Where should Cabrera play?

by billfer on December 6, 2007 · 131 comments

in 2008 Season,Defense,Managing & Strategy,Offense

Jim Leyland was quoted yesterday talking about how this deal and the players they acquired were like a presents under the tree. Well, now that we can open up the presents, it’s time to play with them. The common refrain is that the Tigers should play Miguel Cabrera at third base and move Brandon Inge. It’s pretty clear that Cabrera is better than Inge and I’m not going to try and dissuade you from thinking that way. But as both Rob Neyer and Lee Panas have pointed out, the chasm in defensive ability between the two makes the upgrade not as dramatic as it appears at first blush. Are the Tigers better served putting Cabrera in left field?


Defensively I’ll turn to the methodology I deployed a couple weeks ago when I was giddy about the Tigers infield defense. Using PMR, we know that Brandon Inge is about 20 plays better than predicted over 4000 balls in play. Cabrera meanwhile is awful. He makes about 31 plays fewer than expected. A swing of 51 plays between the two players is simply huge. That works out to about 40 runs. That number differs in magnitude from Neyer’s (he had it at 40 plays or 32 runs) and Lee’s (46 plays and 37 runs), but you get the idea.

But what happens if Cabrera plays the outfield? I don’t expect him to be a defensive whiz out there either. But it is farther down the defensive spectrum, so while he may be not good, it may not be as glaringly not good. Quite frankly a lower percentage of balls hit to left field are expected to be converted to outs than at third base, so simply in decreased opportunities there may be an improvement in putting Cabrera out there.

For the sake of argument, let’s average the performance of the 5 worst left fielders and say he’ll perform similarly. That would mean that over 4000 balls in play (or about 145 games) he’d miss 25 plays. Now those plays are more costly in left field than third base because they are more likely to go for extra bases so the run value is 21 runs.

But of course there is an offensive component there as well. To estimate left field production with Marcus Thames and Jacque Jones I gave Jones about two-thirds of the playing time with the rest going to Thames. And for the offensive projections I used the Bill James Runs Created projections available at Fangraphs.

Here’s how the two options work out over 145 games:

Cabrera plays 3rd

Third Base Cabrera Jones/Thames
Runs Created 130 77
Runs Prevented -24.8 7
Total 105.2 84

The total contribution from the 2 positions is 189.2 runs.

Cabrera plays left field

Left Field Cabrera Inge
Runs Created 130 59
Runs Prevented -21 15.5
Total 109 74.5

The total run contribution is 183.5

The verdict

It looks to be a wash. Caveats abound here because we’re working on a number of assumptions. James projections see Inge continuing to regress. Does he follow that path or does he bounce back even a little and get a slugging percentage over .400? Along the same lines does Jacque Jones bounce back and figure out how to hit for any modicum of power? Either thing happening swings the balance.

The other item to keep in mind is that the Tigers will be trotting out a rotation with 3 southpaws meaning there will be a greater number of balls going to the left side of the field. While that effects the infield as well as the outfield, there are more plays in the infield. The more balls hit to 3rd, the greater the disparity between Cabrera and Inge defensively.

As for what players you’d rather have around, there are pluses and minuses to both. Inge does provide considerable versatility in his ability to play 3rd base and outifeld and even catcher. If you remember the Tigers need someone to back up Pudge in case Vance Wilson isn’t ready. I know Inge doesn’t want to go behind the plate, but his situation has changed.

Inge is also owed the most money with 3 years left on his contract. That makes him the most desirable for the Tigers to move and the least desirable for other teams to take. Jones only has a year left, but doesn’t offer the versatility of Inge but does provide a left handed bat. Marcus Thames is entering his first year of arbitration, meaning he’ll be year to year and relatively cheap for the next 3 years, but provides the least flexibility and is a highly redundant right handed bat.

While this will cause great consternation among many, I’d advocate for keeping Inge and having him play 3rd base, putting Cabrera in left field, moving Thames and making Jacque Jones the 4th outfielder. If the Tigers can get a decent return for Inge, like prospects or a solid bullpen arm it does probably make sense to move him. But I can’t see moving him just to clear a spot or payroll. The team is far from boxed in at that point, and if Inge absolutely flounders offensively they can shift things around.

And yet another option is to platoon defensively. On the nights when a lefty is on the mound, especially Kenny Rogers, it is probably worthwhile to have the superior defender at the hot corner.

These aren’t easy choices, but they are definitely fun ones.

 
 

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Walewander December 6, 2007 at 9:58 pm

Inge at 3B, Miggy in LF. But is this even being discussed? All the talk I’ve heard is about Detroit trying to move Inge…

Michael December 6, 2007 at 10:10 pm

Hey, Bonds plans on playing in 2008. Put him in LF and Miggy at 3B, haha. KIDDING! I like Inge at 3rd. At least for the start. If he is just a black hole when batting, change it them.

Sam December 6, 2007 at 10:20 pm

I’d keep Inge and let him go back to his supersub role. He can literally play any position on the field. You can also use him the 8th and 9th inning defensive sub for Caberra.

-Sam

David December 6, 2007 at 10:29 pm

Well put Billfer

I cast my vote for him bouncing back. I think that in his prime he is better than a .236 hitter, and if he can keep trying to hit to all fields then I think he could repeat his .287 season.

Still like I said the superb defense and his ability to semi-mash against lefties,

Although there are quite a few Inge-haters there are quite a few Inge Jerseys around the park (myself included)

If they were to trade him then Granderson would be the lone position player that we didn’t acquire in a trade.

http://detroit.tigers.mlb.com/media/player/mp_tpl.jsp?w_id=502758&w=mms%3A//a1503.v108692.c10869.g.vm.akamaistream.net/7/1503/10869/v0001/mlb.download.akamai.com/10869/2006/open/tp/archive06/062506_slndet_inge_def_tp_350.wmv&pid=mlb_tp&gid=2006/06/25/slnmlb-detmlb-1&mid=200606251522891&cid=mlb&fid=mlb_tp350&v=2&mType=w&urlstr=&mUrl=&type=v_free&_mp=1

Lou December 6, 2007 at 10:47 pm

What about putting Guillen at 3B at Cabrera at 1B? Doesn’t that make more sense than sitting Jones and Thames?

Nals December 6, 2007 at 10:52 pm

Have cabrera DH!
Sheff plays LF, inge plays 3rd bats 9th.

This is not an everyday thing, but it would be very good on those days that Rogers pitches.

Ken from Cincinnati December 6, 2007 at 10:53 pm

Keeping Inge is 100% the right move. We have an excellent lineup, but if you don’t think we’re going to lose at least one of our regulars for a significant part of the season than you’re overly optimistic. Inge gives us the flexibility and depth that we’re going to need deep into the season or if Cabrera proves to be a defensive liability at third. There are other ways to strengthen the bullpen, besides moving Inge. We may not even need to strengthen the bullpen if we’re scoring 6 runs per game. The return we would get for Inge with his mega salary is not worth what we would give up in depth.

Nals December 6, 2007 at 10:53 pm

Also, isn’t Raburn just a versatile as Inge? AND a better hitter.

David December 6, 2007 at 11:05 pm

Lou – Sadly due to Guillen’s knees he as we have said has very limited range (never dives anymore) and his arm strength is not very good anymore. It is better to have him as a healthy hitter, and play a less-demanding position

As far as Thames goes – he is a bench player, you put him in there when you need some more power, but as is we don’t

Jones I duno, but he gives us late inning defensive replacement and baserunner for either Maggs or Cabrera (assuming he is in the OF)

Good points Ken

Heres another thing I just thought of

Why not put Cabrera in RF and move Maggs to LF?

Maggs has more Range

Cabrera supposedly has a great arm….

hmmm

Nals – Shef is our DH, after the incident last year, that is what he is

And no Raburn isn’t as versatile as Inge

I really like Raburn also but we have yet to see how he will handle MLB pitchers adjusting to him, and his fielding leaves something to be desired

David December 6, 2007 at 11:17 pm
Chris in Nashville December 6, 2007 at 11:25 pm

That is the point everyone is missing Nals…..Raburn is a cheaper, younger option in the field and at least the equal to Inge at the plate (I know Raburn’s numbers were good last year, but we don’t know if he can keep that up over the long haul).

Great analysis Bilfer, that was absolutely fantastic. I still think the best thing for the 2008 Tigers now is to have Miggy at 3B, Jones/Thames in LF and Inge playing somewhere else. Remember, Miggy has lost 15 lbs (according to Ozzie Guillen in a recent interview) so he should be moving laterally better, which should increase his range and hence his defense at 3B. He’ll never be Inge at 3B, but we need another LH bat in the lineup somewhere, which is why we got Jones in the first place. We are going to have to eat some of Inge’s salary, but now that we have a $135 million, what’s another few? The future is now, we need another arm in that bullpen and I THINK Inge could get us that.

Mike R December 6, 2007 at 11:40 pm

I don’t know how/where we’re going to be dealing Inge to that won’t cause us to take a lesser package in return or eat, like, half of his contract.

Joey C. December 6, 2007 at 11:55 pm

The way this team is spending money, I don’t think eating half of his contract Inge’s contract is going to be much of an issue.

Joshua M. December 7, 2007 at 12:00 am

You have to remember there are several teams in extreme need of a 3rd baseman, so Inge should be an easy trade without taking to much salary on. Now what we get in return is another story. As far as him going back to catcher I dont think he would. I know in the past he has said he would never catch again. Whether that means he would demand a trade rather than catch who knows. But in my opinion Rayburn is capable of being a super sub too. He can play infield or outfield and can hit for average. Oh and let me be the first to say Willis wins the AL Cy Young this year with 20 wins! Jones gets the comeback player of the year with his 20+ home runs.

David December 7, 2007 at 12:33 am

Hah, btw

as of yesterday Willis’ and Cabrera’s new pictures were up on detroittigers.com with their new caps on

Even though it is a headshot – he doesn’t look like he has really leaned out

I just saw the Jason Beck video and he said Leyland was making lineups and Inge wasn’t in any of them….

I am very sad…

I’d rather have him as a backup then trade him when we’d probably get peanuts on the dollar

Plus to think that no one will get injured when we have Maggs, Sheff, Pudge, Guillen, Polanco etc.

Kurt December 7, 2007 at 12:36 am

David, they typically just photoshop the new team’s hat onto the old headshot, so don’t judge by that.

