The Oakland Athletics are desperate to see production out of the third base position. So desperate that the team is reportedly set to sign veteran Brandon Inge, according to CSNBayArea.com. The soon-to-be 35-year-old Inge he has cleared waivers after being released last week by the Detroit Tigers.
So far, in 22 games played, it's been a revolving door at third base, with no one player making a case for himself to take on the full-time starting role. After projected starter Scott Sizemore tore his ACL at the very beginning of spring training, the Athletics have thrown out Eric Sogard, Josh Donaldson and Luke Hughes to man the hot corner, and the three of them have been terribly woeful so far, combining for a gruesome .127 batting average and a .374 OPS. By far, third base has a glaring hole for an Oakland squad that already ranks last in the American League in runs scored, team batting average and total bases.
It couldn't get much worse, right?
Inge is not the answer at third base. The 12-year third baseman is performing worse so far this season, if that's even possible to believe. In nine games with the Tigers, Inge was batting .100, with six strikeouts in 20 at-bats. Yuck.
This is coming of a full season in 2011 in which Inge finished with .197 batting average in 269 at-bats. He was demoted midseason, outrighted to Triple-A last July—truly a tough transaction for a veteran with his service record.
This makes the Athletics' decision to potentially pick him up somewhat of a head-scratcher. Yes, the A's have basically been playing with eight bats in the lineup. Yes, Oakland third basemen have accumulated eight errors so far this year, good for—or bad for—most in the AL. Inge's superior skills will indeed improve the team's overall infield defense. However, bringing on Inge is not the long-term answer to the Athletics' woes at the plate. With that in mind, what's the point in signing Inge at a likely more lofty contract?
Obviously, hiring Inge speaks to how desperate the A's are for any answer to fill their third base void. It also speaks to how distrustful they are of Adam Rosales, who started the season with the Athletics' Triple-A affiliate in Sacramento. Rosales has played 72 games at third base in his career and is clearly more experienced than Sogard, Donaldson and Hughes, as he enters his fifth year in the majors. However, Rosales did not make the Opening Day roster, and he apparently has fallen out of favor of Oakland management.
Why else would the A's reach out for a hitter batting .100?
Oakland needs to give Rosales another chance. He is currently batting .296 with the Sacramento River Cats, with nine extra-base hits and nine runs batted in. It only makes sense to promote Rosales to see what he can do at third on a regular basis.
The A's certainly couldn't do any worse than what they've thrown out there so far this season.
Well, unless they start Inge.
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