Brandon Inge had a huge hand in leading the A’s to the postseason for the first time in six years in 2012. Although he missed the last few weeks of the season after undergoing surgery to repair his dislocated shoulder his effect was not forgotten. His timely hitting and tenacious defense was crucial to the A’s huge last three months of the season (excluding September of course). He was a veteran leader among a group of mainly rookies and young players trying to find their feet in the Major Leagues. With the A’s signing him after being released from the Detroit Tigers they only had to pay him the Major league minimum. After consistently being around five to six million dollars per season for the past few years in Detroit Inge can probably look for a pay cut in the 2013 season. This should be music to the A’s ears and here’s why they should try to resign him.The first reason is timely hitting. The Giants proved this year that you do not necessarily need a strong offense to go deep into the postseason. What you need are a few people to get on base, good/smart base running, and timely hitting. The Giants had three players (Hunter Pence, Marco Scutaro, and Buster Posey) in the top fifteen in runs batted in when batting with runners in scoring position. The A’s had no players within this category in the top fifty. Even with his low batting average, Inge hit .333 with runners in scoring position. The A’s could have used some of that timely hitting against the Tigers in the ALDS.
The second reason is Inge’s defense. Inge had an 11.1 UZR which is extremely good (0 is average). He made all the routine plays and added in some incredible plays along the way. His defense brings to memory Mark Ellis. Never too spectacular but always above average and never missing a routine play. The A’s need this late in games especially if they plan to contend next season and make a trip to the postseason. They had trouble (at multiple positions) defensively so the 2012 Gold Glove nominee would be a welcome site in Green and Gold for another season.
The final reason I mentioned was Inge’s veteran leadership. With Josh Donaldson getting the majority of the playing time now at third base Inge will take a back seat. However, with Donaldson going presumably into his second season and his first full season at the hot corner the A’s would do well to have Inge as a back up to mentor him and make sure he does not go through a sophomore slump á la Jemile Weeks. With Inge being a bench player before in his career he will know how to handle the situation of coming into a game cold. His personality is contagious and fits right in with the Athletics clubhouse. This was proven when he returned to the team only days after having shoulder surgery to cheer on his teammates and watch them play October baseball.
With Inge probably only seeing a one year deal in the four to five million dollar range the A’s would be smart in resigning him. Even though it seems expensive in the A’s sense to pay a bench player that much money Inge could be a key commodity should the A’s make it to October again. As the Giants showed timely hitting and good defense are key parts in the recipe to win in the postseason. Inge boasts both of these qualities as well as a veteran leadership that seems to be almost an extension of Manager Bob Melvin. This is why the A’s should try and resign Brandon Inge.