illustration by Samara Pearlstein
We’ve all heard the ARod rumors and the ARod speculation and the ARod arguments. Most of you can probably guess my position here, but just in case, I have written a poem that I believe sums it up pretty well. I reckon we’ve all heard so much about this potential move that it doesn’t really need to be repeated anywhere else, but I like to think that Roar of the Tigers is the first place that has discussed the pros and cons of changing third baseman in Detroit in verse-form.
On the Subject of Third Basemen in Detroit
The Third is a very peculiar base
Aside from the fact it’s the one on the left.
You may think that a Shortstop helps cover its space
But still the Third Baseman must needs be quite deft.
All of that ground out along the Foul Line
Is what a Third Baseman’s required to guard.
The distinction between Foul and Fair is so fine
The Third Baseman’s decisions are often quite hard.
Does he go for the ball? Does he let it bounce past?
A decision he needs to make quick as he can.
If he chooses wrong and the ball’s moving fast
He”ll only be helping the other team’s plan.
He has to be able to leap to the sky,
He has to be able to jump side to side.
If his error totals seem maybe too high
You must look at his range before you go and get snide.
A lesser Third Baseman may miss fewer balls
According to stats recorded as E’s;
A lesser Third Baseman won’t dive or take sprawls,
He’ll stand up at Third just as neat as you please.
The reason this fielder is not quite so bold
Is that his range just is not as broad
As that of a fielder who’d have Gloves of Gold
If the system that gave such things out wasn’t flawed.
This little ballplayer has such skillful mitts,
He’s agile and ever so quick on his feet.
He’s stuck with more errors ’cause he gets to more hits!
He’s the kind of Third Baseman it’s real hard to beat.
So think long and hard before you dismiss him,
Think if you really want another guy.
The corner position can often be quite grim.
How hard to do you like your Third Baseman to try?
Defensive statistics just cannot be trusted.
When cited you know that you may as well cringe.
For describing fielding they are simply busted
When it comes to Third Baseman like our Brandon Inge.
Are we clear? Yes? Good.
Honestly, I understand the argument for ARod: namely the fact that he has pretty much the BEST BAT IN BASEBALL, and Brandon Inge’s bat is but a small twig in comparison (especially the 2007 version of Brandon Inge). I do still think, however, that Inge is a better defensive third baseman in real game situations, which basically means that I believe his range and arm do a lot more good at his position than his errors (a direct result of his roomier range) do harm. ARod isn’t a BAD defensive third baseman, but I don’t think he’s as good as Brandon Inge.
Now, I know lots of people value offense much more than defense, especially when you’re talking about great-offense/pretty-good-defense versus terrible-offense/great-defense, and not some more heavily skewed pairing. And I knoooooow that you really can never have too much offense in your lineup. But it’s not as though our lineup next year is going to be super weak and we desperately need ARod there to shore it up. It’s also not as though our payroll is insignificant at this point, and ARod is a pricey whore of a player.
Bearing that in mind, I’d rather keep the player we already have under contract and keep his great defense and hope that his offense goes back up a bit, rather than shelling out for ARod.
Of course I also dislike ARod on many more levels, most of them related to the Red Sox fan part of my brain and the sheer joy that infuses my soul whenever I see that photo of Jason Varitek stuffing his glove into ARod’s face. So, yes, OK, I admit that I am biased and maybe not wholly rational. But I do think an argument can be made for Brandon Inge on the strength of his own merits as well.