I feel bad for Brandon Inge.
During the Detroit Tiger’s annual Winter Caravan, he said he had “a new mindset” going into the 2012 season; said he had re-invented himself as a third baseman.
In an article in the Detroit Free Press, he said, “They didn’t sign anyone this offseason. I’m taking that as a compliment.”
You know what they say: Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.
Believe me: We were just as shocked as Inge was (I’m sure) that the Tigers came out of nowhere to land Cecil Fielder’s son.
And with the first Spring Training game 37 days away (as of January 24) I think the Tigers are going to do everything in their power to put Miguel Cabrera at third and Prince Fielder at first, which will likely spell the end of Brandon Inge’s tenure in Detroit.
With Cabrera and Fielder in the field, that will allow the Tigers to insert Gerald Laird’s big bat as the DH … just kidding. Did I fool you?
For real, though, with both of those sluggers playing in the field, the Tigers could put Raburn in leftfield and insert Delmon Young as the DH. They upgrade defensively with Raburn and put a solid bat in the DH.
Of course, the Cabrera-At-Third Experiment could go horribly wrong, in a “He’s Alive!” type of scenario. But I do think the Tigers will try it.
Last year, Inge batted .197 with 3 home runs and 23 RBI in 102 games.
Let me repeat that: Last year, Inge batted .197 with 3 home runs and 23 RBI in 102 games.
You think the Tigers won’t try to upgrade this position?
It’s been a good run with Inge, the once can’t-miss catching prospect out of Virginia Commonwealth. His 2006 season was one of the better feel-good stories in a year that was full of them at Comerica Park. But baseball is a business. And if you don’t perform, you will be replaced.
If the Tigers didn’t make a splash in free agency, yeah, I think Inge would’ve been our starting third baseman on Opening Day.
But with the addition of Prince Fielder, Jim Leyland has many more options to beef up the lineup.
I just don’t see Inge as one of them.