Back in January, shortly after the surprise signing of Prince Fielder, I suggested that Brandon Inge should ultimately part ways with the Detroit Tigers organization, mostly because I assumed that his attitude toward losing his job at third base would leave him sulking around the team clubhouse, while not really contributing at all to the success of the upcoming season that us fans are very much looking forward to.
For a guy who needs to be putting up some decent offensive numbers (even if it is spring training baseball), he’s not exactly doing his job. In 13 games this spring, he’s batting .200 in 35 AB’s, has only 1 HR (a solo shot, because he has only 1 RBI to go with it), 7 total hits with 3 total extra base hits (2 doubles)… and with 2 walks, his OBP is an unhealthy .243. Even if we have to resign ourselves to the horror that could be, the team’s defense this season, there’s no real reason to keep Inge and his awful bat around this season.
As talk may have it, Danny Worth may be the guy who’s possibly on the flip side of the coin on who stays with the big club come time for the final 25-man roster.
Of course, if I have to choose from either player, I’m going to take Worth. He’s having a better spring at the plate, batting .292 (.370 OBP). But for realism purposes, neither player would be starting at 2nd base, and Worth isn’t much of a defensive liability either. Each has 1 error this spring, but that will likely mean nothing in this new found offense first, defense later kind of lineup the Tigers currently have.
And never mind the contract either. Inge is making $5.5MM this season, and will likely make the $500,000 buyout for next season. But really, the money owed to him is of no matter, as the Tigers designated Inge for assignment last year, essentially telling him and the rest of the world, that they’ll be happy cutting him the rest of his paychecks as long as no one has to watch him hit a lazy pop up into foul territory. But let’s face it: Inge has never been the complete player he showed us to be during his all-star season of 2009, a season which after that appearance, he was putrid at the plate. It was revealed that he was playing on two shredded knees, and his offense… whatever that was in the past, was certainly no more.
Inge will be 35 in May, and it’s likely that unless he puts his ego in check and accepts what will likely be a minor league career for the rest of his baseball playing days, his career as a Tiger should be over. Even putting him deep on the bench only to come in for defensive purposes seems unfair to the youth that could come in and take his place and be more useful on both sides of the field. Let him go, and transition to the future, and quit living in the past with Brandon Inge.