Inge to Sign MiLB Deal with Pirates
While normally this sort of thing would be the responsibility of the Blas Minor Rookie Card Retirement Plan not this site, former Athletics third baseman and consummate “gamer” Brandon Inge has signed an MiLB deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Now, I have performed a massive about face here. For years living in Detroit I watched Inge confused as to how anyone could stand him let alone like him. When he became available it instantly became clear to me that the A’s would sign him, and sure enough a matter of days later they did just that. Here was my reaction,
“In my mind there is no way to sugarcoat this signing. He is a bad player set to become a starter on a bad team. That said, he likely is better than either Josh Donaldson or Luke Hughes, and at third base quite possibly better than Eric Sogard as well. Inge’s 2012 has been pretty pathetic consisting of 20 at bats during which he has launched one home run, a game winner in Kansas City on April 16th, one of just two hits en route to a .100/.100/.300 slash line, .168 wOBA and -4 wRC+.”
So turns out I got a few things right and a few things wrong there. First off, he wasn’t really terrible, overall he finished 2012 with .218/.275/.383, worth 1.6 WAR with a .283 wOBA and 78 wRC+ in 331 plate appearances. With the A’s he put up a .226/.286/.389 slash line with 11 home runs in 311 plate appearances. He accumulated 1.9 WAR with the A’s, along with a .290 wOBA and 83 wRC+. Not stellar numbers but not bad numbers either. The A’s, ultimately winning the division crown, were clearly not a bad team. But he was probably better than Donaldson, and he was clearly better than Hughes or Sogard. But that is the beauty of America! I was against it before I was for it! And I can do that!
The A’s infield to me still seems a bit sketchy. I am very pleased with the Jed Lowrie deal and feel that provides Oakland with some much needed infield options, but still we are relying on Donaldson far too much. I am not saying Inge should be penciled in as a starter, nor am I even saying he should have been guaranteed a 40-man roster spot, but if Pittsburgh can sign him for depth and see if he sticks, why didn’t Oakland try making that move? He ultimately wasn’t awful, he is versatile as all heck and it seems like the sort of little tiny signing that can pay huge dividends one major catastrophic injury into the season. Oh well, here is wishing Inge the best of luck in the Steel City.