Position roulette, Inge and Guillen edition

I was hoping to have a chance to run some numbers, but until I do I figured it was worth posting that Inge will play third and Guillen left field next season. I won’t completely pass judgment until I can do the math on this, but for the moment I’m thinking this doesn’t actually help much of anything except defense at third base. And why announce this news, at this point anyways? And of all players, why guarantee Brandon Inge a job going into next year (177/279/287 line since the Pudge trade!)? Odd. Very odd. Feel free to discuss.

41 Comments

  1. rings

    September 28, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    Oh, no…this topic again. Inge has done nothing to “earn” a job and I’d agree, the timing on this is very strange. It also puts us in the position of “need” at catcher as Ryan is not ready defensively and Sardinha is worse than Jim Price was and will probably never be a major league quality player.
    There’s no reason to hand out anyone’s position right now, with the exception of Cabrera, Polanco and Granderson.

  2. billfer

    September 28, 2008 at 9:01 pm

    I was actually very disappointed with Inge behind the plate. The passed balls were turning into an epidemic, and catching the ball seems to be the most basic part of the position. I’d say there was already a need at catcher. As for Ryan, I think he’s fine defensively, but worry about the sustainability of his offense. Not that he can’t do it, but his track record of success and health is pretty limited to date.

  3. Vince in MN

    September 28, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    When Leyland says “no hanky-panky”, he means no hanky-panky. Until he changes his mind anyway.

  4. Kevin in Austin (now Dallas)

    September 28, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    I was surprised to see that Guillen posted an .811 OPS this year, very serviceable for a LFer, but what the heck does Marcus Thames have to do to get a job around here? Too bad Guillen is on the books for 10, 13 and 13 through ’11.

    Also curious to know who is making these decisions? Is Leyland trying to flex some muscle to force a commitment from DD? He’s signed through ’09, but doesn’t that basically mean he’s gone?

    What I’d like for Cabrera to do is say screw this, I’m batting 4th, Maggs is batting 5th, Grandy is 3rd, Santiago is playing the left side of the infield and hitting leadoff, and Paws is managing.

  5. Sam

    September 28, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    There was absolutely no benefit for Leyland making that statement today. There is a long off season and who knows what is going to happen during the off season. Stupid, Stupid, Stupid!

    -Sam

  6. Andrew Stein

    September 28, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    I think DD has a suitor for Maggs which will push Joyce to RF. That’s the only reason I can come up with for why this was announced today.

    The trade of course won’t be announced for a month, but again I can’t think of another reason.

    Also just read that they want a LH catcher to platoon with Ryan next year. Maybe Thames or Robertson to the Mets for Schneider.

  7. Mark Goldberg

    September 28, 2008 at 10:37 pm

    Tell Brandon Inge to try hitting more than .203 before he runs his mouth any more! I’m tired of his big grins over “returning to the position he loves the most”. This guy has a guaranteed job? They couldn’t give him away last spring. Can we hit him 10th? Leave the #9 spot open; he doesn’t hit enough to hit 9th.

  8. Kyle J

    September 28, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    Agreed there was no reason to announce this now. The only explanation is that Leyland feels the need to try to deflect criticism about this year’s performance by making announcements about next season. Another sign he needs to go.

  9. Hawk

    September 28, 2008 at 11:12 pm

    I am a big Inge fan – but come on, .205 is just not going to cut it. Might as well have hessman there – at least he has power to go with the poor avg and k’s. If Guillen’s knees and back can’t take the infield, then how can they handle the jarring he is certain to get in the OF? There are no walls to run into at SS or 3B. Save $ on finding a SS and let Santiago have a crack at it. Spend some money on the bullpen – namely a closer.
    Joyce has got to make this club next year as no worse than fourth OF

  10. stephen

    September 28, 2008 at 11:27 pm

    Ah, to quote philosopher king Kramer; ‘Serenity Now! Serenity Now!’

    As for my position on Inge? Please see my last 956 posts.

  11. Chief Monday

    September 29, 2008 at 1:37 am

    Whatever the Tigers do, I’ll support it.

  12. Mike R

    September 29, 2008 at 4:41 am

    I would say that this is confusing, but I don’t want to understate how much the timing of this makes no sense.

    Let alone the fact that Brandon Inge has a guaranteed job.

  13. Deaner

    September 29, 2008 at 8:16 am

    “I’m thinking this doesn’t actually help much of anything except defense at third base” … I’m thinking the exact same thing. I love Inge, outside of Grandy, he’s my favorite Tiger, but loyalty can only go so far.

  14. jason

    September 29, 2008 at 9:03 am

    Any lineup with Inge in it is a bad idea.

  15. Eric Cioe

    September 29, 2008 at 9:42 am

    People like to talk about the Tigers already having 8 solid hitters or whatever, so that they are able to carry one glove man. I have two problems with that:

    No full time glove men around the league are literally fighting to finish the season above .200.
    If you’re going to carry a glove man, why wouldn’t it be at shortstop, where he has more opportunities to make more outs?

  16. Ryan

    September 29, 2008 at 10:27 am

    Yeahhh. What? Inge? Really? The .688 OPS guy? I’m just glad that these things never come true for more than a week.

