Inge to compete for job at second base

Brandon Inge is going to get a chance to compete for a spot in the Tigers lineup after all. It just won’t be at third base.

Inge has asked the Tigers for a chance to compete for the one relatively open infield spot — at second base. Manager Jim Leyland revealed the news Thursday upon his arrival at Joker Marchant Stadium, and said he’s going to give Inge his shot.

It’s a move seemingly out of left field rather than the infield, but it’s a chance for Inge to hold onto a starting spot and play a significant role on a team that’s favored to win the American League Central and compete for a pennant.

The original request, Leyland said, came from Inge to team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski, who forwarded it to Leyland.

“I said I’m all for it. Absolutely,” Leyland said. “I’ll pay you that respect. If you want to compete for the second base job, compete for it. How it’s going to play out, I have no idea. So there’s some wrinkles in here that are pretty interesting.”

This is one wrinkle few saw coming. While Inge has played at third base, catcher and all three outfield spots over his 11-year Major League career, and was a standout shortstop and closer in college at Virginia Commonwealth, he has never played second base in a game. He worked out there in Spring Training years ago, but only in anticipation of superutility duty.

He’ll get a crash course this spring. Leyland said he plans on having Inge take the vast majority of his playing time at second along with Ryan Raburn.

“I know Inge can play third base in his sleep,” Leyland said, “so I’m going to focus him on nothing but second base. Later in the spring, depending on how everything looks, we’ll play him at third once in a while just to sharpen him up.

“But I’m going all-out on this second-base thing. We’ll give him an opportunity.”

17 Comments

Don’t see it. I just don’t see it. Inge has no offense to speak of, so why try to plug him into a defensive position he’s never played? Aren’t there any other guys who could use those reps at secondbase this spring? Like Raburn? I foresee this as becoming an issue. And so it begins.
I haven’t forgotten that game in Tampa last August. “It was the RIGHT play.”
I’ll be down there in three weeks, so maybe I can take a crack at it too. I might be better than that Santiago character. Right?

Totally agree.
This is an ill conceived idea. Makes very little sense to take time away in ST from Raburn and Ramon. My feeling about Brandon is he will be very fortunate to make the 25 man roster.
I am not a huge fan of Raburn at 2nd but it makes scads more sense to be playing him there than Inge. Inge’s ONLY asset is as a failsafe to the Miggy transition back to 3rd (which I feel will be successful on different levels). Brandon’s contract might, and perhaps should, be eaten. If he could sustain some other function than playing defensively at 3rd it would be great, but I just don’t see it. Worth in the infield and Kelly are more than sufficient to round out the bench. Keeping Inge is only a respect steeped in the luxury of a strong roster. I would like to see him traded to a team that needs and wants a veteran 3rd sacker. That is where he belongs, but not on this squad.

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Well its been reported santiago has average range and rayburn is just not good at 2nd. Why not try the excellant range of inge at 2nd to compliment the limited range of fielder and the average range of peralta. It looks like a fit at least on paper.

Since when has Brandon had excellent range? 5 years ago?

brandon inge has career above average range, according to baseballreference.com. You are correct in asserting that 2008 was his best “range” year (relative to league average), but he is still above average.

Inge would be learning an entirely new position. Even Raburn has experience there. Maybe JL is just throwing Brandon a bone but this has disaster written all over it. I wouldn’t even consider doing this. Unless they’re planning to move an outfielder and Raburn will be playing out there. That’s the only thing that makes sense.
And why is it always about Inge? This gets wearisome.

Ramon and Danny must be feeling sick right about now. This topic is making me weary. Mr. Reliable is probably breaking out in cold sweats. Hey, how ’bout I send my son down there. Maybe he can play 2nd base.

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This is all very interesting. It stinks for Santiago to be sure, he pretty much assumed he had the job the way last season ended and now this? In my mind I see a very short leash for Brandon, and if he isn’t performing he needs to be out of that spot by the time May rolls around. I think this is truly in Brandon’s hands and this does not mean he will start the season there, I bet a lot has to do with his performance in ST.

Brandon deserves a shot at 2B – but it does suck for Raburn/Santiago/Worth/Kelly. And to-be-frank I think brandon will hit well in ST because he always seems to hit the ball well when he HAS TO (e.g. last year playoffs, his first game back from the minors last year, etc.).
.
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people are too quick to turn on brandon – however, brandon is beginning to be self centered at this point (e.g. carlos guillen a few years ago).

I’ll have to be “perfectly honest” here, he’s always been self centered. You just see it now because he’s no longer getting his way. I try to avoid this analytical stuff about him but it gets stuffed down our throats.
Why secondbase where he’s never played? Why not outfield? Catcher? Who’s idea was this? Who did he make the initial request to? How does he deserve it more than anyone else? Do you see Raburn or Santiago pulling this stuff?

hmmm very interesting questions. initially, i want to say because it’s one of the only starting spots not “locked down” besides LF and if he wins the job….it will only be because his numbers are better. Getting the best team on the field is the idea i’m sure. I’m going to do more thinking about your questions tho – they’re good questions.

well he does have experience in LF – so it does makes sense for him to compete for the LF position. He played mostly catcher in the minors (and some OF).

i don’t see a lot of harm in competing for a position in ST. I don’t think he’ll win the starting job – I think Ramon will win the starting job. But maybe Inge gets the backup 2B job (as well as the back up 3B job) – and Raburn goes back to LF. IDK but i don’t think it hurts for him to compete for the position.

Don’t get me wrong I hate (see also HATE) Raburn with a passion playing any defensive position, but he at any position is a better hitter than Ingeee on any day of the week. Raburn may swing mightily and K but Inge will just halfheartedly check swing on a meatball down the middle and go sit down with a nonchalant look on his face like it wasn’t his fault he cannot prepare for an at bat after 10+ years in the BIGS. Santiago’s defense and stick are underrated IMHO and he more than deserves at the least a chance to play regular second base. My arch nemesis and most entertaining man in all of baseball Raburn is best suited for the outfield, and D. Kelly can back up all positions fairly any day of the week. Big baby fan fav Ingee seriously doesn’t have a place on the team.

For what it is worth, here are my current predictions of games started per player this year:
Cabby: 126-3B, 52-DH, 178ttl *most DH games 1st half of year
.
Prince: 165-1B, 13-DH, 178ttl
.
Ajax: 169-CF, 169ttl
.
Boesch: 156-RF, 12-DH, 168ttl
.
Peralta: 156-SS, 12-DH, 168ttl
.
Young: 117-LF, 51-DH, 168ttl
.
Avila: 143-C, 50-DH, 163ttl
.
Santiago: 130-2B, 26-SS, 156ttl
.
Inge: 52-2B, 30-3B, 82ttl *must bat over .200 all season or is released
.
DK: 26-3B, 17-1B,13-CF, 56ttl *#1 late game defensive replacement
.
Raburn: 52-LF, 52ttl *#1 late game pinch hitter
.
G$: 39-C, 39ttl
.
Dirks: 26-RF, 13-LF, 39ttl

All numbers are rough guesses. I am assuming NO injuries for simplicity.

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