Mat December 7, 2007 at 1:19 am

Doesn’t Jones being a LH hitter count for anything? It seems like part of the problem with last years team and ’06 as well was that tough right handers could shut us down due to the RH dominance in the lineup. With Jones out of the picture Granderson and Guillen are the only LH bats. It also makes the lineup easier to handle for opposing bullpens. Given this analysis indicates its essentially a wash (though personally, I see Jones improving his offensive production as vastly more probable than Inge returning to the peak production he had once in his career), shouldn’t the LH thing tilt the balance?

Also, while Inge’s value on the trade market is undetermined, its pretty clear that Jones doesn’t have a ton of value since he yielded only Infante when he was on the market very recently. Presumably things haven’t changed that dramatically.

Just my opinion, but it seems that its time for Inge to move on, both for his own good and for the Tigers.

ron December 7, 2007 at 1:56 am

Gotta keep Inge for late inning defense. If this team can’t win big with Inge, he certainly won’t be the problem.

glenn December 7, 2007 at 2:51 am

Just move the left field fence in ten feet and put Cabrera in left and Inge at 3rd. Gives Cabrera less space to cover and give both of them a closer target.

Scott December 7, 2007 at 4:06 am

DD said Cabrera will be playing 3B and Jones will be the everyday LF player…In a recent interview he also said it is very likely that Inge will be traded…the Tigers payroll is going up over $125 Million and they will NOT keep Inge as a $6 Million/yr supersub…Raburn is much more cost-effective. Inge will be traded for bullpen help and a deal could happen any time…Only fantasy baseball players try to keep Inge because it just isn’t going to happen folks….DD and Leyland are moving in a new direction and Inge needs a fresh start with another team…End of story.

Scott December 7, 2007 at 4:49 am
billfer December 7, 2007 at 7:09 am

Scott -

I know what they said, and I know what their intentions are. It doesn’t make it the right choice though and I just wanted to examine the situation.

Kathy December 7, 2007 at 7:21 am

I said several months ago I’d get rid of Inge in a heartbeat and I still feel that way. Not saying you’re wrong Billfer, but I just don’t think that will work (IMHO) but as usual, you make valid points.

William December 7, 2007 at 7:50 am

that article makes a great point at the end: we never could have pulled off this deal had we not “overpaid” (according to their draft slot) for Miller and Maybin.

Selig bitched about it again last year with Porcello, too.

Walt December 7, 2007 at 8:30 am

Where should Cabrera play?

In Detroit for a long, long time.

BobS. December 7, 2007 at 8:54 am

While the situations aren’t exactly the same,the Tigers need to avoid the problem the Yankees experienced with Rodriguez and Jeter.While Inge is undoubtedly a better third baseman-in fact,there are those given to the hyperbole we frequently see in the comments here who would argue he’s among the defensive immortals at the position-we are hoping for Cabrera to be a cornerstone of this team for many years.If he’s amenable to playing the outfield,fine(first impressions being what they are,I tend to think of him as an outfielder first as it’s where I remember him playing in the 2003 WS).But if he’s coming to town expecting to play third base,then third base it should be.The organization may want to consider finessing the situation rather than welcoming him to town with “Hi,you’re changing positions”.

Rings December 7, 2007 at 10:05 am

I’ve expressed my opinion already, but BobS above is spot on: Miggy is the guy here. Cabrera will play where he’s most comfortable. Period.
I know David, among others, are begging for any excuse to keep Brandon Inge around, but realistically, “third-base defense” – in the history of baseball – is just not as important as nearly every other defensive position.
The Tigers have already said that he’s coming to play third and that they’re shopping Inge. Just like a saber-lineup featuring Sheffield in leadoff, moving guys around to save Brandon’s job is not going to happen.
While I appreciate the thought behind your work Bilfer, Inge has proven over 6 years that he’s not a quality MLB hitter and that he makes a ton of mistakes to balance his “range” value. The only flashes he’s shown were his 27 HR season (hit mainly in throw-away AB’s) and his .287 season (coming off of three years at .201, where he faced almost only fastballs). That’s not going to suddenly change as he “bounces back.” The Tigers, with Leyland putting him on notice with his half-game benching for Raburn saying “we have to have more from there,” have finally worn their patience thin with his act.
That being said, I’ve always advocated him as a utility guy (albeit an expensive one, in this case). If he can go back to catching, where defense IS more important, he’d be just fine at as an option when/if Pudge leaves and he’d have a year to work on it before taking over full time.

billfer December 7, 2007 at 10:13 am

I agree that comfort is important, and in the presser Cabrera said he would play wherever and that it didn’t matter. I have no idea if that’s how he feels.

And as for the assertions that defense isn’t important at third, I just don’t know what to say. It’s not as important as other positions, but the swing from best to worst is 40+ plays and that is important. And that takes into account Inge’s gaffes.

don December 7, 2007 at 10:50 am

I tend to agree with the “cabrera should play where he’s comfortable” line of thought here: we are trying to sign him long term, moving him off his favorite position right off the bat may not help us do that.

I’ve never been an Inge super-fan or an Inge-hater, but if we can’t get good value for him (which is likely), I think we’d be very well served keeping him on as a supersub. All kinds of ways he’d be great to have around:

Good plug in for inevitable injuries: (1) if sheffield gets hurt, stick cabrera at DH and inge at third; or put guillen at DH, cabrera at first and inge at third; (2) maggs gets hurt you can put jones/thames in RF, cabrera in LF and inge at third, (3) guillen gets hurt you move cabrera to first and inge at third. (4) pudge gets hurt, inge’s our backup.
Keeping inge around for these contingencies would soften the blow

He’d be our third catcher.
He’d be a late innings defensive replacement at third (or he’d even be a defensive upgrade over any one of our corner outfielders with some work out there), moving cabrera to 1st.
He could occasionally spell granderson in CF against lefties
We could harness his power arm and move him to the bullpen. Just kidding. But not really.
When dontrelle pitches, we could let him hit and DH for inge at third with cabrera in left. Just kidding. But not really.

A couple days ago I had also proposed a platoon like: vs. LHP inge at 3rd, cabrera in left, vs. RHP cabrera at third jones in left. Anyways, Most of those ideas are serious and give leyland a ton of flexibility and insurance against injuries; it’s a nice option to plug in gold glove defense at third whenever you feel like you need to. Thoughts?

Rings December 7, 2007 at 11:21 am

I’m not saying it’s not important at all, Bilfer. Its just not as important as most other positions, and historically/traditionally third base has always been a position where teams seek offense and sacrifice a bit on defense. In modern AL baseball, every position has to be decent with the stick and the glove.

Inge has had his chances as a starter – 6 years’ worth – and hasn’t seized it. There’s a ton of good-glove/no-hit guys always available and, unfortunately, Inge’s offensive shortcoming have cost us much more than the perhaps generous “45 plays” cited. For all the prop-up of his defense and the trees, we’re overlooking the obvious forest: he stinks offensively. His career avg .241/.304 OBP in over 3000 PA’s. It is what he is.

Its not just his AVG/OBP/K-rate, etc., but too often (ALDS vs NYY, for example), his failure to do anything positive (advance a runner, ground ball, fly ball, etc.) with an at-bat and was too often a rally-killer.
As an experiment, through game 55 this past season (we kept track), he had 80 LOB for his 19 RBI (8 of which, were himself on HR). Its a 13% “delivery rate,” despite many of whom could’ve been advanced just putting the ball in play.

If you want to win a championship, eventually, you just can’t live with that disadvantage and long-term performance in an AL that isn’t forgiving of other teams’ shortcomings. No matter how many Inge #15 jerseys are in the stands, he was a major offensive shortcoming as a starter, despite his occasional defensive flair.

Eddie December 7, 2007 at 11:28 am

Just a quick note as far as where Cabrera should play… The Tigers have nothing in the way of 3B help on the way. While a player like Iorg, Sizemore, or Hollimon could move there, that has to play a role in the long term decision.

I do think his eventual destination is 1B, as he will likely be here much longer than Guillen’s four year contract.

The Spot Starters December 7, 2007 at 11:42 am

This is why I think there is still room for Inge on this roster. If he agrees to at least give catching another chance they should keep him. He could play there some this year and hopefully play out the rest of his contract there after Pudge’s expires.

Also, check out my Tigers blog for an interview with former Tiger, CJ Nitkowski.

Stephen December 7, 2007 at 11:45 am

And this is the point where the baseball sabermetricians drive me insane. Run the numbers however you like, but in the end it defies logic to say upgrading from a slick fielding career .241 ham and egger to a 25 yr old potential Hall of Famer is ‘not as dramatic as it appears at first blush.’

Really?? Let’s say Cabrera drives in 50 runs more than Inge. Let’s say it means the rest of the lineup gets better pitches. Let’s say the acquistion makes the Tigers feel like studs and they play with more confidence. Let’s say Cabrera rips off a 50 hr 150 rbi season and wins a MVP. Let’s say this leads to another star wanting to play for the Tigers.
We’re going to move one of the ten best players in the majors so we can have Inge’s glove and his strikeout a game bat in the lineup?? Really??
Hey if they want to pay Inge to play late defense innings and get 200 ab’s, it not my 19 m. But to suggest you’d massage the situation so that your star plays out of position and the worst offensive 3rd basemen in the AL can stay in his current slot is crazy talk.

billfer December 7, 2007 at 11:50 am

I don’t understand what historical positional tendencies have to do with anything. It doesn’t matter what the position is. We can call it rover for all I care, but a 40 plus play swing is HUGE.

And the argument about “he’s had his chance” I don’t get either. I never said that Inge was getting shafted in this deal. I was looking at what was best for the team.

If there was a compelling option in left field that would be one thing. But while Jones/Thames are adequate as a platoon, they aren’t exactly a force that can’t be displaced.

And before the inevitable Inge-lover comments come out, save them. I’m very much in the middle on Inge in that I think his bat at non 04-06 levels is grossly inadequate but his glove is superb.

billfer December 7, 2007 at 11:56 am

Stephen -

The guy is a butcher at third base. What makes you think he’s in-position right now?

And I can throw out a bunch of other nonsensical what-ifs also. Like what if the pitchers are afraid to pitch to contact because ball after ball will go through the left side? What if they end up throwing a ton of pitches trying strike every one out and as a result they walk a ton of guys and the other fielders lose focus and their play suffers? What if the starters because of all those extra pitches can’t pitch as deep into a game or they tire faster?

I don’t believe any of that last paragraph, but it is no more far fetched than your assertion.

