Will Middlebrooks’ powerful bat is generating interest despite his disappointing 2013 campaign.
The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reports that teams continue to ask the Boston Red Sox about Middlebrooks. According to Cafardo, the Miami Marlins have “asked a lot” about Middlebrooks, although there isn’t a clear match unless the deal involves Giancarlo Stanton, which seems unlikely.
Middebrooks was impressive in 2012, hitting .288 with 15 homers and 54 RBIs in 75 games before a wrist injury ended his season. The 25-year-old never got things going in 2013, though, as he hit .227 with 17 homers, 49 RBIs, a .271 on-base percentage and 98 strikeouts in 94 games.
Middlebrooks, who was demoted in June last season, showed improvement upon returning in August. However, he again stumbled in the postseason, causing manager John Farrell to turn to 21-year-old Xander Bogaerts as his everyday third baseman.
Middlebrooks figures to be the Red Sox’ starting third baseman in 2014, with Bogaerts shifting back to shortstop to replace Stephen Drew. If the Red Sox re-sign Drew, who remains a free agent, Middlebrooks’ playing time likely will decrease, although the young infielder still is expected to play a big role this season. Cafardo suggests that Middlebrooks even could see time at first base if Drew returns to the Red Sox’ infield mix.
Stanton, one of baseball’s premier young sluggers, has been tossed around in trade rumors for a while. The Marlins have been adamant that they have no plans to trade the 24-year-old outfielder, though.