I'm done with Will Middlebrooks. He had half a good rookie season and acts like he still owns the job because of that. He was bad last year and he was worse this year and he's always hurt. The reason this falls into the "Want" category is because there are some reasonable internal options to fill this slot. This could be a nice spot for a guy like Brock Holt or Garin Cecchini in the future.With the acquisition of Pablo Sandoval the 3rd base position is spoken for. Even if Sandoval turned out to be a total bust due to injury or ineffectiveness, I'm not sure Will Middlebrooks is the guy I want off the bench with Brock Holt and Garin Cecchini for depth. Maybe a change of pace will be good for Middlebrooks, although I doubt switching from one of the most hitter friendly parks in baseball to one of the most pitcher friendly parks in baseball will do good things for his numbers. Anyways, if he does turn it around he'll be doing it in the National League, so it's unlikely to come back to bite them in the ass. The whole situation reminds me a bit of the Seguin trade for the Bruins. He's a young, talented guy; but he doesn't really fit the team philosophy. He's got some power, which is a valuable commodity, but he doesn't work counts and get on base like the Red Sox emphasize.
In return the Red Sox got backup catcher Ryan Hanigan. With Lester out of the picture David Ross became unnecessary and he followed Jon Lester to the Cubs. Blake Swihart is one of the most promising prospects in the Red Sox system, but running two rookie catchers out with Swihart and Christian Vazquez seems a bit risky. Hanigan is a local guy from Andover High School. After going undrafted he started playing in the Cape Cod league until he attracted the attention of the Reds organization. He spent most of his career in the Cincinatti Reds system before being traded to the Rays. He had a reasonably good year with the Rays last year as the backup catcher hitting .218 BA/.318 OBP/.324 SLG/.642 OPS/1.3 WAR. He's also solid defensively and had a positive DWAR throughout his career. Here's his current contract:
3 years/$10.75M (2014-16), plus 2017 club option
14:$2.75M, 15:$3.5M, 16:$3.7M, 17:$3.75M club option ($0.8M buyout)
So it's basically 2 years/$8 Million remaining or if the Sox pick up the club option it's 3 years/$10.95 Million. A price Fenway Sports group can easily afford. Another angle on this is that Hanigan was the personal catcher for Reds ace Johnny Cueto when Hanigan played for the Reds. Perhaps this is an attempt to try and lure Cueto to come to the Red Sox in the future? I suppose Cueto did fine without Hanigan last season though, so who knows.