And it’s not like Cabrera is foreign to left field. And he probably won’t be good out there either, but the defensive damage will be less.

ron December 7, 2007 at 12:05 pm

Keep Inge on the bench for emergency purposes. Expensive, but neccesary. Us fans need an “if Inge was in there, he would have made that play” to fall back on.

greg December 7, 2007 at 12:13 pm

Has anyone actually seen/heard DD or Leyland state in fact that Cabrera is ‘definitely our 3B? I see alot of ‘DD says this and that, thus Inge is definitely going to be traded’. However, the only REAL quotes I’ve seen, are DD and Leyland basically saying ‘no comment’ to this issue when asked directly, both in press conferences and in interviews, that they’ll have to sit down and talk about their options.

Not that I’d be surprised that they’d say this, just want to make sure the facts are straight, given the abundence of misinformation nowadays. Does anyone have a link to a direct quote? That would be a lot more convincing than someone simply opining and saying ‘End of Story’.

ron December 7, 2007 at 12:15 pm

All right, Billfer and Stephen mixing it up over Inge. We can’t let him go now. As the Tigers boringly win game after game this season, we need some controversy or this site will just dry up while people wait for the parade.

greg December 7, 2007 at 12:24 pm

Quote:

And I can throw out a bunch of other nonsensical what-ifs also. Like what if the pitchers are afraid to pitch to contact because ball after ball will go through the left side? What if they end up throwing a ton of pitches trying strike every one out and as a result they walk a ton of guys and the other fielders lose focus and their play suffers? What if the starters because of all those extra pitches can’t pitch as deep into a game or they tire faster?

Unquote

Nonsensical? How so? Seems very sensical as it is quite common. Not that every pitcher reacts this way, but countless have. I’m ecstatic to have Cabrera at 3B even with the defensive problems, but this is somewhat of a conern of mine(his defense having, potentially, these deleterious effects).

billfer wrote:

The guy is a butcher at third base.

True dat.

greg December 7, 2007 at 12:30 pm

quote:

We’re going to move one of the ten best players in the majors so we can have Inge’s glove and his strikeout a game bat in the lineup?? Really??

unquote:

I can see both sides of the argument. But I don’t understand someone being surprised at the prospect of moving Cabrera to the OF. Its not a new position, he’s done it before. Its ‘old hat’ to him(not that he excels in the OF). It has historic precedent and tangible benefit defensively. So it wouldn’t be surprising to see this happen. Especially against LHP. Add in the fact that Cabrera stated he doesn’t mind playing the OF. It all adds up.

ron December 7, 2007 at 12:39 pm

Someone slam a bat down on Brandon’s toe before the season starts. He’ll shorten up that stride and be just what the doctor ordered.

BobS. December 7, 2007 at 12:42 pm

No one is surprised at the prospect of moving Cabrera to the outfield.The concern is him being allowed to make the decision.
Maybe we should just keep the irreplaceable ‘Brooks’ Inge at third and have Cabrera be our super-sub,filling in at third,first,LF,RF,and DH.

Ryan S December 7, 2007 at 1:36 pm

Interesting tidbit: According to the info at Baseball Musings used as the basis for this post, Cabrera converted 7 MORE plays into outs than expected in 2006. So the same way some people conjecture that Inge may have had a down year offensively in ’07, maybe Cabrera had a down year defensively. Being both players are young, it’s unlikely that either can blame there shortcomings on declining skills due to age. The easiest explanations for each might be that Cabrera got too fat and Inge was stubbornly stupid in his offensive approach in ’07. If you ask me it’s easier to shed a few pounds (and therefore regain some mobility) than it is to change a player’s mental makeup.

Here a link to the ’06 PMR numbers:

http://www.baseballmusings.com/archives/018553.php

David December 7, 2007 at 1:56 pm

Why not? Like I said with his arm

Is this a good summary? or am I missing something?

Points to keep Inge/have Cabrera play in the OF

-3 Starters who are lefties
-GG defense
-6mil
-Depth if any injuires arise
-To save more wear and tear on Cabrera
-Could have a bounce-back season offensively
-Hits lefties well

Points to trade Inge
-Cabrera might want to play 3rd?
-Not a consistent hitter

Rings 3rd base defense isn’t important? OK lets just not have anyone there…

I don’t know if you have ever watched or played baseball but normally a ball is hit there every once in awhile and normally pretty hard…

If it isn’t important lets just have 2 DH in Shef and Miggy and have no one at 3rd.

And yes I would rather have him at super-sub then traded.

In any event if it were up to me I would put him at short and move Rentaria to third and stick Cabrera in RF and Maggs in LF.

That defense IMO would save a significant amount of runs over what they have even if Inge were to play 3rd and Miggy in LF.

Mat December 7, 2007 at 2:10 pm

Inge is 30. He will be 31 in May. While some players keep improving into their 30s most do not. Inge is in the middle of the prime of his career. There is little reason to think he will improve.

I’m not an Inge hater. He was likable and very good defensively. I loved him when he played the supersub role, but that time has passed for him (he doesn’t want to change his role or swing from all reports i’ve read) and he makes too much money now to be the sub that cheaper young players can be.

I appreciate Billfer’s quantitative analysis, and I’m willing to accept the numbers that indicate the choice between Jones/Thames in LF and Inge in 3B is essentially a draw due to defense. Defense is very important and the offensive stats we see can’t be our only indicator of player value. That said, I tend to agree with Stephen and the others who point to all the peripheral signs, intangibles, and potential ramifications in favor of Jones/Thames.

I could see the other side of the coin if there was a clear statistical case for Inge to stay, but it seems the results of the analysis are pretty inconclusive. Given that, you go with common sense which points to moving Inge and rolling with Cabrera at 3rd.

There have been many good reasons listed but the bottom line is as a long-term fit Cabrera has more value to us as a third baseman than left-fielder. Its much easier to fill that roster spot than an infield one. Now Cabrera may prove incapable of defensive competence at that position, but lets give him the opportunity.

Besides, it sounds like the decision has already been made. We might as well be arguing the merits of signing Bobby Higginson and Damion Easley to expensive contracts. … So, how about this bullpen??

David December 7, 2007 at 2:11 pm

Oh and Ryan

On ESPN they have ZR – Zone Rating – the # of outs made in a players typical zone

Cabrera (as I have said prev) was 2nd to last the past 2 years in 2007 and 2006 in the National League

Inge you could argue had a down year defensively last year. Check out 2006, his range was incredible.

As we have said pitching and defense wins championships in any sport.

We saw that in 2006 when we had more of both, and we had a power offense last year but our defense slid at nearly every position (besides CF and RF IMO).

We obviously have the offensive power and arguably our 1-7 in any event will be the best 1-7 in baseball.

If Kenny/D-train/Robertson get quite a few starts (they try to have the hitter put the ball in the play on the ground) then Inge should be left at 3rd.

Another point is, while Cabrera might be HOF offensively, you could argue that Inge is that way defensively and shouldn’t be ran all over like a doormat.

It is too bad you couldn’t combine them =P

ez December 7, 2007 at 2:29 pm

Bilfer, really? All of Inge’s gaffs are accounted for in your Dungeon’s and Dragon’s Sabermetrics? How about Inge bunting into the UNHEARD of 2-5-3 double play? How about Inge getting doubled off second base on a 400 foot flyout because the moron didn’t know how many outs there were? How about Inge getting picked off 3rd on a throw from catcher to pitcher? How about Inge touching 3rd for a force out when there is no force out? Guaranteed Miggy does none of those things this year. Take away 5 “plays” from Brandon’s hit points before you roll the 20 sided dice again.

Inge is barely adequate as a fielder, beyond abysmal as a hitter, and a terrible base runner.

There is absolutley no comparison to be made between Cabrera and Inge. None.

Moving Inge to left in nonsensical. Just as at 3rd base, he still can’t hit! Except that in left he is utterly untested. And moving to left still leaves this pinhead and his tee-ball base running skills on the basebath, providing he actually GETS on base once in a while. Striking out at a .300 clip does not put him on base often…

Mr. “They are pitching me like Babe Ruth” Inge has given this franchise enough rope to hang a battalion, and finally he has managed hang himself.

Ryan S December 7, 2007 at 2:45 pm

ez: in billfer’s defense, I think he was referring to Inge’s fielding gaffes (ie. his penchant for blowing an easy ground ball from time to time). Those gaffes are accounted for in the PMR stats of the original post.

David: I’m sticking with PMR as a fielding measure, since that’s how Billfer framed the original question. In that measure, Cabrera came out about average for 2006. It would be interesting to compile all the various fielding measures for these two and see how it comes out for Cabrera in ’06 vs ’07.

Lastly, I think ez’s point is one that gets argued here quite often: Brandon Inge’s baseball IQ. Unfortunately we don’t have a fancy metric for that, hence the passionate debate on both sides. IMHO, while being a defensive whiz, I think Inge really is a baseball dunce. The laundry list of bonehead-plays ez brings up, along with his refusal to alter his approach at the plate says it all to me. It’s the number one reason I don’t want to see him moved to either SS or Catcher – two mentally as well as physically demanding positions (and two ideas that have been floated around here in the past).

Dave December 7, 2007 at 2:55 pm

Ha! D&D. What a marvelously fresh and insightful metaphor!

D_town_fan_in_chi_town December 7, 2007 at 3:05 pm

I’m not so sure I would be comfortable platooning my newly acquired star, if I was JL. I can’t really think of any superstars that play more than one position on a daily basis.

I am, however, in the camp that we should keep Inge as a late inning defensive sub or as the super sub and hopefully he can relearn playing catcher. His numbers at C would be average to kind of bad for a catcher, as opposed to abysmal at 3rd. And he does have a cannon.

Personally I think you ask Cabrerra what position he wants to play. If he says third, he plays third, he says first, you play him at first, if he says LF, LF it is. The most important thing is that he resigns with us and that he is happy playing in the D.

greg December 7, 2007 at 3:05 pm

quote:

Dungeon’s and Dragon’s Sabermetrics….

unquote.

I don’t think such ‘ad hominem’ tactics are appropriate. I respect Billfer’s work and he always presents a logical/rational case for his opinions.

quote:

Moving Inge to left in nonsensical.

unquote.

Rubbish, Bilfer has already made a good case to move him to LF. Whether that’s the best option, I dunno.

Again, I’d like to find what Leyland or DD has said(not 3rd hand source of info, but direct quote), as that’s the most important thing.

Come on guys. Let’s not forget, this is a great ‘problem’ to have!

We got Cabrera! WooHoo!

ez December 7, 2007 at 3:22 pm

Greg,

There was no ad hominem used in my metaphor. My disdain is with Sabermetrics, not with Bilfer. In the past I have many times complimented Bilfer on his site, his work, and his conclusions. I do so again. There are times I agree with him and other times I don’t. Obviously, he and I share opposing views on sabermetrics.

