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The veteran Inge filled a huge hole for Oakland in 2012
If there was one player who symbolized the 2012 A's, it was Brandon Inge. Castoff and thought of as washed up by the Detroit Tigers, Inge instead provided power and a plus glove at third base for the A's before injuries sidelined him in August for the year.
Don't be fooled by the numbers (.226, 11 home runs, 52 RBI), Inge's contribution was enormous. After the injury to Scott Sizemore at the start of training camp, Oakland's hole at third base looked like an Earth-sized meteor. Josh Donaldson and Luke Hughes were awful to start the year and defensively, both were overmatched it seemed.
Enter Inge, who arrived in Oakland April 30th and immediately began paying dividends. In his first week, he drove in 13 runs, including 12 in a four-game stretch. Four of those game on a walk off grand slam that would be part of the narrative of the year for the club.
Even more crucial was the steady and often spectacular defense Inge played at third. His performance was so good, he found himself nominated for a Gold Glove even though he only played in 83 total games (74 with the A's).
So why is he just No. four? Simply put, it seems as though the problem was solved in his absence. Josh Donaldson's second half firmly entrenched him as the third baseman going into 2013. Assuming Sizemore is ready to play, he looms as a possible platoon mate for Donaldson at worst. That leaves Inge as likely the odd man out.
If he did return to Oakland, it would likely be in a utility position, which would be of great value for an A's squad that doesn't currently have a shortstop. But I am getting ahead of myself...