The team website has an article on Brandon Inge, from Tom Singer, that really set me off. (This is officially a rant, which is why I'm putting it in a Fan Post and not in the main column.) It made me think of the old children's magazines that would have drawings with animals or whatever hidden in them, only in this case the game is how many things you can find that are wrong with the article.
The article starts with the assumption that Inge is a lock to make the team, which is bad enough if true. But the reason Singer gives is that Hurdle would have versatility off the bench that he never had last year. Singer quotes Hurdle raving about Inge's versatility because he can play second, first and the OF. (Inge has never played first in the majors or minors.) Singer compares Inge to Jose Oquendo, who actually could play literally anywhere, then goes on to say that the Pirates lacked this versatility last year. He acknowledges that Harrison played all over the place, but says that Mercer and d'Arnaud can only play the middle infield.
To begin with, the Pirates don't need their utility infielder to play first or the outfield. They have several thousand candidates for those spots, with far better depth than they have in the infield. Putting any of their infielders in those spots just downgrades the offense with no added benefits. They also don't really need much help at second, which is the only infield position Inge has ever played besides third. Neil Walker figures to play just about every day and won't come out for a pinch hitter. If he gets hurt, Inge is no solution because he can't hit and he's played a grand total of eight games there, majors and minors. The Pirates do need a utility infielder who can play short, because Clint Barmes will probably come out for a pinch hitter at times and will need a rest more often than Walker. Inge has never played short, while Mercer and d'Arnaud actually are shortstops, and Harrison . . . well, Mercer and d'Arnaud actually are shortstops. (I'm not addressing the question of quality here, although IMO Mercer is a good defensive player.)
So that leaves third, and Singer is wrong when he says Mercer and d'Arnaud can't play there. D'Arnaud played third about half his collegiate career and, according to BA, was an above-average defender there. He's played a dozen games there in the majors, which is more than Inge has played at second total, yet according to Singer, Inge can play second and d'Arnaud can't play third. Mercer has played 85 games at third in the minors and, besides, he's a legitimate shortstop. He should easily be able to handle third. Plus, Gaby Sanchez may be able to play a little at third, reducing the need there even further.
Compared to the Pirates' other UT options, Inge would reduce the versatility of the bench, not increase it. He's a third baseman who can play the outfield, where the Pirates have no need, and can play a few innings at second in a pinch and serve as the emergency catcher. The Pirates, however, need a backup shortstop more than anything else, which means if Inge is on the bench they have to carry another infielder. That, in turn, means two bench spots occupied by guys who can't hit.