In no way did I attack Bilfer’s personality or character. My point, tinged with a healthy dose of sarcasm, is against sabermetrics. Not the man.

Bilfer made a case for moving Inge to left. Whether it is a good case or not is the question. You think it is a good case. Clearly, I disagree that it is a good case.

Indeed, it is a heady “problem” to have. More so for I than most. As I am an admited Inge hater, and see this trade as pure genius.

Dave Dombrowski- The Anti-Millen.

Mike R December 7, 2007 at 3:24 pm

Bilfer, really? All of Inge’s gaffs are accounted for in your Dungeon’s and Dragon’s Sabermetrics? How about Inge bunting into the UNHEARD of 2-5-3 double play? How about Inge getting doubled off second base on a 400 foot flyout because the moron didn’t know how many outs there were? How about Inge getting picked off 3rd on a throw from catcher to pitcher? How about Inge touching 3rd for a force out when there is no force out? Guaranteed Miggy does none of those things this year. Take away 5 “plays” from Brandon’s hit points before you roll the 20 sided dice again.

Inge is barely adequate as a fielder, beyond abysmal as a hitter, and a terrible base runner.

There is absolutley no comparison to be made between Cabrera and Inge. None.

Moving Inge to left in nonsensical. Just as at 3rd base, he still can’t hit! Except that in left he is utterly untested. And moving to left still leaves this pinhead and his tee-ball base running skills on the basebath, providing he actually GETS on base once in a while. Striking out at a .300 clip does not put him on base often…

Mr. “They are pitching me like Babe Ruth” Inge has given this franchise enough rope to hang a battalion, and finally he has managed hang himself.

If I recall correctly, this is the bunt that ended the rally in game one of the final series against the Indians this year. If so, the blame falls on Jim Leyland for even putting the bunt sign on in that situation when Paul Byrd was 1 more hit away from getting yanked and extending our lead from 5-1 to 6-1. And then he went on to compound that mistake by using Zumaya in the 8th inning when there was no closer and leaving a Jason Grilli who had been lights out for the month in the bullpen despite the fact that Miner had been used in a couple of days in a row and Zumaya was working on 3 or 4 days straight.

That said, as a sabermetric follower, i’m with billfer on this one and what is ‘best’ for the club. It won’t happen, but neither will the lineup that produces 5.9 runs that has Sheffield leading off and Polanco hitting 3rd. I don’t think this post was to assert that the Tigers will be 100% wrong and doomed for going with Miggy at 3rd over Inge, but to re-enforce how elite of a fielder Inge is and that with his poor bat, the new high power offense, and his glove, we could probably carry Inge in the lineup simply for his defense.

Will it happen? No. Should it happen? Eh, that’s up for debate.

Mike R December 7, 2007 at 3:33 pm

Oh, and calling Inge ‘barely adequate’ in the field is an absolute joke. Every single defensive metric I’ve seent he last 2+ years has him top 5 or top 3 in the league and normally it’s head and shoulders above the rest of the top ten which are solid but not near the top fielders level.

For instance: The Fielding Bible has Inge as a +61 in the field from 05-07, which is 2nd behind Pedro Feliz’s +64. He’s 11 ahead of a heralded fielder in Scott Rolen, who is a distant 3rd at a +50. No one else in the league is above +45 over that same time span.

And PMR rates Inge highly as do numerous other defensive metrics. And those “5 bad plays” that was listed are just the 5 that stick out in some Tigers fans minds. How quickly they forget the countless balls he gets to that are to his left that saved a single because Carlos Guillen couldn’t get over there with a Rascal Scooter and an hour’s worth of time. And the touching 3rd when there is no force out didn’t cost a run. The getting doubled off 2nd base in a stupid mental mistake didn’t honestly cost a run. Wouldn’t he have been at 3rd with 2 out in that situation? If that’s the case, the run expectancy for runner on 3rd, 2 out is 0.466.

The fact that those are the examples that people come up with as an argument against his defense means he’s doing nearly everything right. If he weren’t, we’d have countless errant throws we’d point to, rather the 5 miniscule plays, one of which orignated from a manager.

billfer December 7, 2007 at 4:02 pm

EZ – before you rail against well reasoned arguments, at least read the argument thoroughly enough so that you know what you’re against.

While this will cause great consternation among many, I’d advocate for keeping Inge and having him play 3rd base, putting Cabrera in left field, moving Thames and making Jacque Jones the 4th outfielder. If the Tigers can get a decent return for Inge, like prospects or a solid bullpen arm it does probably make sense to move him. But I can’t see moving him just to clear a spot or payroll. The team is far from boxed in at that point, and if Inge absolutely flounders offensively they can shift things around.

Where did I ever say that Inge should play left field?

Ryan – excellent point about looking at a few years of data. I’ll do that and write up an ammendment. It’s something I should have done the first time so thanks for calling me on it.

And for those that rail against sabremetrics, I just don’t get it. Sincerely. I don’t get it. I don’t know why you’d be against gaining a better understanding of the game of baseball.

billfer December 7, 2007 at 4:05 pm

And if I wasn’t clear, I didn’t say I expected a bounce back from Inge. I said it was a possibility and even then I didn’t expect him to be great. The numbers I used were Bill James projections which project Inge worse offensively than last year.

Rings December 7, 2007 at 4:12 pm

To correct an earlier assertion, David: I didn’t say defense was not important. I said third base defense is less important that most other positions (trailing primarily first base).

We’ve all seen the fielding measurements that trumpet Inge’s worth, however, as Ryan S so elequently states, our concern is that Inge is a “baseball dunce.” The continuing string of fundamental errors, whether in the field, on base or at the plate are not always quantified by a statistic. Many of them are boners that you’d have trouble finding in a season of Little League games.

That being said, this whole “defense” debate is moot.
Nobody cares, except Inge-lovers begging for any excuse to keep their favorite guy. Good glove/no hit guys are commonplace and there’s no one else in MLB raving about their third baseman’s “range factor.”

Third baseman normally make about 15-20 E’s per year.

Inge’s past three years are: 23, 22, & 18
Cabrera’s past two: 17 & 23 (at 3B)

Whatever.

Miggy’s not as good as Inge with the leather. So what. He also won’t have 150 K’s, hit <.240, leave 200+ men on base, fail time after time to put a ball in play and advance a runner, etc.
Cabrera’s going to make the entire team better, as players hitting ahead of him will get better pitches and players hitting behind him will have more opportunities. He is on a Hall of Fame pace and will likely only get better over the next five years. Even if his defense is below average, so is/was Jeter’s, A-Rod’s, Big Papi, Big Hurt, Giambi, Tejada, Piazza, Vaughn, Bonds (since steriods), etc. So what. These guys are winning MVP’s and Championships in most cases and nobody gives a flyin’ fart if their defense is “below average.”

There’s not a GM or team in baseball that wouldn’t take 24-yr old Miguel Cabrera over 30-yr old Brandon Inge at third base. Brandon can hang around as a utility guy – that’s fine if the Tigers want to pay him to do it – but he is not, and should not be, a starter.

This wouldn’t even be a discussion if so many people weren’t completely unreasonable in their affection for Brandon Inge, who would be home selling insurance by now if he hadn’t come up with a Detroit squad that was desperately short of talent and hope. As it is, he should thank his lucky stars that he managed to hang around long enough to cash in and get a payday.

One Nut Kruk December 7, 2007 at 4:12 pm

Wow, we have a lot of misguided Inge lovers on our hands. You guys must only watch plays of the week or something. Sure he comes up with a few brilliant plays here and there but those don’t make up for the amount of bone headed plays (offensively and defensively) he makes. To hear the word’s “defensive whiz”, “superb defense” and “gold glove defense” makes me sick. The guy butchers the ball at crucial times, makes critical mental mistakes on the basebaths as well as in simple situations such as advancing a runner, and quite frankly can’t hit worth a damn. But oh, our lovable loser is great with the media. Yeah, let’s move one of the best players in baseball to another position in order to keep someone on the starting roster who’s best attribute is a friggin post game interview…..puh-lease!!!

Rings December 7, 2007 at 4:14 pm

…and Bilfer, I value and appreciate your work and the sabermatricians. I think it all contributes to a better understanding and appreciation of the game! Thanks for your great work on this site!!

Stephen December 7, 2007 at 5:04 pm

Whatever you feel on this subject; ‘Dungeon’s and Dragon’s Sabermetrics is restaurant quality comedy.

ez, i’m tempted to send you my mike heath autographed batting glove as praise. Seriously, we are, mostly, grown men spending hours debating who is a better 3rd basemen on a baseball team. There is an element of D&D going on here. And I am a proud practicioner! And I appreciate Bilfer’s fine work.
One other thing: Trade Maybin!

David December 7, 2007 at 5:12 pm

Fine knock him offensively… I agree sometimes he is downright terrible but there have been months where he has gotten hot.

If he could become consistent and hit the ball where it was pitched like he did earlier we wouldn’t be having this convo

“Wow, we have a lot of misguided Inge lovers on our hands. You guys must only watch plays of the week or something. Sure he comes up with a few brilliant plays here and there but those don’t make up for the amount of bone headed plays (offensively and defensively) he makes. To hear the word’s “defensive whiz”, “superb defense” and “gold glove defense” makes me sick.”

All Time Single Season Assists Leaders Among Third Basemen

1. Graig Nettles: 412 (Cleveland Indians, 1971)
2. Graig Nettles: 410 (New York Yankees, 1973)
3. Brooks Robinson: 410 (Baltimore Orioles, 1974)
4. Brooks Robinson: 405 (Baltimore Orioles, 1967)
5. Harlond Clift: 405 (St. Louis Browns, 1937)
6. Mike Schmidt: 404 (Philadelphia Phillies, 1974)
7. Doug DeCinces: 399 (California Angels, 1982)
8. Brandon Inge: 398 (Detroit Tigers, 2006)
9. Clete Boyer: 396 (New York Yankees, 1962)
10. Mike Schmidt: 396 (Philadelphia Phillies, 1977)
11. Buddy Bell: 396 (Texas Rangers, 1982)

Sounds like we have alot of misguided Tigers followers

8th ALL TIME?! That isn’t good? That isn’t Gold Glove worthy?!

Really though it all is moot if you heard Dombrowski today on 97.1 The Ticket – which should make most of you happy.

He said that he talked with Brandon and he does not want to be a super-sub, he loves Detroit and wanted to finish out his carrer here but, at age 30 he wants to be a starting thirdbasemen

He never talked about moving Cabrera or Jones.

