Brandon Inge is unhappy about the Prince Fielder signing? Did he take Michael Young’s course in Veteran Leadership?
— Andrew Simon (@HitTheCutoff) January 27, 2012
Hard as it might be to believe, Tigers utility man and fan-favorite scrappy dude Brandon Inge is not too impressed with the Tigers decision to summarily replace him with the Quarter Ton Couple of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder.
Understandable for Inge, coming off his worst season at age 33, a season in which he took a minor-league demotion like a champ, is now chuffed at the prospect of losing his job. Who knew?
Brandon Inge used to be an above-average baseball player. After his move out from behind the plate, Inge turned some fine third base defense, league-average offense, and every day durability into two seasons worth around 8 Wins Above Replacement (depending on your flavor). The ravages of age took over as Inge started missing games and his defense returned to the league-wide baseline.
Inge was downright terrible last season. His power disappeared and, despite a decent walk rate, he failed to get on base. At all. Not even once! Despite insisting he’s in the Best Shape of His Life and not at all interested in platooning, Inge probably sits behind even Don Kelly on the Tigers third base depth chart.
Brandon Inge has one more guaranteed year on his contract before an all-but inevitable buyout ahead of 2013. At 34 years old, he likely isn’t as bad as his 2011 season showed but still a long way from serving as an everyday player on a team with title aspirations. His outrage is understandable and only endears him to loyal Tigers fans further.
As a fan, it is very easy to commiserate with a player clinging to his big league career like grim death when the ownership of your team spends two-hundred million dollars securing superior options, thereby rendering the scrappy lifer all but obsolete. “He’s like a mascot! Little Binge is so cute, trying to run around with the big boys. No quit in that one, no sir. Now when do the two portly guys with all the home runs show up?“