Brandon Inge, who keeps saying he just wants to play everyday, gets a chance to play and complains about it.
“Catching right there absolutely reinforces that third-base is my all-time love,” Inge said. “It’s not even a question. If it came down to it, where I was just catching, I’d have to find a way to separate it. I don’t know if I can, because I take too much pride in the catching aspect.”
“I’m a much better hitter this year than I have been in a long time,” he said. “That feeling that I got today was much more of a downer feeling. Don’t get me wrong: The actual catching part of the game [was] fun. It was awesome. But what fires me up is the offensive part. It’s very frustrating to me.
“It’s a fine line. I’m not saying that I’m frustrated about them making me catch. It’s frustrating because the way I feel offensively, and then how I feel catching offensively. It’s two completely different things. My mind’s not in it. Mentally, if you’re not into hitting, you’re not going to hit. Especially with the game plan I have now offensively, it’s tough.”
I had no problem when Inge didn’t speak to the media in the aftermath of the trade. He didn’t demand a trade, but in a conversation with Dombrowski he stated his preferences. I had no problems with those preferences. I’m sympathetic to the fact that he didn’t want to become a role player at this point in his career. I appreciate the fact that he wants to play everyday and would be disappointed if he was “ok” with a bench spot. He, like the majority of athletes, has a tremendous amount of confidence in his abilities. Again, no problem there.
I don’t begrudge him his contract and I’m not going to tell him that “he should feel fortunate” because who am I to say how someone should feel? He was lucky to be in the situation he was, playing for a really bad team that really didn’t have other catching options. Most would have been relegated to AAAA status.
I railed against those that said he got the contract based on one good year because he actually strung together 1800 at bats where he was an adequate hitter (774 OPS).
But these quotes were enough to put me over the edge. Stop talking Brandon and play.
What does this stream of consciousness even mean? I noted the other day that Inge had reached base in 7 of his first 9 at-bats but I wasn’t ready to come to the conclusion that Inge was a better hitter. And now that he posts an 0 for 2 it’s all because of catching? I’m not going to pretend to know what it’s like to catch and focus on hitting. I’m sure it is tough and it’s probably a reason why there aren’t many great offensive catchers. But the last part of his statement makes no sense. Actually none of his statements make sense.
He takes such pride in catching, but third base is his love, and the offensive part of his game is what fires him up. I’m not sure these things can all even coexist.
Inge wants to play, and yet he’s whining about an opportunity to get that playing time. He’s also giving himself an out for when he struggles. Where is all this self-confidence in his abilities now?
It’s disappointing and frustrating to me because I really think Brandon Inge would be a huge asset to this team. His versatility and experience could be valuable coming off the bench and he could afford the team considerable roster flexibility as well as insurance while picking up 300 at-bats. I’d love to have a hungry Inge who is out to prove the world wrong and show he should be playing everyday. But I don’t want a petulant Inge who is ready to concede a .200 batting average if he’s forced to put on shin guards and chest protector.
It’s clear to me now that Inge not talking to reporters this winter was the best course of action. He was only alienating a few reporters. Now he’s carving away the supporters he did have. As Ian noted (and I agree with pretty much everything he said), Inge should just look to Bobby Higginson’s fall as a fan favorite.
I guess I just don’t understand what Inge is hoping to accomplish with these statements? Is he trying to expedite a trade? It seems that might work, but that the Tigers might be less interested in trying to find him a starting gig and might just want him gone. Try being a back-up on a team with little chance for the playoffs.
At the same time he isn’t endearing himself to potential trading partners by complaining. Maybe, and I think this is a strong possibility, is that Inge didn’t really think this through. Maybe he changes his tune in a day or two. Jim Leyland though did get the message and doesn’t intend to play Inge at catcher in the near future.