Teams don’t usually make coaching moves at this time of year but that didn’t stop the Tigers from making an adjustment. Longtime Tiger Brandon Inge announced his retirement today after the Pittsburgh Pirates placed him on the disabled list to start the season because of the shoulder that put him down for a good part of the season last year. His new job will be as the Tigers hitting coach.
A polarizing figure for fans, it’ll be interesting to see what the fan reaction is to this news. Inge did have some decent seasons, hitting as many as 27 home runs twice, but his lifetime batting average of .234 and a lifetime OPS+ of 83 makes him interesting choice for this particular spot. Inge is also the Tigers all time leader in strikeouts with 1,189. He left the Tigers for the Athletics last year after the Tigers granted him free agency but now almost a year later he’s back with the team. I also hope he spends some time with Miguel Cabrera at third base because Inge was known more for his fielding than his hitting.
Inge will replace Lloyd Mclendon and while there has been no official announcement, my guess is he stays on with the Tigers in some capacity. He’s been with the Tigers since Jim Leyland joined the team and the hitting coach for the last seven seasons. He’s had his share of successes (namely Austin Jackson last year) but we’ve also seen some guys who have had a hard time turning the corner like Brennan Boesch. I think the move will come as a surprise just because it came out of nowhere.