A’s agree to sign Inge
Less than one year after snagging Scott Sizemore in a trade with the Tigers, the A’s are nearing a deal that will bring in another Detroit third baseman, as they’ve agreed to sign veteran Brandon Inge.
The deal, confirmed on Sunday by MLB.com, is pending a physical, but Inge is expected to be in Boston on Monday for the club’s three-game series opener against the Red Sox. Once in uniform, it’s safe to assume his place in the everyday third-base role, following an early round of musical chairs at the position that saw a lack of production from Josh Donaldson, Eric Sogard and the recently acquired Luke Hughes. Combined, A’s third basemen had a .127 average with a .374 OPS, two home runs and six RBIs entering the day.
Inge, who will be 35 next month, has endured his own struggles in April, compiling just two hits in 20 at-bats spanning nine games with Detroit, leading to his release from the only organization he’s known Thursday. But he’s considered an excellent defender, and his past production at the plate, though not overwhelming, still represents an upgrade for Oakland’s sluggish offense.
The Tigers are on the hook for his $5.5 million salary, while the A’s will only be responsible for the pro-rated Major League minimum.
His best year came during Detroit’s 2006 American League championship season, when he hit .253 with 27 home runs and 83 RBIs in 159 games. He was also an All-Star in 2009, when he tallied 29 homers in the first half. Since, he’s hit just 23 total and, overall, owns a .234 career average and .691 OPS.
“It’ll be good to get a fresh start with another team,” Inge said last week. “I don’t have any doubts. I’m a team player. I’m not selfish. I’m not going to talk bad about anyone. I’m going to go out and do my job.”
The infielder won a part-time job at second base in Spring Training but began the season on the disabled list with a strained left groin. He made his debut April 14 and saw most of his starts at second base against left-handed starters, striking out six times without a walk.
Inge represents the 12th third baseman Oakland has employed since Eric Chavez played his last game there for the A’s in 2009. Aside from Sizemore, who suffered a season-ending knee injury on the first day of spring workouts, and Donaldson, Sogard and Hughes, the others who have endured stints at the hot corner are Conor Jackson, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Andy LaRoche, Adam Rosales, Aki Iwamura, Jack Hannahan and Adam Kennedy.
When Inge is officially placed on the active roster, the A’s could choose to designate Hughes for assignment and keep Sogard on board in a utility role. Hughes is 1-for-13 since arriving in Oakland last week