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Brandon Inge isn’t so happy about the Prince Fielder signing

Jan 27, 2012, 10:47 AM EDT

brandon-inge-tigers-throw

Just about everyone in Detroit seems thrilled about the Prince Fielder signing despite plenty of room for concerns about his massive $214 million contract and how his arrival impacts the Tigers’ defense.

One person who definitely isn’t happy? Brandon Inge, who was slated to start at third base until Fielder’s presence pushed Miguel Cabrera across the diamond and sent Inge to the bench.

During the introductory press conference for Fielder yesterday manager Jim Leyland said he regretted Inge not finding out about the signing until after it happened and described him as “not the happiest camper.”

General manager Dave Dombrowski had similar thoughts, saying: “I can understand he wouldn’t be thrilled, but I also think at this point, probably the best thing for him to do–he’s not coming off a big year, the market is pretty well set–probably the best thing is to let him come to spring training, let him play well and let’s see what happens.”

In other words, Inge hit .197 last season, got demoted to Triple-A at one point, is 34 years old, and will make $5.5 million in 2012, so the happiness of that one particular camper shouldn’t really be a big factor for the Tigers right now. Detroit would gladly shed his salary if another team wanted Inge, but odds are that isn’t happening.

  1. proudlycanadian - Jan 27, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    Is the DH position settled in Detroit?

    • Jeremiah Graves - Jan 27, 2012 at 10:53 AM

      I’ve got to agree, I figured there would be plenty of ABs for both Prince/Miggy at DH this year until VMart comes back in 2013. Unless they want to get Delmon Young and his redonkulous “defense” out of left field and put him at DH on a more regular basis?!

      • imauggiedoggie - Jan 27, 2012 at 4:33 PM

        …yeah, i’m with jeremiah ~ with at least 4 ABs per game you could crazy up the opponents by dividing the DH in each game, a lefty, a righty and cause major headaches for opposition. as for 2013, everyone gets a year older and miggy isn’t a youngster and i think putting him at 3rd would be a mistake ~ inge, just keep quiet have a decent spring and jim will have you at third with miguel/prince platooning at DH (i mean, that is what the yanks did with posada ~) nothing wrong with that!

  2. marshmallowsnake - Jan 27, 2012 at 10:57 AM

    Do all people who make $5.5 Million complain?

    • paperlions - Jan 27, 2012 at 11:05 AM

      He isn’t unhappy with his salary, he just wants to play…..don’t you want guys that want to be on the field on your team? It isn’t like Inge has taken to twitter or is yapping to reporters.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jan 27, 2012 at 11:10 AM

        It isn’t like Inge is hitting baseballs or taking ball four either. I’m sure he’ll play plenty, but maybe not before the 7th inning or so many days.

        One interesting aspect of the Cabrera to 3B is how many ABs it will cost him. Even if he remains healthy, he is likely to be pulled in the 7th or 8th inning for a defensive upgrade. If his spot in the order comes around again, we’re looking at Inge getting 3-hole ABs. Maybe it will help Inge a bit, since Fielder will be hitting behind him, but that is still a massive downgrade in the lineup.

        I an also TOTALLY see Peralta, Miggy and Delmon having a horrific 3-man crash in shallow LF and all of them missing time. That is a lot of bad defenders in relatively close proximity. It would be like a much less graceful version of Cameron/Beltran with the Mets.

      • paperlions - Jan 27, 2012 at 11:12 AM

        Is it humanly possible for someone to hit a pop up high enough for Miggy to make it to the “crash site”?

      • marshmallowsnake - Jan 27, 2012 at 11:26 AM

        Well, the Tigers are not my team. But I see your point…if he played well, he would have a real reason to complain I guess.

      • drewsylvania - Jan 27, 2012 at 1:09 PM

        He doesn’t have much room to complain, since most teams would not continue starting a guy who batted .197 the previous year AND has always been a pretty lousy hitter.

      • bubba56 - Jan 28, 2012 at 3:37 PM

        Move Inge to back up catcher and dump Laird. Neither one can hit, Inge is a better catcher, and could also fill in at third if needed. Let him at least pretend to earn his $5.5 million. Otherwise, trade him, even if it means eating his salary. We really don’t have roster spots for Laird, Inge, and Raburn–either laird or Inge needs to go.

  3. uyf1950 - Jan 27, 2012 at 10:58 AM

    Since there are all sorts of players switching position I understand the Red Sox just lost their starting SS.

    • marshmallowsnake - Jan 27, 2012 at 11:27 AM

      Two years is too many for the Red Sox at SS.

  4. nategearhart - Jan 27, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    Of course he’s not happy – Inge’s entire career depends on DET never having more than two decent infielders.

  5. hk62 - Jan 27, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    From the perspective of a baseball fan (not a Tigers fan specifically) – my response is Who Cares? Inge is a marginal player at best that does deliver the occasional big hit. He should just shut up and be thankful he’s already signed because he’d struggle to get anything better than a MiLB contract with an invite from any other team.

  6. a125125125 - Jan 27, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    “What right do you have to replace me just because you found someone that can do my job significantly better?”
    –Brandon Inge Logic

  7. brewcitybummer - Jan 27, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    Tigers fans aren’t happy about hearing that name.

