He is possibly the most polarizing player in Detroit sports history. Fans either love his gutsy team play or hate his lack of plate discipline. However, there is one thing fans can agree on regarding Brandon Inge’s skill set, he can handle the glove. So with the recent developments regarding Jhonny Peralta and the lack of depth in the infield; lets ask the question. Should the Detroit Tigers Bring Back Brandon Inge? Brandon Inge happens to be available. As a free agent from the Oakland Athletics and again displaced by 3B prospect Scott Sizemore, Inge could be had for a reasonable rate.
Before you dismiss the idea, lets forget for a second that this players name is Brandon Inge and look at the numbers. If you were a baseball general manger with the needs of the Tigers would you consider a player with the following stats? A .975 fielding percentage with the ability to play every position on the field including catcher. A 162 game average of 17 HR and 70 RBI. An average of .234 which is substandard but on-par with current back-up Ramon Santiago. By looking at the raw numbers one could conclude that Brandon Inge could be a solid role player on any major league team. In fact Robbie Knopf, writer for Rays Colored Glasses on the Fansided network, thinks Brando could fill a role on the Rays roster.
So why not the Tigers? Brandon Inge could fill a key role off the bench for the team. His ability to play defensively anywhere on the field is valuable in itself, especially for a team that has historically lacked depth. He could serve as a defensive replacement or a pinch runner late in games. He could eliminate the need for the Tigers to carry three backstops and serve as the emergency catcher. And even considering his lack of plate discipline Inge has always had a flare for the dramatic with his clutch hitting ability. Inge has a .303 average in 12 pinch hit at-bats so using him in pinch hit situations would not be out of the question.
So should the Detroit Tigers bring back Brandon Inge? If he is willing to except the role player duties on a championship contending team. Yes they should. Inge was put into an impossible position last year when he was asked to handle the second base duties for the embattled Ryan Raburn. Of course he failed and even after he left town the Tigers didn’t have an answer for 2B until the Infante trade. Inge has got all the skills the Tigers need and if he is willing come off the bench, his lack of plate discipline won’t hurt the line-up.
If the Detroit Tigers bring back Brandon Inge it could be one of the most intriguing side stories of the summer. Brandon Inge is a home-grown franchise talent and should where the Old English D once again. If you are concerned the fans won’t want him back, think again. Detroit loves their gritty role players and Brandon Inge will regain his fan favorite status with the first flash of leather or clutch home run.