Seems like the Giants are still taking a look at Brandon Inge to play 3B. From the Chronicle this morning, emphasis mine:
The Giants reportedly are scouting Detroit’s Brandon Inge, the third baseman who wants to be traded because he’s playing behind Miguel Cabrera. The Tigers would need to pick up some of the $19.1 million left on Inge’s contract, which has three years remaining. The Tigers need bullpen help.
If it’s one thing the Giants have, it’s spare bullpen parts. The quality of said parts might be up for debate but the Giants have a bunch of bullpen pitchers that they can deal from. Here’s a quick list of bullpen arms at the major league level that I think the Giants might part with in a Inge trade.
- Steve Kline – Rumors are that he could potentially be cut before the season starts.
- Brad Hennessey – Signed a “cheapish” 1-year contract for a reliever. Had a good ’07 which might entice the Tigers. I think he’s more of a 4+ ERA bullpen pitcher than a 3.42 ERA like he was in ’07.
- Tyler Walker – Looked good coming back from TJ but his track record is nothing special.
- Jack Taschner – Weird reverse left-hander. Can’t get lefties out but did well against righties in ’07. Good “stuff” but poor control is his undoing.
- Merkin Valdez – I don’t like the idea of trading Valdez but he’s been rumored to be a potential arm that the Giants might move. He’s had a decent spring and I’ve heard reports that his velocity is mostly in the low-90′s but he’s touched 96 on the gun. Valdez has had a history of arm troubles but his arm could still be special.
- Randy Messenger – Wasn’t too happy when the Giants optioned him down to AAA this March. Messenger really shouldn’t ever make it to the bullpen again and I don’t think any team is really going to be interested in him, even as a throw in. The Giants would love to get something for him.
- Vinnie Chulk – I like Chulk. He was a nice mid-level relief arm last year for the Giants. He ended up with some health problems but he had a decent year in middle relief. Still, the Giants would probably part with him in an Inge trade.
That’s a big list that doesn’t have a lot of sexy names on it. Hennessey is probably the reliever with the most value because of the year he had last year. Then you’ve got a collection of guys like Kline, Messenger, and Taschner that the Giants could very well just toss before the season begins, even if they can’t trade them. Chulk is a semi-solid arm that might get a little interest if it wasn’t for his health problems last year. He’s pitched 5 innings so far this spring.
A list of guys I’d like to see the Giants hang on to.
- Brian Wilson – Easily the most promising bullpen candidate this year. Had a nice cup of coffee in ’07 with the Giants and has some great stuff. Mid-90s cutter? Yes, please. Wilson is heading into the year as the Giants closer, a move that I’m very happy with.
- Jonathan Sanchez – Whether or not he’s a starter or a reliever, give him a role, let him stick with it, and hang on to him. I love his combination of stuff from the left-side.
- Erik Threets – I’m a proponent of giving Threets the lefty bullpen spot this year and turning him loose. The stuff is good, the control isn’t. He might be helped by working in the LOOGY role.
- Billy Salder – Sadler isn’t on the major league team yet mostly because he’s still got some work to do with his control but his stuff is fantastic. I’d hate to see him moved in a trade and then blossom in another organization.
- Pat Misch – He could start the year in the bullpen as a LOOGY or long-man. I like Misch either as a reliever or starter. He adapted particularly well to his relief role in the minors.
Now that Villalona has moved to 1B, picking up Inge isn’t going to block any 3B prospect. The Giants don’t have a 3B prospect that’s ready to step into the third base position over the next couple of years. Inge is what he is, a very nice defender and a below average hitter. Sounds a bit like Feliz doesn’t it? But Inge has at least shown brief glimpses of being a competent, average hitter. The Tigers are most likely going to have to eat a big portion of Inge’s remaining salary and if they do so, he wouldn’t be a terrible pickup for the Giants. As long as he comes cheap, in terms of prospects needed to acquire, I don’t have much of a problem with Inge. I still would give a chance to Justin Leone but his defense hasn’t looked too hot this Spring.
Grant has a good idea over at his site. If the Giants could move an OF like Dave Roberts in the trade to make starting space for either Fred Lewis or Nate Schierholtz, I would move from merely OK with the trade to loving the trade.