He said he will “try to help Brandon out with his wish”

I’m hoping things will change but oh well.

Hopefully he is still around by the Tiger Fest, last time I went I got Polanco and Ordonez’s autos, maybe I can get his.

David December 7, 2007 at 5:14 pm

LOL Stephen as long as they keep Porcello I’m happy

Rings December 7, 2007 at 5:23 pm

“8th ALL TIME?! That isn’t good? That isn’t Gold Glove worthy?!”

Apparently not. He’s never won one.

And no one cared that any of those guys set an assist record. Some of them were good players, but it’s because they could field AND hit (at least relative to their league).

Yes, “If he could become consistent and hit the ball where it was pitched…” But he’s never done it for more than a month or so at a time. Same every year as his “hot” streak gives hope, only to fall back in disappointment.
If, if, IF Inge could hit…then he could hit, but he can’t.

Thanks for hanging in there, David. I know we all get fired up on these subjects because we’re all passionate Tiger baseball fans. I respect that he’s your guy, but we obviously disagree that his value even close to enough to warrant him more opportunity than he’s already received and it would be disadvantageous to the team for him to maintain his starting role, given our current talent level.

ez December 7, 2007 at 5:33 pm

Mike, yep it’s Leyland’s fault that Inge didn’t execute a bunt. And it’s the weather’s fault because if the wind had been blowing as it should have the ball would have rolled foul. And it is the umpire’s fault because he should have called catcher’s interference. And it is MLB’s fault because bunts should be illigal… So many faults and none of them ever Brandon’s! -Please read the sarcasm here, I am not actually suggesting bunting should be illegal. Thought I would mention that before anyone blows a capillary….

To make your argument based on whether runs did or didn’t score is ridiculous. Let’s look at the actual play by the actual player. Those plays are sickening, embarrassing, laughable, you name it. Saying they are acceptable just becuase the plays managed to not cost us anything this time is to accept the unacceptable. You may want to play Inge Russian Rollette, but I don’t and the Tigers don’t either apparently.

The fact that you can numerate 5 plays by one player over 90 days is amazing. These plays are uncommon for a pee wee player, let alone a seasoned veteran. You will find one player in a 1,000 to make just ONE of these plays in a career. Inge made 5 of them in one season. Don’t get me started on the runner interference in the World Series….

Unlike you I am not looking to apologize for Inge and blame his idiocy on a Hall Of Fame manager or on anyone else. Your apologizing for Inge looks just silly.

You and I can disagree about his defensive value. Ok, but even if I thought he was top 3 in the league it would not apologize his offense away. You may remember all of his highlight plays while I remember his endless “bonehead” plays and his leading the league at his position in errors (again). You say I/we tend to forget his “countless” great plays… Well, have you forgotten about 150k’s (.300+ k average) and horrible average and power numbers?

Is this your definition of “doing everything nearly right”?

ez December 7, 2007 at 5:54 pm

Bilfer,

Sabermetrics is a handy tool, but I detest it being treated as gospell. This gospel quickly turns into dogma and nonsense ensues.

Such as the optimized line-up having Sheffield leading off and Polanco batting 3rd. I know you don’t advocate this particular nonsense, but my point is this shows the folly of fornicating with a calculator.

Sabermetrics is only a tool and should be used as such. When it becomes a crutch to advocate lunacy, like saying Cabrera is only a slight improvement over Inge, is when sabermetrics breaks down.

More than Dungeon’s and Dragon’s, over masaged sabermetrics is like Strat-O-Matic. If, like Strat-O-Matic, the game were played with rolls of the dice then you would have Sheffield leading off and Polanco batting third. The maths tells us it is so.

Yet, there is a human factor to the game that sabermetrics won’t ever replace. Sabermetrics can tell us tendencies and help in determination, but ultimately you still need baseball men like Jim Leyland making the calls.

Sabermetricians scream bloody murder about era, rbi’s, and errors (among other stats), and then tout their math as superior….

Yet, I don’t think we will see Gary Sheffield batting leadoff, regardless of what our Little Professor Calculator tell us.

I am not saying we should be making line-ups via a ouji board (“Bob the Ghost said bat Sheffield first”), I am simply saying there are at times an over-reliance on these metrics. Case in point: most of the apologizing going on for Inge.

Eric Cioe December 7, 2007 at 6:01 pm

EZ – as far as the foolishness of Sheff leading off and Polanco batting third goes, it certainly would be unorthodox and would hurt some egos. That said, I can name at least three guys on the team right now that ought to be taken down a rung with their ego anyway.

I don’t understand why it’s a foolish idea, if all it’s doing is maximizing the potential of the lineup. No, it isn’t how things have been done for the past hundred years, but baseball is full of stagnant thinking (see Pudge’s Gold Glove this year) and fresh ideas will only hurt egos.

ez December 7, 2007 at 6:01 pm

Stephan,

I love Mike Heath.

Don’t suppose you would take my treasured Scott Mitchell jersey for a weekend swap?

Ohhh. Ouch. Admitting to “my treasured Scott Mitchell jersey” just cost me what little credibility I have here…

billfer December 7, 2007 at 6:56 pm

Sabermetrics is a handy tool, but I detest it being treated as gospell. This gospel quickly turns into dogma and nonsense ensues.

Such as the optimized line-up having Sheffield leading off and Polanco batting 3rd. I know you don’t advocate this particular nonsense, but my point is this shows the folly of fornicating with a calculator.

Who’s to say it’s lunacy? Who’s to say that isn’t a better way to do it? Has it ever been tried before, if you don’t like the model and are so sure it would fail there must be some empirical evidence right? Just because something has been done one way for 100 years doesn’t make it right.

And who says it’s gospel in the first place? The purpose of sabremetrics is to try and gain a better understanding of the game, to find out what works and what doesn’t work. To better evaluate talent and to challenge predisposed notions.

Sabermetrics is only a tool and should be used as such. When it becomes a crutch to advocate lunacy, like saying Cabrera is only a slight improvement over Inge, is when sabermetrics breaks down.

Where was this lunacy advocated? I said the difference wasn’t as great as it would first appear. Again – please read the freakin post before you criticize it. Is that too much to ask?

Yet, there is a human factor to the game that sabermetrics won’t ever replace. Sabermetrics can tell us tendencies and help in determination, but ultimately you still need baseball men like Jim Leyland making the calls.

I’d never advocate sabremetrics replacing the human factor of even accounting for it.

Jim Leyland’s strengths don’t lie in being a “baseball man” but in being a great leader, communicator, and motivator

Sabermetricians scream bloody murder about era, rbi’s, and errors (among other stats), and then tout their math as superior….

That’s because they are superior! That you fail to recognize this means we’ll never get anywhere in this conversation because you’re too close minded to realize there have been some innovations and developments over the 100 year history of the game.

Yet, I don’t think we will see Gary Sheffield batting leadoff, regardless of what our Little Professor Calculator tell us.

And this has nothing to do with sabremetrics. It has to do with job security and because it is out of the conventional wisdom no manager would ever risk doing it. Especially since even if it was tried there would be no recognition of sample size and it would likely be abandoned after the first time the lineup didn’t produce.

I’m not saying that even I’d deploy that lineup because it is so unconventional and there are things it doesn’t take into consideration, but it doesn’t mean it’s a bad lineup based on the offensive characteristics of the players. Of course there are a myriad of other considerations like speed, and lefty-righty balance that the model doesn’t account for. That is the opportunity to blend practical knowledge with sabremetrics.

I am not saying we should be making line-ups via a ouji board (”Bob the Ghost said bat Sheffield first”), I am simply saying there are at times an over-reliance on these metrics. Case in point: most of the apologizing going on for Inge.

Yes, because clearly biased subjective judgements are a better way to go. Inge is an excellent defender. You can see it by watching and the statistics validate that.

I find it hilarious that you decry new metrics, yet made up your own through out the season with the express purpose of disparaging a player. At least sabremetricians are a little more unbiased when they are coming up with their new fangled math.

BobS. December 7, 2007 at 7:29 pm

The Cabrera trade’s paying unforseen dividends.This is one of the best,most spirited threads I’ve seen here in quite a while.This blog attracts some extremely erudite fans.
While there are many downsides to aging,one of the benefits is being a witness to history.That includes seeing Brooks Robinson,Mike Schmidt,Craig Nettles,and Buddy Bell(as well as Scott Rolen) play many games in real time,both from stadium seats and on television.Brandon Inge is not in their company.
By the way,Aurelio Rodriguez was also a better defensive third baseman than Inge,although his equal as a batter.

David December 7, 2007 at 7:31 pm

Leyland a baseball man?

How often does he hit and run?

How many times did he not pinch-hit in the late innings?

How often did he stick with Rodney and Jones blowups

” Yet, there is a human factor to the game that sabermetrics won’t ever replace. Sabermetrics can tell us tendencies and help in determination, but ultimately you still need baseball men like Jim Leyland making the calls.”

“I’d never advocate sabremetrics replacing the human factor of even accounting for it.

Jim Leyland’s strengths don’t lie in being a “baseball man” but in being a great leader, communicator, and motivator”

Yup pretty much is a sum of it… He could use some of Mike Scioscia ‘s managerial skills.

In any event all this arguing is moot

We do not decide if we keep Inge, where we play Cabrera or what the tickets cost.

one nut kruk December 7, 2007 at 8:12 pm

Now this guy is questioning Jim Leyland’s managing skills? Yet he’s scratching and clawing with every ounce of his soul to make everyone think Brandon Inge is a gold glove defensive whiz and it would be blasphemy if he was traded? What a joke.

Sabermetrics drive me nuts. You get all these guys punching numbers instead of observing the game. Sure, some of it is useful but to say that managers won’t go with a lineup with Sheffield batting 1st and Polly 3rd because it’s unconventional and risky is a joke as well. They do it because they know a hell of a lot more about the game than us. Don’t give me this empirical evidence junk either….if it was so profound, somebody would have had the balls to try it by now.

Give me all the fielding stats, etc but I know when I watch a game what I see. I don’t care if Inge makes 3 highlight reel stabs in the 3rd and 5th innings of a 7-1 lead over Kansas City because the next game, he’ll muff one against the Yankees in the 8th or 9th inning of a close game. Does sabermetrics track that?

Dave December 7, 2007 at 8:36 pm

Somebody needs to post a Grandpa Simpson picture right about now.

