The Oakland Athletics need help at third base. Their hot-corner depth features Luke Hughes and Eric Sogard.
The Detroit Tigers didn't need Brandon Inge anymore. Just like that, a 12-year career turned into a crapshoot, and Oakland acquired the veteran infielder for a mere $100,000 (the Tigers will sacrifice Inge's remaining 2012 salary of $5.4 million).
Last year, Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski let Inge loose after a dismal first half (.211/.259/.537) but the veteran third basemen opted for a Triple-A stint rather than being released. He returned to the team in time for the playoffs, where he put up a .348 BA.
There was speculation early Saturday that the Orioles, Twins, Diamondbacks and Athletics were interested in acquiring veteran defensive help at third base but by mid-afternoon Sunday, Oakland stepped forward with an offer for Inge.
Inge's career slash line is .234/.304/.387, but his defensive capability far outweighs his presence at the plate. A lifetime 5.6 ultimate zone rating per 150 games (UZR/150) makes him a valuable defensive replacement. Inge also brings occasional pop to the Oakland lineup.
With the Athletics' current offensive struggles, it's likely Inge will see regular at-bats at third base. He will also provide a veteran presence in Oakland's young clubhouse.
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