Friday, February 17, 2012

And so Brandon Inge wants to take a shot at second base for the Tigers...

It's bizarre, but I guess predictable, there is outrage in some quarters Brandon Inge would ask to try to play second base this coming season - and the Tigers will actually let him make the attempt.
Anything Inge does gets his supporters and growing number of detractors barking.
Yet, why wouldn't he try?
Second base isn't a strength for the Tigers. Ramon Santiago has displayed continually he is a backup player who plays exceptionally well only in short spans, but gets exposed when played on an every day basis for extended periods. I can't imagine Inge will have much range at second base, but neither does Ryan Raburn, whose inconsistency defensively, regardless the position, is maddening. Raburn is also the ultimate streak hitter.
If Inge can do OK at second, it would give manager Jim Leyland another option at a position the Tigers are considerably behind most of the other top American League pennant contenders (the Yankees have Robinson Cano, the Red Sox Dustin Pedroia, the Rangers Ian Kinsler and the Angels Howie Kendricks).
And while Inge was awful overall last season at the plate, he did show some promise late in the year after spending time in the minor leagues. He hit .324 in September and his OPS was .899. He was the Tigers' second leading hitter in the postseason with a .318 batting average, and an OPS of .923. He hit left-handers particularly well after his stint in Toledo.
Whether he will be able to pull it off defensively is a different story. He is going to be 35 in May and has had knee issues. I always found it curious that Inge was a somewhat celebrated shortstop in college, but has never played middle infield during his professional career. There is something baseball people detected that dismissed him as a middle infielder at the major league level very early on - even if he is a smaller player with some athleticism.
There is another factor, too. It's the barking that surrounds Inge. Fans have turned on him. Even though he has morphed into a decidedly struggling player later in his career, his issues always move to the forefront of public opinion. People just can't stop talking about the guy.
But the bottom line is the Tigers are paying Inge more than $5 million this coming season, and they are going to try to play Miguel Cabrera at third base as much as possible. So what is there to lose by giving Inge at shot at second?



Blogger Fred Brill said...

I wonder ... I wonder had Polanco not been traded away ... how would we be talking about him now.

Inge at 2nd? Well that puts a .235 hitter in the line up where you could have a Raburn or Kelly - even a Ramone I guess .. are you getting enough defensively from Inge to justify a .235 hitter in this rotation?

As for Inge getting $5M next year - I'm not paying him. As a fan - a former Inge fan for that matter - I don't want to see him - unless it's the third Sunday in May and Miggy needs a break - and the Tigers are up by 6 runs and Verlander's pitching - then put Inge in.

But as a fan, I really need Brandon to move on in life right now. Leave 2nd base to a 2nd baseman or to a guy who can hit over .235.

4:59 PM 
Anonymous woody said...

for Inge to extend his career as a bench player, he will need to increase his position versatility. so his interest in playing 2b is understandable.

just not much of a role otherwise for a guy who is a platoon hitter vs lefty pitchers, is not a pinch runner or pinch hitter type, and can only play one position...that is now blocked by one of the best hitters in MLB.

maybe he can help this or some other team by be able to play 2b in a pinch. doubtful that he poses a significant threat to the Santiago/Raburn platoon.

11:25 AM 

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