  8. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jan 27, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    Is he unhappy enough to forgo his salary, ask out of his current contract and test free agency? If not, he should probably STFU.

  9. sleepyirv - Jan 27, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    At heart, Inge is still a back-up catcher. Too bad he can’t play that position.

    • bubba56 - Jan 28, 2012 at 3:39 PM

      Move Inge to back up catcher and dump Laird. Neither one can hit, Inge is a better catcher, and could also fill in at third if needed. Let him at least pretend to earn his $5.5 million. Otherwise, trade him, even if it means eating his salary. We really don’t have roster spots for Laird, Inge, and Raburn–either laird or Inge needs to go.

  10. bigjimatch - Jan 27, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    I like Inge.

  11. marshmallowsnake - Jan 27, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    Give a man an Inge and he will take a mile!

  12. dcfan4life - Jan 27, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    Only in baseball can a mediocre player get $5.5 million and every single dollar is guarenteed. Id love to see a mediocre player making a mediocre salary for once…

    • Old Gator - Jan 27, 2012 at 11:59 AM

      Are you kidding? You can’t even find yourself a decent mansion with an Aston Martin roadster in the garage, an Aloutette on your very own helipad and a French maid for every floor for 5.5 million.

    • paperlions - Jan 27, 2012 at 12:56 PM

      Mediocre basketball player make more…..CEOs that run their companies into the ground make more…it isn’t just baseball.

  13. richlandguy - Jan 27, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    If Brandon shows up and starts to hit – say about .270 and a pace for 20 Hrs and driving in 70 his whining might be justified. Brandon just needs to step up and make the Tigers find a place for him. p

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 27, 2012 at 1:34 PM

      Best response yet.

  14. dowhatifeellike - Jan 27, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    I was going to suggest shipping him to Baltimore so we can give Reynolds the DH spot, but his numbers just aren’t that good. I guess my opinion of Inge is clouded by the “everyone looks good when they play the Orioles” effect.

    • drewsylvania - Jan 27, 2012 at 1:13 PM

      Reynolds is Inge plus 15 homers minus good defense. He probably isn’t much of an upgrade anywhere.

  15. drewsylvania - Jan 27, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    He’s not really complaining, though. He simply said “I’m not the happiest camper.” It’s possible he’s unhappy with himself as much as with the potential of losing his job. He shouldn’t blame the org one bit for wanting to replace his bat…so maybe he’s mad at his own lack of hitting skill.

    • byjiminy - Jan 27, 2012 at 9:03 PM

      He didn’t even say that — that’s a quote from Leyland. Publicly, Inge has said not one word! If he is dying to play and says so to his manager, and doesn’t say a peep publicly, he’s handling it exactly how he should. This wouldn’t be an issue if management didn’t put words in his mouth.

      I agree with the person below who said start Inge at 3rd, Cabrera in left field, and bench Young. Young has a negateve WAR for his career. His fielding is terrible, and his offense is empty — he never walks, his OBP is atrocious, he’s always in the top five in swings outside the strike zone, and his power is only occasional. He’s a net minus, and he’s uncoachable, so he never improves. Inge at least plays good defense and hits an occasional homer; he’s not very good offensively but neither is Young. If Young starts slow, which he usually does, it will be interesting to see how Leyland handles it.

  16. jwbiii - Jan 27, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    Jim and the Angry Inge.

  17. icanspeel - Jan 27, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    When I read the title I felt kind of badly for Inge, then I saw he only hit .197 last year and prior to the signing he would have been very lucky to be given a shot to start 3rd with those stats.

  18. Mark - Jan 27, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    As bad as Inge is, he’s got a point. And more importantly, the Tigers defensive alignment (or lack there of) would be better off with Miguel Cabrera in LF and Inge at 3B than Delmon in LF and Cabrera at 3B.

    Delmon’s 320 wOBA for his career > Inge’s 300 wOBA, but Delmon’s pretty much the worst defensive OF in the game and Inge is a very good defensive 3B.

    If you think Inge comes close to his career averages, the Tigers are better off using the Inge/Cabrera alignment at 3B/LF over the Cabrera/Young alignment at 3B/DH.

    While I normally don’t agree with players whining over play time there’s actually a legitimate argument to be made that the Tigers are hurting themselves by effectively playing Young over Inge, assuming Inge doesn’t hit below the Mendoza line again.

  19. genericcommenter - Jan 27, 2012 at 8:26 PM

    Inge hasn’t even been league average at the plate in 6 years. Coincidentally (?) he provided his most value in the field then also. Lately, he’s decent in the field but bats a lot worse than most backup catchers ( which might be OK if he still caught).

  20. drewsylvania - Jan 27, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    I wonder how bad Cabrera has to be at 3B in order for him to give back enough of his value that he’s no better than Inge.

  21. bbk1000 - Jan 28, 2012 at 6:32 AM

    I remember Francesa saying Inge was better than David Wright…..the whole “I like Inge” rant…yea that guy understands the game…

  22. pandebailey - Jan 28, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    OMG – sanity check……
    Inge hit .197 last year and is a lifetime .235 and .305 OBP hitter, playing 3rd with a .960 fielding average and making $5 million on the downside of his career? What am I not seeing?

    Instead of making even a peep about bring Fielder in, he should be calling Prince to ask him how he wants his Rolls waxed!

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