Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
Here's how I see it - let's look at it if this weren't baseball, it were a "regular" job. Employee excels in a new role, establishes himself as one of the best, and is rewarded with a significant raise. After the raise, the employee doesn't necessarily start coasting, but he certainly stops producing like he had been. The company then gets a huge opportunity to bring in someone that could be a huge upgrade in that department (even over the employee's successful time). They make the move, but feel some sense of loyalty to the employee, and feel he still has value. He'll no longer have his old job, but he will have a job, and will receive no cut in pay. Would anyone claim this employee were being treated unfairly? Doubtful. How likely were that employee, given the circumstances, to leave and go to another company where he would receive the same pay and previous job that he held? Possible, but unlikely. So, with that being said, Inge should likely feel lucky to have a job, and should get to work on the diamond and become so good the Tigers have no choice but to trade him. Underperforming then asking to be traded to be a starter just doesn't fly for me.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
Its difficult for anyone to objectively see both sides of the Brandon Inge situation; as everyone is bias in one way or another. Either they want him to shut-up and play, or they understand his frustration and desire to be a starter somewhere else. In my case, I truly understand his frustration. Any other professional in the world would be upset if their job was taken away because their company brought in a high profile guy to replace them; relegating them to the back seat. Its no different for Inge in this case. Given all that though, I would like ot think that Inge would carry the professionalism to routinely send the right message to the public. I want to start, just as everyone does, but as long as I'm hear, you can expect me to go out on the field and do whatever they ask me to do, and whatever is necessary to help the team win ball games. That should be his message; no questions asked! Instead, Inge makes statements about not wanting to catch, then retracts them, routinely expresses his disgust, then indicates his message isn't getting portrayed correctly. I understand the frustration, I really do. I don't think he's out of line in suggesting to the front office that he'd like the opportunity to play elsewhere. I do however, believe he has handled the situation poorly, and not just from a fan's standpoint. If I am another organization, and I'm seeing the way he has acted publicly this spring, that's a red flag to me about his ability to do what the team needs, regardless of his personal desires. In my world, when you are seeking employment with another organization, you do everyting possible to portray a positive, team-oriented image of yourself. I'm not sure why that would be different in baseball.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
I think he's within his right to ask for a trade. He is a veteran player, whom even though he has been a starter in the past, he obviously won't get that opportunity in Detroit with Miguel Cabrera here. As far as being the starting catcher, what happens if the Tigers re-sign Pudge Rodriguez next winter when he's a free agent, or swing a trade to fill that need? It's not an open-and-shut case with Inge being the starting catcher next year, and in addition to that, Inge's offense when he was catching was putrid. To me, Inge is just looking out for his own self interests, which is fine. For example, when a player goes through free agency and weighs offers, he is going to take the best offer that fills his needs (money, chance to win, good place for his family to live, etc.), not anyone else's. It's like a no-trade clause that some players have in their contracts, those players are looking out for themselves. The only thing Inge needs to realize is that the Tigers have a legitimate shot at contending, and while he is in Detroit, he needs to stay quiet (which has never been a strong suit) and keep working hard to make himself an attractive trade target.
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