  17. stephen

    September 29, 2008 at 10:33 am

    Hey, if today’s game goes into extra innings, Inge has an outside shot of hitting .200! Go Leyland!

  18. Angie

    September 29, 2008 at 10:39 am

    I think this move is purely designed to generate publicity and sell tickets. I highly doubt there’s a much greater market for Inge this year than there was last off season when the Tigers tried to trade him, so even in guaranteeing him a position nothing has really changed. I think the organization is trying to convince the fans (primarily people who bought season tickets for 2008 and now need serious convincing to do so again) that things will be different in 2009 because the organization intends to focus on pitching and defense. They already got rid of Hernandez and Jones, thus trying to make people believe the pitching will improve. Now they’ve moved on to the defense component. Since they still probably can’t trade Inge, and I find it hard to believe that they’ll eat his contract at this point, he’s going to be in the line-up anyway; it’s only a question of where. He can catch (just like he can field pretty any other position), but not exceptionally well. The only place his defense even goes near compensating for his offense is at third. Plus, by having Inge play third, they at least upgrade their defense and maybe convince a few people to renew their season tickets.

    As for Guillen, if this year was any indication, there’s no way he’s going to be healthy all next year even at a position that is not physically demanding. Besides, wasn’t the main issue with shortstop that he had to run too much? How is he going to be able to run all over the outfield if fifteen feet in either direction was too much last year? And Guillen’ll even have to dive on occasion too….

    Matt Joyce should view this as an early Christmas present.

  19. Brian P

    September 29, 2008 at 11:57 am

    How in the world has Inge not at least been tried at shortstop? Guillen can not be an everyday outfielder, as others have already expresses. He was performing just fine at 3rd base before he was injured.

    This is just as absurd as people suggesting before the season began that Cabrera play left field.

    Meanwhile, I wanted to be first to throw this out there. If we trade Ordonez for pitching, I think we should sign Abreu.

  20. Andrew

    September 29, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Angie, I was wondering the same thing about Guillen’s mobility and the thought behind placing him in the outfield. Strange, indeed.

  21. greg

    September 29, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    Others may prefer Guillen here or there, and that’s fine, but to say he ‘can’t’ be an everyday OF doesn’t at all make sense to me. I’ve yet to hear a legitimate reason why he can’t. He looked fine out there this year, with only the occassional snafu that all OF’s experience.

    Guillen actually shocked me this year, after 1.5 years of the worst SS play I’ve ever seen, he actually looked like, dare I say an average to above average defender at 3B at times?

    This team has so many problems, its hard to be optimistic about 2009. I agree with Henning that they’ll probably trade Maggs, well, at least I wouldn’t be surprised if they do.

  22. EZ

    September 29, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    The Tigers have no choice but to keep Inge. No club will have Inge at any price, let alone at his salary. Inge is the luckiest major leaguer in a generation. If he was on any other team but the Tiger teams of the early part of this decade he would have been out of baseball years ago. Now he is lucky to keep his job because the Tigers already have too many other bad contracts to deal with: Sheffield, Robertson, and Willis. Inge is a minor problem compared to the pitching. That statement tellls you just how bad things are in Detroit.

    The Tigers can only hope Inge turns the suck down for half a season and then trade him. That is something that won’t happen.

    Inge is going to take playing time away from Matt Joyce. That is just stupid. Joyce and Thames should be in left and Guillen at 3rd. Giving Inge a job now doesn’t get us better or develop youth.

    Has Matt Millen been seen at Como? Because this Inge situation looks like something he’d do.

  23. jim-mt

    September 29, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    Inge may be better next year without all the ambiguity about his place on the team–he and his personal hitting coach can concentrate now.

    That is a joke as he won’t take advice thinking he knows his swing better than anybody. I was really hoping he would drop below 200- but drat-he went and got HBP in the last game taking away an at-bat.

    Say now there is an idea!

  24. stephen

    September 29, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    Seriously, can a stat expert tell me if any non pitcher has hit below .205 for the same team four times in the DH era American League?

  25. greg

    September 29, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    Combining the various thoughts of a few posters here…..it would be interesting to try Inge at SS. If Guillen can continue his acceptable play at 3B, then you can platoon Thames in LF or give him a chance full time.

    I don’t care what the scouts think they see/know. The fact that Thames has the best(or close to it) HR/AB ratio in all of baseball and is a part time player is a disgusting. He deserves the chance to prove them right or wrong. Some scouts said similar things about Ryan Howard(wouldn’t make it as a full time player, holes in his swing, etc.), yet they gave him a chance and he eventually made adjustments. That turned out ok for the Phils.

    As far as Leyland’s statement about Guillen in LF holding any weight, consider the source. The man has declared Thames the everyday LF more than once, of course every time it was a load of crap as Thames went right back to the bench in short order. Leyland also said there’s no way they’d move Cabrera to first.

  26. Chris in Dallas

    September 29, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    I’m stoked about the Tigers opportunity to end the White Sox season this afternoon. I hate that team with much vim and vigor.

