Can Brandon Inge return to Mid-May form and help a struggling A's offense?
After Oakland GM Billy Beane scooped Brandon Inge up when the Detroit Tigers released him at the end of April, I wrote a piece titled, "Brandon Inge's Heroics a Flash in the Pan: Oakland Athletics Need a 3rd Baseman."
At the time, Inge had 10 hits, 17 RBI, and four home runs in 39 at-bats, including remarkable stretch of four straight games with four RBI. Inge, incredibly, became only the second player in 80 years to have four RBI in four games over a five-game stretch.
The other player to do this? Lou Gehrig.
There he was, in Oakland, seemingly rejuvenated by a change of scenery, and Billy Beane's moneyball approach seemed to have worked yet again, with a majority of Inge's $5.5 million salary being picked up by the Tigers.
In my article, I mentioned Inge's career slash line of: .234/.304/.387 and the fact that in his last season with the Tigers, he batted a mere .197 over 269 at-bats.
Since Inge's big splash in Oakland and the mania that ensued, he has managed to return to his old self, batting .218 with a .294 OBP. During his time with the A's, Inge has grounded into seven double plays and struck out 47 times in 165 at-bats. Somehow, his WAR (wins above replacement) managed to stay positive, at 0.4.
A change of scenery can do players good, but in Inge's case, his history as a poor batter has caught up with him. It's likely that Inge will simply be another glove in a rotating cast of third basemen for the Athletics.
For what it's worth, Billy Beane got a deal on a veteran for the clubhouse.
(H/t Baseball-Reference.com for stats)