The debate continues about what the Detroit Tigers should do about Brandon Inge and where to play him. Since Tigers superstar Miguel Cabrera has been moved to 3B to make way for the Tigers signing of 1B Prince Fielder, Inge finds himself without a starting position. This has not stopped Detroit fans from trying to figure out a way to work him into the starting lineup somehow. Anyone that read my last article (The Tigers are good, Inge is not) addressing this issue would know why you shouldn’t even play the 34 year old Inge and move forward….anyone except those homer fans that still think he has value of course. For those fans that are out there, this article is for you. I will address some of the crazy “reasons” I have heard all of you recently say in your comments or sports shows around the area. Then, I will solve the issue and tell all of you the only real way to get value out of your beloved Tiger.
Top 2 Reasons given by fans
Reason 1 : We Pay Him Too Much $ To Sit On The Bench
This so called, “argument”, from Inge lovers is something I hear all the time and it’s by far the most absurd. To say that paying someone a lot of money ($5M a yr) is a “reason” to start them, is only proving one thing to those listening….the stupidity of the person saying it. That would be like saying Rick Porcello should be the 2nd starter over Doug Fister because he makes more money. While we’re at it, lets make it a rule that if you are a minor league player and you get called up to the bigs, you have to out play the guy in front of you…and also have to figure out a way to make more money than them, until we consider starting you! I feel stupid for even having to explain to those foolish fans that major league players are judged by their playing ability and their performance on the field. The fact of the matter is that Inge is a career .236 hitter, is 34 years old and hit .197 last year. You have to pay Inge $5M a year whether he plays or not, which means you play the best player in that position. Your value to a team is your performance and not your contract.
Reason 2: He Is Better At Defense Then The Person Ahead Of Him
This is again an awful reason to play someone and has many holes in its breakdown. For one, Inge isn’t as good at defense as he once was and there is no one on the team that he is going to out play on the field that would make up for his (lack of) performance at the plate. If Inge was 28 years old and hit .260ish, I could see that argument being a valid one. The fact is that for Inge to play this year we would have to teach him a new position (2B) and then tell current 2B Ramon Santiago to take a seat on the bench …even though we signed him to be our starter at 2B, after he earned that position by playing utility 8 seasons for us. That is a slap in the face to Santiago, who has not complained once about “wanting to start” during his time as a Tiger….While Inge has now complained publicly that he is upset about not playing. Again.. this so called “reason” is nothing more than a reach from ridicules fans that know nothing about baseball!
The Solution On What To Do With Inge
One fact that we can not change is that we won’t get $5M worth of value out of Inge this year, no matter what we do with him. Once you get past that fact, you can start to look at the real question of….how can we get the most value we can from Inge this year? The answer to that is the Tigers should play him at utility. In my opinion, this will be the best and only way we can get any value out of Inge, and is really a no brainer to me. We all know how important playing multiple positions can be to a team. Just ask Martin Prado.
Inge has played catcher already for us, and wasn’t awful there either. To all of those fans that scream “defensive ability”, you can’t then disagree that he would be good at any position on the field defensively. All I am saying is don’t start him there , but sub him everywhere. This is the only way I see us getting value out of Inge if we absolutely have to play him. If we do anything else than that , I think it will end up being counter productive to the team. So, Tigers fans…What is the problem with doing that?.. oh yeah.. Brandon Inge doesn’t want to! Hmmmm … well I guess we will just start asking the players where they want to play, instead of telling them. Oh, and they can also start telling owners how much they want to get paid, and when they feel like retiring. Yeah yeah… lets do that!