Middlebrooks, 24, had a solid 2012 spring. His surge, juxtaposed against the hard-playing and as a result talent-diminished Youkilis, vaulted Middlebrooks to a starting position when Youkilis was traded to the Chicago White Sox on June 25, 2012.
Before he broke his wrist in early August Middlebrooks was indeed making Boston fans forget about a beloved Sox icon. In 75 games Middlebrooks had a slashline of .288/.325/.509/.835. In 122 games with Boston and Chicago Youkilis had a 2012 slashline of .235/.331/.401/.732.
Now Youkilis, 33, for all intents and purposes the New York Yankees’ third baseman at least until the return of Alex Rodriguez, will be breathing down Middlebrooks’ neck in the same division and bringing to the forefront the efficacy of Boston’s decision.
The numbers and the age difference still make Middlebrooks the right move. He needs support from the coaching staff upon his spring training return in order to feel comfortable going into his first full season as the man at the hot corner.
If he successfully transitions this year, it could be start of a long run at third base that will follow in the steps of a string of Red Sox greats; Wade Boggs, Bill Mueller, Mike Lowell and Youkilis. Mr Middlebrooks, your chair has been pulled out.
He’s been mobilized since dawn
Now he’s crouching on the lawn
He’s a third world man
- Third World Man, Steely Dan