Two of this offseason’s busiest teams crossed paths Friday.
The Red Sox and Padres confirmed a trade that sends catcher Ryan Hanigan to Boston and third baseman Will Middlebrooks to San Diego. A source told Yahoo! Sports Jeff Passan of the deal earlier in the day.
WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford, who heard the same thing from a major league source, added the trade was contingent on Middlebrooks passing a physical, which might explain the late timing of its official announcement. Middlebrooks missed time the last two seasons with various injuries, and the 26-year-old recently said he’s still recovering from a hand/wrist issue that plagued him in 2014.
The Red Sox recently signed third baseman Pablo Sandoval to a five-year contract worth almost $100 million, leaving Middlebrooks’ future with the organization unclear.
“I want to stay in Boston. I want to play in Boston,” Middlebooks said a few weeks ago at David Ortiz’s charity golf event in the Dominican Republic, according to Bradford. “I came up here, and I know it’s pretty rare for someone to stay in one place their whole career. I understand that. But I’m still going to try. I don’t really fit the mix right now. It doesn’t seem that there’s a place for me now. But it’s a long time until April and a lot of things can happen.”
Middlebrooks is coming off back-to-back disappointing seasons with the Red Sox. He hit .191 with two homers, 19 RBIs, 70 strikeouts and a .522 OPS in 234 major league plate appearances over 63 games in 2014.
Hanigan figures to serve as Christian Vazquez’s backup. David Ross, who served as Boston’s backup catcher the last two seasons, reportedly is headed to the Chicago Cubs on a two-year, $5 million contract.
Hanigan, who’s from Andover, Mass., spent his first seven seasons with the Cincinnati Reds before being traded to the Tampa Bay Rays last offseason. The 34-year-old backstop hit .218 with five homers, 34 RBIs and a .642 OPS in 263 plate appearances over 84 games in 2014.
Hanigan was traded to the Padres last week, so this marks the second time he has been moved this offseason.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images