Billfer discusses Inge's defense in his Detroit Tigers Weblog:
Turning to the Probabilistic Model of Range, Inge ranked near the top of all Major League third basemen. (PMR looks at the rate at which fielders turn ball put in play into outs while adjusting for the type of hit, where it was hit, and handedness of batter and pitcher) Inge made 26 more plays than expected. This is includes all those errors on plays he didn’t make. Using a value of .80 runs for each play made means that Inge saved the Tigers 20.8 runs with his glove which is more than enough to make up for the slight deficiency with his bat.Inge ranks very well no matter which fielding metric you choose and I agree with Billfer that it is really hard to make an argument against his fielding ability although some will try.
This move gives the team some stability at the third base position for the next 4 years and, since he can play just about any position on the field including catcher, it gives them some flexibility if they decide to go in a different direction. Four years seems right for Inge as with his athleticism and conditioning he should remain valuable through the length of the contract which expires when he'll be 33.
The MLB.COM article mentions that they also are working on getting Jeremy Bonderman signed up long term and will likely also try to extend Carlos Guillen's contract:
Inge is the first step the Tigers have taken to lock up their emerging young players before they can test the open market. A baseball source said the Tigers are in discussions with Jeremy Bonderman about a long-term contract for the emerging right-hander, another arbitration-eligible player who could otherwise declare for free agency after the 2008 season. They're expected to pursue some sort of extension this winter for shortstop Carlos Guillen, eligible for free agency next offseason.This would also be good news if it happens.