BobS. December 7, 2007 at 8:43 pm

Generally speaking,David frequently leaves me with the impression that he and I are watching different players and games.However,while I hope that asking “Leyland a baseball man?” is just a rhetorical device,I do find myself in some agreement with his questioning some of Leyland’s managerial decisions.Remember,it was Leyland who decided to bat Ivan Rodriguez(who may someday be the first ballplayer to defy the laws of mathematics and have a lower OBP than batting average)leadoff.

billfer December 7, 2007 at 8:51 pm

Now this guy is questioning Jim Leyland’s managing skills? Yet he’s scratching and clawing with every ounce of his soul to make everyone think Brandon Inge is a gold glove defensive whiz and it would be blasphemy if he was traded? What a joke.

I’m assuming that by “this guy” you’re talking about me. I don’t have to scratch and claw with every ounce of my soul on Inge’s defense. He’s an excellent defender – end of story.

Sabermetrics drive me nuts. You get all these guys punching numbers instead of observing the game.

This is wholly inaccurate. People who like stats like watching the game as well. We just like being more informed. Some stat people have even been known to go to games and cheer for their teams and drink beer and eat hot dogs like good old fashioned fans

Sure, some of it is useful but to say that managers won’t go with a lineup with Sheffield batting 1st and Polly 3rd because it’s unconventional and risky is a joke as well. They do it because they know a hell of a lot more about the game than us. Don’t give me this empirical evidence junk either….if it was so profound, somebody would have had the balls to try it by now.

Managers make bad strategic decisions all the time despite knowing so much about the game. Jim Leyland stuck with Brandon Inge for 2 whole years, and yet according to many Inge is the worst player ever. Why would somebody so enlightened do such a thing? Either Inge must have actually been decent or managers must make mistakes. Which is it?

Give me all the fielding stats, etc but I know when I watch a game what I see. I don’t care if Inge makes 3 highlight reel stabs in the 3rd and 5th innings of a 7-1 lead over Kansas City because the next game, he’ll muff one against the Yankees in the 8th or 9th inning of a close game. Does sabermetrics track that?

It’s something that could certainly be tracked. I don’t think anyone is measuring clutch fielding right now, but it’s an interesting thought.

As for your observational prowess, are all these observations done actually at the game? You know where you can see Inge’s positioning, reaction, and angle to the ball? Or are you just looking at the position Inge ends up in when he the camera flashes to him? This isn’t an Inge specific argument, but judging fielding on television is next to impossible because you dont see the fielders when the ball comes off the bat. Are players making diving plays because they are great athletes or because it took them a while to react to the ball?

Kathy December 7, 2007 at 9:39 pm

Maybe those checked swings got to him too just like the rest of us.

Scott December 7, 2007 at 10:48 pm
David December 8, 2007 at 12:12 am

Bob we disagree?

On what besides Inge? It wasn’t me you were talking about with Granderson but, I do think he is a very good player who should not be demoted

Oh and BTW last year Inge did hit .296 with RISP

and One Nut Kruk you sound like the real Kruk

If you actually WATCHED the Tigers last year you would have seen Leyland muff decisions on a weekly and sometimes daily basis.

2 other biggies – leaving Shef and Bondo in while hurting

Personally, I do like Leyland but he is by no means the best “baseball man”.

AND I WILL SAY IT AGAIN IT DOES NOT MATTER – DD ALREADY INFORMED INGE OF BEING A SUPERSUB AND BRANDON SAID HE WANTS TO PLAY 3RD EVERY DAY SO HE IS BEING ACTIVELY MARKETED TO OTHER TEAMS (most on the west coast who are in need of a thirdbaseman)

1 Major reason why I like guys like Inge and Maroth and Granderson is because they are good people and they came up through our system and were here when I would venture to guess not as many of you were.

I have followed the Tigers my whole life and I happen to like quite a few of the guys we drafted and came up through our system.

When Pudge goes into the HOF what will be on his plaque? not an old English D.

How about Shef? (if he makes it)

How about Maggs? (if he makes it)

These guys are our guys, they are what little is left from when we weren’t very good.

I stood in the stands when there weren’t many cheering.

In any event these are good guys who have struggeled.

I’m glad a guy like Pena is doing well.

I’m glad DY is doing well.

I hope Bonderman can be what he wants to be.

Even though I didn’t like Higgi too much I feel bad that he missed out on 2006.

Maybe I’m not like you guys, I just am not sure I want to be known as the Yankees in the way we are starting to look.

Polanco – trade
Cabrera – trade
Guillen – trade (my 2nd favorite player after Inge)
Ordonez – FA signing
Sheffield – trade
Pudge – FA signing
Jones – trade

Maybe it is just that I’ve grown up where most of the Tigers minor leaguers were major leaguers and have problem with change

I’m not sure if this is how they did it in the 60s or 70s or 80s, but now even though I’ll root for the team it seems very artificial

Jason December 8, 2007 at 12:30 am

David,

I saw three games during the 119-loss season. In one of them, Brandon Webb shut out the Tigers 7-0. The Tigers totaled 23 ground ball outs in that game.

Jeremy Bonderman gave up three unearned runs because of a flare into shallow left-center. “Home-grown” Ramon Santiago and “home-grown” Andres Torres collided & the ball hit Santiago’s butt for a two-base error.

I want to see winning players and winning baseball in Comerica Park, no matter how they come here. I, too, long for the days of walk-up ticket buys before any game and sneaking into the Tiger Den for the last three innings – but I like pennants more.

Jason December 8, 2007 at 12:34 am

As for where to play Cabrera… I agree that Raburn’s emergence makes Inge superfluous. Let’s spin Inge for reliable middle relief so we don’t get 60 games of Grilli next year.

Carlos Guillen at 3B/Cabrera at 1B intrigues me, for some reason. I wonder if that alignment will gain any traction.

ron December 8, 2007 at 1:44 am

It’s 1:00 A.M. on a Friday nite and Anthony can’t chime in. I’m sure he’s becoming un -Inged by this discussion and would have a lot to say if he wasn’t suspended. David, I’m with you. We are becoming the Yankees. We are attempting to buy a World Series here. It’s easier to go to the store and buy a juicy tomato than to grow a plant in your own back yard. But man, the back yard variety is so much sweeter.

one nut kruk December 8, 2007 at 3:04 am

Nothing more annoying than people who brag that “they were there” during the tough times. Good for you bud but so was I. You’re no more special than all the rest of us die hards.

And I never said Leyland was the “best baseball man”. Just have to laugh at an arm chair manager questioning a key component in the Tiger revival. I ACTUALLY DID watch them play last year, probably 90% of their games…..I know he messed up some decisions but so does every manager. The life of a manager……something goes right, you’re a hero. Something goes wrong, you’re the goat. I don’t know, maybe you only focus in on the Tigers and are blind to the fact that no manager is perfect.

If you don’t like it that we have an ownership/management group that is willing to do what it takes to compete with the big boys, I suggest you switch allegiances to the Kansas City Royals or Minnesota Twins or something. Sorry but I’d rather bring in the best players available as opposed to letting guys like Kody Kirkland, Brent Clevlen and Tony Giarratano battle for starting spots.

David December 8, 2007 at 3:24 am

I was there durring the tough times. I am more special than you….

If you read what I said he didn’t do much.

He left in injuried guys, he left in guys who were struggling, he refused to pinch hit late in games, pinch run late in games

Some of the stuff was very very basic

He is a good leader, he might have even changed the culture, but he is not a great manager

It takes trading away most of our farm and our other major leaguers to compete with the big boys???

Explain the Oakland As? of a few years ago

Explain the Twins? of a few years ago

Explain the Indians of this last year

Explain the Rockies

Explain the Phillies

I’m not saying I hate winning or hate going out and getting guys, I’m just saying that I’m not used to it

And saying Kody Kirkland, Clevlen and Giarratano battle it out for spots is not something I ever said and is far from the truth

Walt December 8, 2007 at 8:34 am

Besides, Kirkland was acquired in a trade. ;)

Mark L December 8, 2007 at 8:56 am

Dude, what are you smoking? What’s wrong with acquiring talent through trades? Smart trades, and sometimes lucky ones, separate good GMs from poor ones. Guillen and Polanco for example. I sure won’t ever regret those trades. JJones is acquiring the type of player we need (LH outfielder) for one we don’t (utility IF).
If you want to hold to the high standard of “home-grown talent” then you’d better get used to the idea of losing. This is not the 60s or 70s anymore. It’s all changed and some of it is for the better.
Current Tigers management has shown a commitment to a strong farm system. But sometimes the farm fails in producing major league competitive talent at certain positions, so you have to be willing to spend on a few free agents and use what you have an abundance of (right now, pitching and center field) to trade for what you don’t have (an MVP candidate hitter and a major-league-ready, dependable starter). That’s what they’re doing.
You can keep your 2003 guys and all their losses, but I don’t want to witness an ugly spectacle like that. No, I did not follow the team closely then. I was too busy to follow a team (the management, not the players) that didn’t seem committed to putting a competitive team out on the field. Now they are committed and it is fun to watch. I’m even busier now, but I can’t tear myself away from this exciting team with so much potential.
You can apply a lesson from youth sports. Winning isn’t everything. Having fun is more important. But it’s no fun to lose all the time, and it’s no fun for the losers OR the winners (if they are true sportsmen) when the losers don’t put forth their best effort.
To be clear, the guys on the 2003 team generally tried hard, but most of them were not up to major league level (or at least weren’t yet). The team management failed by not having anyone better to put out there.

Mark L December 8, 2007 at 9:03 am

One thing that reassures me about all this Inge debate is the thought that maybe major league GMs feel the same way about him. Some won’t touch him with a ten-foot pole, so we don’t have to waste our time talking with them or any ridiculous offers from them.
All we need are for a couple GMs who share the high opinion of Inge that some of you have, who want an athlete at third base who can make a lot of difficult plays, although botching some easier ones, and hit LH pitching pretty well, and won’t mind his salary. If we can play them off each other for a good offer of relief pitching, and/or a backup catcher or even a solid prospect or two to replenish the farm system I will be happy.
Just another reason I wish we were in the NL. Inge could fit in well on an NL team as pinch-hitter against LH pitching, (and keep Casey to hit against RH) and defensive sub. And the NL play is more interesting without the DH, Leyland has more experience with it, and it is definitely the weaker league right now. And Willis could continue to swing the bat.