  27. jud

    September 29, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    this will change in oct then nov then dec then jan then feb and hopefully in march Inge with his .203 batting average will be back to super-sub…..cause he CAN’T HIT major league pitching no matter where he plays

  28. jud

    September 29, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    angie you might be right on!

  29. greg

    September 29, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    Not that he will be mistaken for Curtis Granderson as far as his mobility and range in the OF, but I don’t see mobility as a problem. He’s probably more mobile the Maggs is in RF, and much more mobile than Thames in LF. The concern I heard expressed by the Tiger brass was his knees, which take a beating at SS with runners sliding in to break up double plays(which is against the rules btw, yet rarely enforced even if they slide 2-3 yards away from the bag).

    jud – I hear ya, the problem is, while that’s a huge concern, it pales in comparison to our pitchers inability to get hitters out, until they do that, they could have 9 Miguel Cabreras and it probably wouldn’t matter. Inge would decrease the number of outs our pitchers have to get.

  30. Angie

    September 29, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Rereading my earlier post, I think I sounded like I think Guillen physically can’t play left at all. That’s not exactly true. While he’s healthy, I think Guillen can do just fine in the outfield. The problem is, as far as I’m concerned, that Guillen has had lots of little to moderate injuries throughout the past two years, coupled with chronically bad knees. I think there’s going to be largish gaps during which he isn’t in any condition to play any position, especially since he’s only getting older. Guillen is/was a good baseball player, but if we didn’t already have a traffic jam of people who could DH, I would recommend that if only to keep his bat in the line-up longer (even though he didn’t have a typical year at the plate, but again, probably caused by the injuries).

  31. Smoking Loon

    September 29, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    Curtis Granderson in September, 25 G, 114 PA:

    .200/.298/.450/.748 6 HR 14 RBI 29 K 14 BB 1 SB

    Unfortunate, is all I’m saying. Had some HRs, anyway.

    Brandon Inge in September, 22 G, 85 PA:

    .151/.238/.260/.498 1 HR 8 RBI 23 K 8 BB 3 SB

    Ouch, is all I’m saying.

  32. Smoking Loon

    September 29, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    I’m fine with Inge at 3B. If he put up his career 162-game average in 2009 – .237, 16 hr, 67 RBI, 84 OPS+ – I could live with that. His defense at 3B is worth that, I’d say.

    Guillen in LF – well, they must be hard-pressed to find a spot foir him and unable or unwilling to let go of Sheffield, or at least unable or unwilling to say so at this point. At first glance it would seem that now Marcus has got to go… but maybe not.

    Hard to put much stick in this announcement at all, really. It’s waaaaay too early. If it’s for effect, I’m not sure what the effect is supposed to be. “We’re making changes, yes sirree!” maybe?

  33. Smoking Loon

    September 29, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    Ah, game on. Good deal.

  34. Mike R

    September 29, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    Stephen: Not 100% sure why you’re asking for .205 BA’s when Inge has hit .287, .261, .253, and .236 from 04-07, but I’ll bite, I suppose.

    With at least 40 AB’s in a year, in the AL, since 1973, exactly 13 guys have hit .205 or worse.

    Inge doesn’t qualify for that list since it’s due to AB’s … He’ll have around 348 if you give him 4 in today’s make up game which wouldn’t be up there. If you make the requirements at least 340 AB’s in a season, a player has hit .205 or worse, 22 times. Rob Deer hit .179 in 448 AB’s with the Tigers in 1991. 448!

  35. stephen

    September 29, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    I asked if anyone has ever hit below .205 four times in a career for the same team in the DH era. This will be Inge’s fourth year of doing it.

  36. stephen

    September 29, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    Or how about this one?

    Has any AL batter ever played eight years and batted at or below the league’s OPS seven out of those eight years?

  37. Nate

    September 29, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    Do shortstops count? Cause Ozzie Guillen played a long time and had a career-high OPS+ of 85.

  38. Nate

    September 29, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    As for your first question, the closest I can come is Dave Kingman, who hit below .205 three times in his career, although all of those seasons were in the NL, and he only played 100 and 112 games in two of those seasons.

    My research methods are far from scientific, though.

  39. Brenden

    September 30, 2008 at 11:19 am

    Personally, I think that Sheffield, Guillen, or Inge need to be traded. Out of the bunch, Guillen probable has the most trade value for a team looking for a DH. I just dont think his back is going to hold no matter where we stick him on the field. I really don’t think that he is going to make a smooth transition to LF. Sheffield might have some value to a team that is looking for an old reliable bat. Inge, on the other hand, would just attract a new bat boy. I think that Inge going back to 3B will help his average some, but he is going to have to make some big changes to convince me that he deserves to play all the time.

  40. Chris in Dallas

    September 30, 2008 at 11:25 am

    Well there is of course the one and only Mario Mendoza.

  41. Mike R

    September 30, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    People saying that Guillen is most likely to get dealt need to realize the amount of money he has left on his deal.

    When was the last time a player coming of a year with 420 AB’s and 3 years, $36 million (I think) left on his contract was traded? Carlos Guillen is not leaving Detroit this year via a trade.