Monday, December 10, 2007

The Curious Case Of Brandon Inge

Brandon Inge has always been somewhat of a lightning rod in this town. Seems like people either think he is a great player or a useless one - with no gray area.
Yet, even Inge’s biggest supporters must acknowledge the fact he is no Miguel Cabrera, and Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski has come out and essentially said that Inge will be traded.
And it’s not necessarily the Tigers who are forcing the issue, but Inge himself because he wants to be an every day third baseman rather than a "super utilityman" or catcher.
I have talked to Inge about this in the past, and he is very consistent in his thinking about it. He understands his value as a catcher is much greater to him financially. He is a very good defensive catcher with offensive numbers that would make him highly-regarded at that position.
He is also a very good defensive third baseman with hitting statistics that aren’t good enough to play regularly for an extended period of years at that position. Inge has had one year, really, when his numbers were truly acceptable. It was 2006 when he displayed a lot of power. Before and since, he hasn’t been much of a hitter.
The logic doesn’t matter. He wants to play third. He loves the position. Figures it is his home.
The question is how much value does he really have? I am not sure it is that much. The only way I see the Tigers moving Inge for any type of player of value is if they deal with a small-market team and pick up a large portion of his salary.

Random Thoughts

- The Michigan football coaching search has quickly become an embarrassment for the university and this state. There are many members of the Michigan Mafia still holding out hope that Les Miles is on his way. It is, however, disturbing that these people have put all their eggs in that one basket. Michigan, given the status of its program, should have more than one viable option.

- People are all over Shaun Rogers about his lack of production lately, but what about Cory Redding? He is a three-technique tackle with a good share of freedom to make plays, especially since it is Rogers who is drawing the double-team. Redding performance this season has been, to say the least, disappointing. And the Lions are paying him how much?

- It is rare the Lions ever put a player on the field I have never heard of before, but I must confess I had never heard of Greg Blue before, at least in the NFL. I vaguely remember him when he played at Georgia. And he was terrific Sunday in the loss to Dallas, recovering a fumble and making several tackles. But was it real or a mirage? Seems like the Lions should give him more playing time to find out.

19 Comments:

Blogger Scott (Thinking Man) said...

Hi Pat,

I think your headline regarding Inge is exactly right. I think the man is just stubborn. I think he is taking years off of his career by being so head-strong on this issue. Light hitting thirdbasemen don't last long in Major League Baseball. Brandon is 30-years old and, in my opinion, has already had his career year. If he doesn't accept the role of being a catcher or "super-sub," I think he will bounce from team to team in the next few years.

It's a shame, too, because I think the Tigers would keep him if he were willing to be more flexible about where he plays. You know, the Tigers could take a hard line with this and not trade him and tell him what his role is going to be. As you said, he won't fetch much in the trade market. I think he has more value here as a spot-starter and as insurance against injuries.

Regarding the Lions, I actually felt bad for them yesterday. They deserved to win that game, but you could just see it slipping away when Hanson missed the field goal and then Lennon the fumble. Gosh, can they please cut Shaun Rogers. What use is he? He is so grossly out of shape that he can't take more than a snap or two in a row! If the Lions are ever going to become a winning organization, things like this shouldn't be tolerated.

12:40 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am baffled by Brandon. The vast majority of athletes who have played the game would give alot to be part of the show, yet only a miniscule number actually make it. Once there, you would think he would do anything for the team to stay.

But to cop an attitude about a certain position because you like playing it? He may not have that many more years in the big leagues. Play where the team needs you, say a little prayer of thanks when they hand you your check, and play all the third base you want after you retire.

I think his success may have gone to his head, and maybe he lacks some of the humility he had originally. The team on the other hand should do what is best for the Tigers, not what is best for Brandon. They don't owe him anything, and I doubt playing 3rd base is in his contract.

1:25 PM 
Anonymous barry said...

Hey Pat: I agree with what you said, we can forget a small market team taking on his contract. I think he is 250 hitter and has deliver 19 to 20 HR/ season on average in his career as a 3B and has the best range in baseball at 3B. If Rolen is traded and a few others are off the market, then Inge has a better chance to being moved. I wish the Tigers would go ahead and sign a quality reliever. Then we could move Inge for prospects instead of a reliever. Too bad he doesn't or can't catch anymore this would give more Tigers options or at least increase his value.

2:20 PM 
Anonymous Marty said...

Pat,

Inge also played very well offensively in 2004. Although he slumped badly at the end of the year, he still kept a .300 average until the All-Star break. His success that year and 2006 are probably the reason he won't change his swing. Early in his carreer he was changing his swing practically on a weekly basis, and he thinks he found one that can be moderately successful so he isn't going to budge on that.

-Marty

2:58 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Book,

When I say "I do not like that we are losing Inge" - it is only because I root so hard for this guy. He was a Tiger when we stunk. He was a Tiger when we were in the World Series. - Yes - he was the final batter in the world series - and yes, I was p***ed he didn't get the ball in play.

