The A’s are reportedly close to signing recently released 3B Brandon Inge, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. According to the report, the Athletics could expect Inge with the club by the start of Monday’s contest against the Red Sox. Oakland could use another option for their sinkhole over at the hot-corner and Inge might help ease the pain at third. The A’s haven’t had a real third baseman since the early days of Eric Chavez. After Chavez’s departure from greatness, the A’s have been on the lookout for another third baseman, but haven’t had much success in addressing the position.
Inge, a former All-Star with the Detroit Tigers, would come to an A’s team with an unclear third base situation. If he has anything left in the tank at age 34 (he turns 35 in May), Inge could help solve some of Oakland’s problems at third base this year. The A’s did the same thing last year when they acquired Scott Sizemore (coincidently enough from the Tigers) to help solve their problems at third. Sizemore was injured this year, though, and will be out for the entire season.
The A’s have had a carousel over at third this season, using guys like Eric Sogard and Luke Hughes to man the hot corner in Sizemore’s absence. Oakland would love to have true third baseman, though. There’s no real risk involved with the Inge acquisition; he either helps the team or he doesn’t. Oakland isn’t going anywhere this season, so experimenting with a guy like Inge isn’t going to disrupt anything. He could, in fact, be a great clubhouse leader if the reports of him signing with Oakland are true.
How much Inge contributes offensively is somewhat cloudy, though. The A’s are definitely hoping for the best, but Inge hasn’t posted great numbers over the last few years with Detroit. This year he was hitting just .100/.100/.300 with the Tigers before getting released. Last year, Inge hit .197/.265/.283 with 3 HR and 23 RBIs in 102 games with Detroit. He posted a -0.4 WAR that year, according to Fangraphs.com.
His last real productive season came back in 2009, when Inge hit .230/.314/.406 with 27 HR and 84 RBIs with the Tigers. It’d be great if Inge could turn back the clock, but I think we all know that’s highly unlikely. The deal isn’t groundbreaking, but it is another example of how the A’s have to scour the market in order remain creative. If Inge puts together a solid season with Oakland, Billy Beane looks like a genius.