Apparently the Detroit Tigers think it is a good idea to send down an impressive part-time player in his rookie season and call up a career .234 hitter to replace him. I awoke this morning and to my horror found out the Tigers had sent Andy Dirks to the Toledo Mud Hens only to call up Brandon Inge.
Before Inge was sent down earlier this year, he was hitting .177 in 70 games played. Meanwhile, in 61 games played Andy Dirks has hit .257. Detroit's management must not be able to do simple baseball mathematics—.257 is 80 points higher than .177 for all you stat geeks out there.
Wilson Betemit was traded to the Tigers to replace Inge. Since then, Betemit has hit an even .300. In fact, Betemit has two home runs in 19 games; in 57 games with the Royals he hit three home runs. He has also come through in clutch situations, providing a much-needed bat in the lineup.
Meanwhile Inge would have struck out in these situations. I’m not bashing Inge by any means. I’m just stating the obvious. It should also be noted that Betemit makes an even $1 million and Inge is making $5.5 million for the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
Don Kelly has been the Tigers' secret weapon over the past couple years. He has played every position (even pitcher) for the Tigers. He has been splitting time with Betemit at third since Inge’s departure. When Kelly hasn’t been manning third base, he’s found himself being used as a defensive replacement or playing in the outfield. Overall, Kelly has carved an excellent niche for himself and has done what has been expected of him.
The Tigers are doomed if Inge is going to be playing every day again. Wilson Betemit and Andy Dirks provided consistent bats for the Tigers this year. Unfortunately, Dirks will now be toiling around in the minors until September and Betemit will be used as a pinch-hitter. Instead of seeing Betemit coming through with clutch hits, Tigers fans will be forced to watch Brandon Inge strike out with two on and two out.