his defense, saying this season: "I don't know anybody that throws it better than Brandon Inge."

Inge also performed well in the postseason, hitting .273 with one home run and four RBIs. His average increased with each series, culminating with a .353 clip (6-for-17) in the World Series, although he committed three errors in the five-game loss to St. Louis.

Inge would have been one of several prominent Tigers to enter free agency after the 2007 season. The others are Guillen, first baseman Sean Casey, and pitchers Todd Jones and Kenny Rogers. The team also has a $13-million option on catcher Pudge Rodriguez for 2008.

Bonderman, left-hander Mike Maroth and leftfielder Craig Monroe will be free agents after 2008.

"These are guys coming up for free agency a couple years from now, and, hey, I want them to max out their financial power," Leyland said Wednesday. "I hope it's with us."

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercuryn ... 189233.htm
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Postby mcqfesijiba » Fri Dec 08, 2006 8:57 pm

As a big fan of Inge, I'm happy he's going to stick around for a while longer. It's not really all that bad of a contract given what Inge can do. He would easily have gotten more with another season anywhere near what he did this year, so he must be pretty happy here to re-sign.
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Postby Dannomyte » Fri Dec 08, 2006 10:02 pm

Done deal. Inge, Tigers agree to $24M, 4-year deal

DETROIT - Third baseman Brandon Inge has agreed to a $24 million, four-year contract with the AL champion Detroit Tigers.

"It's awesome to get this done because Detroit is the only place I wanted to play," Inge told The Associated Press on Friday. "This organization stuck by me through tough times and for them to still believe in me when times are good, it's really gratifying.

"The deal is basically done because the only thing that would hold it up would be a problem with the physical that I took today, but I can't see that there would be any problem with that."

Inge was eligible for arbitration and would have been eligible for free agency after next season.

"They put a very fair four-year deal on the table and it's great that we were able to finalize it," he said.

Inge was one of the holdovers from the 2003 Tigers team that lost an AL record 119 games, then surprised the baseball world last season by winning the AL pennant before falling in five games to St. Louis in the World Series.

Detroit drafted Inge in the second round in 1998 and he joined the Tigers in 2001 as a catcher. He batted .180, .202 and .203 with a combined 15 home runs and 69 RBIs in his first three seasons.

After perennial All-Star catcher Ivan Rodriguez joined Detroit, Inge split time at catcher, outfield and third base in 2004 and his batting average soared to .287 with 13 homers and 64 RBIs.

Inge became the Tigers' regular third baseman in 2005. Batting at or near the bottom of the order last season, he recorded career highs with 83 runs scored, 27 homers, 83 RBIs and a .463 slugging percentage.

Inge's range, quickness and hustle endeared him to Detroit fans and somewhat offset his 22 errors during the regular season, second only to New York's Alex Rodriguez among AL third basemen. He batted .353 in the World Series but committed three of Detroit's eight errors, including two on one play in the Cardinals' Game 1 victory.

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercuryn ... 198469.htm
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Postby Dannomyte » Sat Dec 09, 2006 2:45 pm

Inge passes physical

Brandon Inge passed a physical in Detroit on Friday, the final step before the Tigers finalized his four-year contract extension worth $24 million.

A formal announcement is expected Monday.

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/arti ... 90371/1050
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