Rings December 8, 2007 at 11:15 am

I agree with David’s sentiments, but as stated above, the game does not allow you to hold players forever anymore. The reserve clause is vorbei.
And most people, if they’re passionate enough to be on this board, are long-time Tiger fans. We were there in ’03 too. And in ’74, ’89, etc.
Babe Ruth wasn’t a “home-grown” Yankee, either, but that’s where he’s known.
As for HOF plaques, Pudge would be a Ranger and Sheffield would go as a travel agent, but a few other guys – in the unlikely event they ever made it – would likely be Tigers, even if they weren’t “home grown”: Guillen, Polly, Maggs(?), Cabrera (if he stays for a long time and wins), etc.
All the other playoff teams mentioned (Oak, Min, Phi, etc.) had talent from within and without the organization.
And if you’re going to criticize our manager for “doing nothing” as a manager, how can we use the next breath to criticize the GM for “doing too much”?
The game is played to WIN and our owner, manager, GM and players are all doing everything they can to make that happen.

Mike December 8, 2007 at 11:32 am

In all of these lineup variations what happened to our rookie of the year.

If you are going to play Cabrera at 3rd I would start Raburn in left. The heck with Thames and Jones.

Unfortunately from what I have seen and read Raburn ranks about as high on Leyland’s holiday gift list as Shelton did.

David December 8, 2007 at 12:50 pm

For some reason Raburn’s batting stance reminds me of Ordonez.

Richard December 8, 2007 at 3:12 pm

They just need to keep Inge at 3rd. I still believe he should of been a gold glover this season. I’m not overly concerned about his bat, offense shouldn’t be a problem for the Tigers this season. So if Inge is at 3rd then Cabrera will be in left, which in my opinion makes Jones expendable. Yes, he is a left handed bat, but Cabrera hits better against righties and lefties and Jones does. I think they deal Jones and keep Thames as a bench player. He can play the outfield and 1st. Along with Rayburn they will be able to cover every position on the diamond except for behind the plate. If I’m DD I would look to deal Jones plus Willis to an NL team for starting pitching. I like Dontrelle, but he is really a NL pitcher. Last season he hit for better average than Pudge, Inge, Shef, and Thames with more Triples than everyone on the Tigers but Granderson and Guillen. With his bat being more of an asset than a liability I feel like he is much more valuable to an NL team than he is for the Tigers where he will only get 4-6 at bats. Perhaps dealing Jones and Willis to the Giants for Lincecome + Prospects to refill the farm? Or the two to the Reds for Homer Bailey. The Reds were interested in Willis and the Giants could use a left handed bat to replace Bonds in Left Field.

Mark L December 8, 2007 at 5:16 pm

How about we switch to the National League?

Seriously, there should probably be some more moves because we have to many position players who could be useful to other teams and not enough stable relief pitchers. However, those are a bit hard to find and we may not get anything. Just like a year ago when we tried to deal Thames but couldn’t get a decent offer.

No, not everyone passionate enough to post on this board was “around” in 03. A good team which is honestly passionate about winning makes the fans passionate. It is normal to follow your team more intensely when they actually have a chance to win. I don’t ever question the passion of the players or manager to win. You can disagree with Leyland’s style as he seems too slow to intervene and make changes, but of course he wants to win. But I have questioned the passion of management. For a while Ilitch seemed much more concerned about Stanley Cups than pennants, judging from where the money went. Just my take.

ez December 8, 2007 at 6:08 pm

Home Grown Dave, The Only Real Tiger Fan:

Umm… the “home grown” talent you list? Yeah, Maroth came up in the Boston system. Pena and Bonderman both came over as part of the same trade. DY was a malcontent girlfriend beating free agent.

Of your “home grown” talent, only Granderson and Inge were drafted by the Tigers. Inge was drafted out of Virginia Commonwealth. And while I would never dare suppose to be more of a fan who is so well researched (well, except for your knowledge of home grown talent), I didn’t have to look up Inge’s college on the internet.

Making an argument that you somehow care more about the Tigers because you watch them more is asinine when you don’t have the first freaking clue who you might be speaking with.

I was there in 2003, having driven the three hour trip one way from Grand Rapids to see the Tigers play 14 times. I was there for Trammell’s first win, where Shane Halter hit a 404 foot missle into the stands for the lead and then watched as Franklyn German (also part of the Bondo/Pena package) tried his best to blow the lead. I was there in 1980 when the Tigers retired the number of Al Kaline between games a of a Texas double header. When Al Oliver hit multiple home runs and smacked one off of the face of the 3rd deck, by far the longest ball I have ever seen hit. I was there in ’84 to watch game 3 of the Tigers sweep of KC when Milt Wilcox pitched a shut out gem and we won thanks to Rusty Kuntz. I watched Cecil Fielder pound long homeruns in Detroit and in Chicago in his first metoric season with Detroit. I watched Travis Fryman beat the living piss out of two Randy Johnson pitches when Seattle came to town. I had driven in for the game with a bunch of Seattle guys when I was working on Mackinac Island, a 6 hour (and 20 minute boat ride) one way commute. Without using the internet I can name you the 5 starting pitchers that came up from Lakeland in ’03. Can you? I doubt it, it is harder than you think…I have seen the Kitties play in Tampa, Minnesota, Chicago, and Detroit. I have seen the White Caps and the Mud Hens play.

Does any of this mean I am a bigger fan than you? Of course not, but it does serve to show the idiocy of your implied “I have been here longer than you” nonsense. You don’t know who you are speaking with, so don’t suppose what you know. I do not claim at all to be a “bigger” fan than anyone. But I can tell you why Milt Wilcox sits in a dark basement flicking a light on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off because of the name of Jerry Hairston. I can tell you that Jack Morris thanks Dave Bergman to this day because of Jerry Hairston. I can tell you why John Wockenfus was not on the team in ’84, yet was a huge part of the reason why we won the World Series. None of this proves my any better than anyone else, but then again I am not making idiotic statements saying “I was there during the tough times, I am more special than you”

David December 8, 2007 at 6:36 pm

Homegrown?

I only listed Inge, Granderson and Maroth and while I knew they aquried Maroth from Boston, he came up through our system

I never said DY or Pena or Bondo in that aspect – I ment they struggled with us.

Please read what I write before you go off on a tanget

As far as Inge – I knew he went to Virginia Commonwealth but was in the VBL – Valley baseball league

Another one of our houses happens to be in that area and so we would check out a few games.

AND NO I NEVER IMPLIED I WAS HERE LONGER THAN YOU

But, there are some people who are on these boards and others who are fair weather fans

That is one reason why I go to this board because although a few frequent it from time to time there are many more die-hards and passionate Tigers fans whether win or lose.

—-but then again I am not making idiotic statements saying “I was there during the tough times, I am more special than you”—–

again I did not say that, which would make you look like an idiot

MY POINT WAS – maybe you should read this very SSSLLLLOOOOOWWWLLLYY so you’ll understand

WE SEEM TO BE TURNING INTO THE YANKEES/BOSOX – by trading away our farm system for guys – especially this year and I am not used to that

Normally it was the other way around – ie trading Weaver for Bondo Pena and German

I really have no problem and going out and filling in gaps and holes but it seems we have taken it to the extreme side where the Yanks/BoSox lie

The thing I find strange is that just a few short years ago anytime I would say I followed the Tigers most people would just laugh.

Now if you say you are selling tickets to a Tigers game you have to beat them off with a stick.

I’m still a very die-hard fan I just am trying to figure out which I enjoyed rooting for more

The team who goes out and buys up players and wins or the team who brings up players and can struggle (in our case.)

EZ you went overboard and are starting to put yourself in Anthony territory.

ez December 8, 2007 at 7:23 pm

David,

How many David’s are on here?

Copy and pasted from above:

“David:

December 8th, 2007 at 3:24 am
I was there durring the tough times. I am more special than you….”

Was that not you? Then my apologies. Sounds like you though. Let me know.

But thank Bob Evan’s for copy and paste: Let’s do it again shall we?

“1 Major reason why I like guys like Inge and Maroth and Granderson is because they are good people and they came up through our system and were here when I would venture to guess not as many of you were.”

That seems an awful lot like the implication that you were here longer than others, at least to me. I grant you this could not be the case as the writing struggles to make any points.

Perhaps rather than asking me to read what you have written, you ought to attempt to make a cogent point? Your writing tends to meander and it can be difficult to try to determine what you are saying. Case in point the meandering from Inge, Maroth, Granderson to your well wishing for Pena, Bondo, and DY. You made your case more clearly in your last rebuttle. You are improving.

However, I did get your other point about the Tigers becoming the Yankees. I don’t disagree. My disagreement came from your implication that you were here longer and were here through the tough times, as if not many of us were. You disagree with this assessment? Fine, that is your perogative, but from my perspective that is exactly how it reads.

But as far as other things you stated in your latest retort, well, ‘copy and paste’ has rendered them foolish. In fact you did say those things.

And for the record I agree with you that I am an idiot. I have wasted 20 minutes replying to your gibberish. I concede the point and the debate.

Well done.

Kathy December 8, 2007 at 7:34 pm

I guess these are the “very mixed emotions” Dombrowski referred to when speaking about trading players.

Joey the K December 8, 2007 at 9:46 pm

2008 D&Detroit Tigers

Curtis Granderson – Level 7 Ranger
Placido Polanco – Level 5 Druid
Miguel Cabrera – Level 7 Barbarian
Magglio Ordonez – Level 9 Paladin
Gary Sheffield – Level 9 Assassin
Carlos Guillen – Level 8 Rogue
Edgar Renetria – Level 5 Bard
Jaque Jones – Level 4 Thief
Ivan Rodriquez – Level 6 Monk

Justin Verlander – Level 8 Wizard
Kenny Rogers – Level 7 Illusionist
Jeremy Bonderman – Level 6 Sorcerer
Dontrelle Willis – Level 5 Necromancer
Nate Robertson – Level 5 Conjurer

*Brandon Inge – Level 99 Gold Glove Thirdbaseman/Wizard with Infrared vision!

David December 9, 2007 at 12:54 am

I was there durring the tough times. I am more special than you….

IF YOU LOOKED AT THE COMMENT DIRECTLY ABOVE YOU WOULD HAVE SEEN IT WAS A SCARCASTIC REPONSE TO one nut kruk:
December 8th, 2007 at 3:04 am

Nothing more annoying than people who brag that “they were there” during the tough times. Good for you bud but so was I. You’re no more special than all the rest of us die hards.

No I’m sorry if you cannot comprehend what I say the first or second time you read it.

You overreacted, plain and simple, you look for an argument online and I don’t want to give it

I’m sorry but this is an online forum I don’t spend time proof reading what I say and editing this.

I understood my point and I thought it was at the very least semi-clear.

Obviously you had trouble, I’m sorry.

I really have better things to do than argue about Inge and what the Tigers are doing in the front office to someone who

1)fails to be able to read/comprehend -main point
2)is an Inge hater and often goes overboard ie quote that follows
3)and overly negative.

