Dan Knobler of CBS Sports tweeted that long-time Tiger Brandon Inge is near to signing a minor league deal with the Bucs with an invite to camp. (Tom Singer of MLB.com writes that his sources say the deal is sealed).
It's a low risk (and low reward) signing; unlike a lot of the upside guys the Pirates have brought on, Inge is 35 and a known commodity. He's a vet with a .234 lifetime BA (he hasn't hit .250 or better since 2006 and just .218 last year) with some power. Inge has a decent stroke against lefties, with a lifetime .261/.337/.445 line and 129 OPS+ against them. Even in a down year, he posted a 1.6 WAR and 24.3 UZR/150 in limited 2012 action.
Inge has played third since 2008 and provides strong leather at the hot corner. He also has experience in the outfield and second base in the bigs prior to that, and we suppose he still has those mitts in his bag.
While he's on the downhill side of his 12-year career, he could push Josh Harrison as a bench bat. Jordy Mercer/Ivan DeJesus would handle the middle fielding chores while Inge could give Pedro an occasional blow against southpaws. And if that doesn't work out in camp, he would a nice insurance policy at Indy at a thin position in the organization.
It's not a big move, but does provide a little more competition for the pine players and potentially gives Clint Hurdle another bench option.