As you probably heard, long-time Tiger and lightning-rod-for-controversy Brandon Inge was released following Thursday’s 5-4 loss to the Seattle Mariners:
Tigers have unconditionally released Brandon Inge. Brad Eldred’s contract will be purchased from AAA Toledo tomorrow.
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) April 26, 2012
The move was an obvious one (and the right one) at this point. The Tigers are struggling to get anything going offensively right now, and it couldn’t hurt to at least give Brad Eldred a look. No, he hasn’t been impressive in his previous stints in the majors and, yes, perhaps bringing up Danny Worth is the smarter move, but Eldred is hot right now and the Tigers are a team that’s sorely lacking offense and seeking answers. If Eldred doesn’t work out, Worth is just an hour’s drive away.
Anyway, back to Inge. Inge certainly became a polarizing figure amongst Tigers fans at the end of his tenure, but at one point in time, he was one of the franchise’s most popular players. Inge was one of the few holdovers from 2003, someone who went through the bad times and enjoyed the unexpected successes of 2006. He was someone fans rooted for and got behind, because he felt like one of us. The fans could relate to him.
That all changed somewhere around 2009. Inge’s power all but disappeared after two offseason knee surgeries, and so did the support from the fans. Oh, the hardcore Inge supporters stuck around, but it seemed like most fans wanted him gone. In a lot of ways, Inge became the scapegoat for whatever was going wrong for the Tigers at the time.
Yes, the Tigers probably kept him around two years too long. And, yes, it was more than time to let him go. It’s just disappointing and almost sad that a once beloved Tigers figure is leaving in such a fashion, hated by the majority of the fanbase in spite of the fact he gave this team and its fanbase everything he had.
React to the news of Inge’s release however you want. Cry bitter tears, celebrate and throw a party, write an angry letter to Dombrowski on Inge’s behalf, who cares. This blogger will be remembering the good times, remembering the bad times (and there were many), and moving on.
Brandon, thanks for giving the best of your career to the Tigers. Thanks for caring about the people of Detroit off the field, too. And best of luck to you and your family, wherever you end up.
The important question at hand is: Can Ramon Santiago handle the pressure of being the only player left over from the 2003 team? It remains to be seen.
The Tigers go into Yankee Stadium to open a three game series against the Bronx Bombers on Friday. Tigers ace Justin Verlander will look to stop the skid against the Yankees and starter—and ALDS nemesis—Ivan Nova. Game 1 starts at 7:05 EDT and can be seen on Fox Sports Detroit.