Wow, this is pretty big. From the Twitter feed of the Tigers’ media relations dude:
Tigers have unconditionally released Brandon Inge. Brad Eldred’s contract will be purchased from Toledo on Friday. #tigers
— Brian Britten (@BBritten_Tigers) April 26, 2012
This isn’t big because Brandon Inge is big — he’s pretty insignificant, baseball-wise these days — but because he’s probably the single most polarizing player in the world of Detroit Tigers fandom. He’s one of those rare guys who is still beloved by many despite possessing little if any of the value he used to possess as a player. Which, in turn, makes more analytical fans go nuts. Wanna start an argument among Tigers fans? Just voice a strong opinion about Brandon Inge. He’s a player cum mascot about whom no one can be rational. If you don’t believe me, go check out this thread over at Bless You Boys soon. It’s bound to be nutsy within an hour or two.
But now he’s gone. As well he should be. He’s 2 for 20 on the year with no walks. He hasn’t had a useful season in a couple of years. He hasn’t had a good one in, like, seven. With Miquel Cabrera at third he has no defensive value on this team. He has been playing some sub-par second base because, well, because he has to be somewhere. Or had to, anyway.
You may remember Eldred from some brief time with the Pirates and Rockies a few years ago. At the moment he’s absolutely raking at Toledo: he’s 31 for 80 with 13 — 13! — homers in 20 games so far this year. Of course he’s also 31 years-old, has been at triple-A for seven years and plays first base, so it’s not like he’s going to change the season.
But he can hit. Inge can’t, and that’s why he’s now gone.
(Thanks to Michael M. for the heads up)