Mandatory Credit: H.Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports
There’s been few indications out of Boston that the Red Sox are looking to move third baseman Will Middlebrooks, but that hasn’t stopped teams from calling. It would seem as though the Miami Marlins have been one of those teams, according to The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, and they’ve been “asking a lot” about his availability in recent weeks.
There’s no denying that Middlebrooks had a down season in 2013. He’d struggle at the plate, finishing with a .227/.271/.425 line across 374 PA and would add just 17 HR and 18 2B while striking out almost 100 times (98). His struggles at the plate become such a concern the organization ended up sending him down to Triple-A in mid-June for about six weeks, during which time some adjustments were made to his swing. Middlebrooks hit .268/.327/.464 in 196 PA with Pawtucket before rejoining the big league club in early August.
Boston could conceivably look to re-sign Stephen Drew to play shortstop everyday, allowing them to slide Xander Bogaerts back over to third base – where he enjoyed success late in the season and through the team’s World Series Championship run. The team appears, at least for now, to allow Bogaerts to grow into the shortstop position that is more natural for him.
Cafardo does note that a deal between the Marlins and Red Sox appears unlikely. Miami’s in need of a third baseman, particularly one with the power potential that Middlebrooks holds. Middlebrooks would fit well within their cost-affordable blueprint as well. The problem is there is little that Miami could likely offer the Red Sox in return.
Miami’s top prospects would be too high a cost for a player like Middlebrooks, ruling out young left-handers Andrew Heaney and Justin Nicolino. An outfielder such as Christian Yelich or Jake Marisnick would also likely be too much for the team to part with. There’s little depth beyond that which would offer a near-MLB ready appeal to the Red Sox.
Cafardo goes as far as suggesting that a deal need to be part of a bigger package in order for one to work, with Middlebrooks as a key part in a package designed to bring Giancarlo Stanton to Boston. While many Red Sox fans might welcome such a trade, it’s a move that remains highly unrealistic.