But he is one of us.

I know on paper - and most likely on the field - Cabrera will be a better fit - but Inge is a Tiger icon. At least to me and my family.

We will miss him and root for him where ever he goes. He is "my Tiger" - and will always be listed as my daughters favorite player on her T-ball playing card.

I know how it sounds. But I believe stats are not the only factor to be concerned with in a game. It's more gut feeling that stats.

But that's just me.

The Lions. When that last 1:20 was on the clock - and we couldn't keep the posession - you knew what was going to happen. My question is - did the defense know to? Did they give up? I don't know. But it played out to the script like clockwork.

I actually invested emotion in that game. 'Fool me twice .. shame on me'.

Thanks Book, your the best!

3:43 PM 
Blogger World of Isaac said...

pat, Im so glad you brought up Redding....he's been junk this year...it was almost as if he was just playing for a contract last year....

When Rogers is getting double teamed on every down that means those other guys are getting single coverage...

damn shame they cant do anything

7:14 PM 
Anonymous Andrew Winkle said...

Pat the Book,

When it comes to Brandon Inge, the question is no longer if, but when and to whom he will be dealt. Having watched years of first, Aurelio Rodriquez, then Tom Brookens, be the Tigers everyday third sacker, I was content with Brandon Inge at the "Hot Corner". You know, someone with good leather and a great arm but a weak bat. I'm glad Dombrowski wasn't content with the status quo.

I have to admit that I didn't watch or listen to a play of the Lions game yesterday. I can only hope that I'm wrong about my pre-season prediction about them not winning a game in December.

I do hope the coaches give this Greg Blue more opportunity to play these last three games. You can't always measure a football player with a tape measure and stop watch. Chris Spielman always comes to mind when I hear that someone isn't considered big enough or fast enough to play in the NFL.

7:44 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

scott (thinking man),
I think it goes back to when he first came up and phil garner made him change his hitting stroke and then he started getting all kinds of advice from people and got totally confused. It gave Inge this attitude of doing what he wants to do because he believes in himself - the rest of the world be damned. It was the only way he pulled himself out of that funk.
Caputo

10:19 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Anonymous,
It is not in his contract, but they did tell him he didn't have to catch. Inge is a good kid, but there is a lot of ego involved. There almost always is with athletes who reach that level. It is, honestly, almost a necessity.
caputo

10:21 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Barry,
I agree about signing or dealing for a reliever. I believe they need more than one. Their bullpen, as is, might be recipe for disaster.
Caputo

10:23 AM 
Anonymous Danny said...

Pat, what's the deal with Lion's defense against the Cowboys? Poor coaching. It's like they had seen too many highlight films from the Cowboys and decided to avoid the "big" play at all costs. So they play prevent on kickoffs and prevent on pass. So Dallas says "fine", we'll take the short field all day long.

Brandon Inge is caught between a rock and a hard place. If I were him, I would probably stay here, but he has a lot of pride. So maybe the Tigers can get a middle of the road arm in the pen.

Cheers,
Danny

10:49 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Marty,
But he didn't develop corner infielder power until 2006. It was the power production that got him that type of contract. If he hit .236 with 27 home runs last season, he'd have a lot of trade value. With half that number, couple with the strikeouts, teams will look at that and pass.
Caputo

11:56 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
No, Fred, you're the best. Anyway. That is part of Inge's appeal. He is homegrown. He did go through the most difficult times and handle himself well. He gives back to the community. Most people like him personally. Those aspects will definitely be missed and did have value to the Tigers. But the bottom line is winning...
Caputo

11:59 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

world of isaac,
Redding has been a puzzle. It's like a lot of times he isn't even in there. Yet, people focus so much on Rogers.
Caputo

12:00 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew Winkle,
The Tigers haven't had great third basemen. Just sometimes good ones who seem to have flaws in the their game. Remember Don Wert? How about Darnell Coles? Chris Brown? Inge reminded me of Brookens, except he has more power and not as much speed.
Caputo

12:03 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Danny,
To be honest with you, I think the Lions defense was just overmatched by Dallas' offense. There was a huge talent gap there. The Lions special teams issues are a direct result of their poor depth which is a direct result of Matt Millen.
Caputo

12:05 PM 
Blogger Russell said...

They need to put Inge in the bullpen (he was a closer in college). Then his batting will really standout for his position.

Also, Dean Palmer was pretty good as an offensive third basemen. A few years ago they also had a guy named Kell who wasn't bad.

1:57 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Russell,
Yeah, and Marvin Owen was pretty good in 30s. I thought Palmer was mostly a disappointment here because of injuries.
Caputo

2:03 PM 
Blogger Russell said...

All Marv Owen was good for was eating Ducky Mewiick's spikes.

8:51 PM 

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