Last week general manager Dave Dombrowski said the Tigers “would ideally like to” sign free agent-to-be Brandon Inge before he hit the open market five days after the World Series and sure enough the two sides have agreed to a deal.
Jason Beck of MLB.com reports that he’ll get $11 million for two years, with the Tigers holding a $6 million option or $500,000 buyout for 2013.
Inge is 33 years old and hasn’t been above-average offensively since 2006, so there’s a pretty good chance the Tigers will regret this move.
He made $6.6 million this season to complete a four-year, $24 million contract that saw him hit just .231 with a .314 on-base percentage and .389 slugging percentage in 569 games while producing an OPS below .725 in all four seasons.
His defense is excellent–and sure enough, in announcing the deal that’s what Dombrowski focused on–but locking up veteran mediocrity into the mid-30s is rarely a sound decision.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that the Mariners will sign Ichiro Suzuki to a minor-league deal. If he makes the roster he’ll make $750,000. At least until he retires.
I say that because it seems quite clear that the idea here, telegraphed since last season, is to activate Ichiro for the Mariners’ series against the Oakland Athletics in Tokyo on March 20-21 and for hoopla surrounding it all. The Mariners and A’s will have a 28-man roster for that series, which is officially part of the regular season schedule, but it will be pared back down to 25 once games begin in the United States.
Suzuki, 45, hit .205/.255/.205 in 47 plate appearances through May 2 last season, at which point he agreed to be deactivated to join the Mariners’ front office. Many assumed Ichiro would announce his retirement later that season or during the offseason, but the Japan Series soon crystalized as an obvious way for him to offer his final farewell to both his American and his Japanese fans.
Unless of course he goes 6-10 with three doubles in that series, at which point everyone will be tempted to keep him on the roster past Japan. Which, given the Mariners’ rebuild and likely poor performance this coming season, wouldn’t exactly be hurting anyone, would it?