“And moving to left still leaves this pinhead and his tee-ball base running skills on the basebath, providing he actually GETS on base once in a while”

I hope for your sake you can understand that.

In any event I am done arguing with you, so if you happen to respond have fun talking to yourself…

macbengal December 9, 2007 at 4:47 am

Bilfer,
I’ve been scavanging thru the majors trying to find a deal of Inge for a reliever that would make sense, but the longer I look, there seems to be no takers. Does Inge have enough value to anyone to net a set up reliever, or is it more than likely he’ll be back in Detroit in a supersub role?
I’m starting to think nobody wants him, despite his defensive abilities. Last I checked, the Phillies, Dodgers, Brewers, Angels, Rangers, Giants, and Pirates either thought he wasn’t good enough or his 19.1 million owed over the next three years scared them away. That still leaves St.Louis, but they still have Rolen. What are your thoughts?

Walt December 9, 2007 at 10:07 am

Here’s a thought on a deal. How about Thames and Inge to the Phillies for Gordon and Burrell. The Tigs would be taking on two larger salaries. The Phils would get basically the same player back in Thames to cut Burrell’s salary. I have read that Philly likes Inge, but that he costs too much. With Lidge, I would think that Gordon may be available.

Stephen December 9, 2007 at 11:27 am

I’m guessing Inge must be in the bottom ten in batting average and oba for post dh era Tigers with 1500 career ab’s. Does anyone have the skill or database to prove or disprove my thesis.

Kurt December 9, 2007 at 1:02 pm

Walt, the point in trading Inge was to get rid of the payroll, not take on more. As much as the Tigers would like to move him for his benefit, they’re not looking to add more to payroll to do it.

I think they’ll ultimately find a trading partner, get far less in return than we’d like, and maybe take on some of his salary. I’d still prefer him to be a supersub.

Walt December 9, 2007 at 1:09 pm

Have the Tigs actually said this? I would have thought that the point of trading Inge was to get better and that he has no use on this team as he wants to start. I think that Ilitch will spend what it takes to win….. soon.

Kurt December 9, 2007 at 1:25 pm

You don’t say that you want to dump salary if you’re smart, because that just decreases value. But I think it’s pretty clear. Inge isn’t the kind of guy who pouts. He’s an upgrade over Santiago as a backup. They are better with Inge than without, regardless of what he wants.

Walt December 9, 2007 at 1:32 pm

I think that Inge has a big contract that is causing other teams to turn elswhere. If we could trade his bad contract for another bad contract and add someone of value to the team, I can see the Tigs making a deal without significantly reducing salary. I don’t want to take on extra salary just to get rid of Inge and not improve the team.

David December 9, 2007 at 2:28 pm

Yea

Also like every other guy who wants to be traded how often does that work out?

Even if he thinks he must be a starting 3rd basemen here or elsewhere we could still retain him if DD won’t get at least a decent value for him.

I do not think we will give him away, or eat up 15 mil of his contract.

The average age of our lineup will be 32.2bar even with Miggy Caberra and Jones the oldest in our team’s history.

To think that multiple players on our team won’t become injured over the course of next year seems overly positive.

Last year when we were pretty healthy lineup-wise we had only 6 starteres with over 500AB

Richard December 9, 2007 at 2:41 pm

If were going bad contract for bad contract, I wonder if Jack Wilson is still available. We could really use a back up at short and I like Wilson more than Santiago. With Wilson he would be the reserve at SS and 3B. Then you have Rayburn at 2B and the Outfield, Thames at 1B and the Outfield and Vance Wilson behind the plate. I just get the vibe though that the Tigers are much more interested in cutting Salary and getting prospects. I never saw it here, but MLB Trade Rumors had a rumor that there was a proposed trade sending Pudge and Willis to the Mets for Mike Pelfrey, Brian Schneider and 2 prospects. Which by my calculations would be a salary dump of about $15+ million.

Walt December 9, 2007 at 3:10 pm

That rumor was thin at best. Wasn’t that rumor shot down too. I think that if we do take on a bad contract as part of a deal it would have to be for bullpen help and not getting a better IF backup.

Dave December 9, 2007 at 4:10 pm

Good guess, Stephen! Among Tigers’ players with 1500 AB after 1973, Inge ranks 3rd from last in BA and 7th from last in OBA (a little ahead of Craig Monroe, Omar Infante, and crowd pleaser Deivi Cruz).

Adam December 9, 2007 at 7:11 pm

Maybe we all need to learn how to read.

What a hostile environment.

Stephen December 9, 2007 at 7:12 pm

Brandon Inge, 3rd worst batting average since 1973! I’m pretty sure this should end the ‘Keep Inge argument, yes? Although i think we’re gonna have to keep or subsidize his contract ’cause no one else is gonna want to pay him the 19m. I’ve said it before, that is an epic awful contract.

Walt December 9, 2007 at 7:31 pm

“Maybe we all need to learn how to read.

What a hostile environment.”

What?

Adam December 9, 2007 at 7:53 pm

If I really need to qualify that – every time there’s any disagreement, both parties accuse the other of not reading what they wrote, and then rewrite what they wrote in the first place, and then the other party does the same.

Of course, it’s these type of arguments that I miss – we’ve been civil here way too long. Maybe.

Dave December 9, 2007 at 8:07 pm

And the crazy thing is that I STILL would prefer him at 3rd base with the Tigers. Inge amuses me, and I like being amused.

David December 9, 2007 at 8:52 pm

Adam I’m not sure if your talking about me, but he didn’t read what I wrote or Billfer wrote it is obvious.

If not then I apologize for the aforementioned response.

David December 9, 2007 at 8:56 pm

Or she, I am not sure

it is tough to go by the name EZ

In any event alittle more Inge news to stir the pot

http://mvn.com/mlb-tigers/

It is about how I feel on the subject if you haven’t gotten it from what I’ve already posted.

Rings December 9, 2007 at 9:10 pm

Good article, David, but it once again proves the point that our boy Inge might be just a bit daft.
He’s in no position to be making demands about where he plays, etc. As others have expressed, the Tigers would surely trade him, but aren’t going to pay or get hosed to do it.
If there’s no options for him to start, in a reasonable deal, then he’s just going to have to play the role that’s assigned to him.
As David states, and I’ve long advocated, he’d be great as a utility guy. He can play every position solid except SS or 2B, and he’d be silly to not go back to catching, where his offensive numbers wouldn’t hurt him so much against his peers. He’d give himself more value – and potentially, another payday – and likely prolong his career.

Walt December 9, 2007 at 9:18 pm

Ted Williams or Babe Ruth wouldn’t catch or be a bench player. Why should Brandon? ;)

ez December 9, 2007 at 9:21 pm

David,

I had a long, sarcastic, and funny retort to your latest. But I pulled back. Let’s leave it alone.

You said you had no more to say about our debate, and I had said my last.

Let’s remember we ultimately are rooting for the same thing, though we have passionate differences.

I am sure we will mix it up again, but let’s wait for Bilfers next well researched post, deal?

ron December 9, 2007 at 9:26 pm

I want the Tigers to win a World Series (with Inge) and I want all the players we have to say that they love playing in Detroit, love the fans especially and will retire as a Tiger. Is that too much to ask for Christmas?

Adam December 9, 2007 at 10:09 pm

Um. I don’t think I have to refer to anyone. We all do it.

David December 9, 2007 at 11:51 pm

Yep deal

Go Tigers!

ron December 10, 2007 at 12:24 am

Go Tigers.

Mark L December 10, 2007 at 6:31 am

I sincerely hope a woman would not choose a name like EZ

Mark L December 10, 2007 at 6:41 am

Interesting thoughts on how this offseason has/could effect the racial makeup of our team. If DD succeeds in finding a trading partner for Inge, then that leaves most likely only Raburn and Wilson (if indeed Wilson is back) as white American position players. We’ll have a lot of Venezuelans and other Latin Americans, and a few key African-Americans in the lineup, and a mostly-white pitching staff.
I’m eager to see any ramifications of having two very likable, talented young African-American men on this team (Granderson and Willis) in a city like Detroit. Willis is one of the few African-Americans right now who are quality major league starting pitchers. It certainly couldn’t hurt our team to have more boys in Detroit take an interest in baseball. We could find a few more special arms or talented position players from among them.

ron December 10, 2007 at 8:47 pm

In general, the parks are empty of neighborhood boys playing pick up baseball games in the summer in America. Organized ball is going great, but the little guys are there at their parents behest a lot of the times. I don’t think their is a burning desire to be a baseball player in this country, no matter what your background is. A lot of kids just have too many toys and too many places to go now. The days of spending 8 hours at the park with your buddies playing ball is over. I started noticing this “empty park syndrome” in the early eighties. I believe having Willis and Granderson on the Tigers will not inspire many African-African kids to pick up a glove. As far as white kids go, how many times do you see them throwing a baseball around?

Kathy December 10, 2007 at 11:12 pm

Very keen observation, Ron. Organized ball is about the only place you’ll see kids in the US playing baseball. 20 years ago, my son played ball at the park at the end of the street and about 10 kids played on and off for several summers. In the past 10 years, I’ve seen only 1 or 2 kids down there with a bat and ball. With both parents working and the dangers of playing outside without supervision, those days are probably gone except in small towns. It saddens me in a way that I really find difficult to elaborate on. It used to be so much fun playing outside all day outside in the summer. But in today’s environment, those kids outside are probably gang members. Sad:(

ron December 11, 2007 at 1:45 pm

The Dodgers and Yankees are responsible for changing the face of baseball. The Yanks for throwing their money around and the Dodgers for providing a lot of free equiptment to young Latin players. I wonder what percentage of players in M.L.B. are foreign born?

Kathy December 11, 2007 at 3:51 pm

27.4% on Opening Day 2006. Probably more now.

ron December 12, 2007 at 1:17 am

Thanks, Kathy.

Matt December 17, 2007 at 11:32 pm

Play Miguel in left and play Inge at 3rd.
You know that your never going to get a very good average with Inge, he’ll usually hit around .250, but he usually will hit for some power. So if he returns to his 2006 form your good. I like Thames/Jones, but Inge is also a very good defensive player, and I also feel that Inge deserves it for being around for so long.
Unfortunately, Inge will probably get moved along with Durbin and/or Miner.

Chris December 29, 2007 at 11:59 pm

Maybe we could get a decent relief pitcher for Inge, that’s really all we need right now. Rotations good, offense is really good, but the bullpen is still a little shaky. Inge could be a good piece to trade for a reliever.

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