Over the weekend, SiriusXM's Jim Bowden interviewed new Marlins GM Dan Jennings to discuss his offseason plans for the Marlins. One of the questions he asked Jennings was whether he would field offers for outfielder Giancarlo Stanton this offseason. Jennings responded saying that he was going to build around Stanton and he wasn't going anywhere.
Jennings mentioned that one of the holes he is looking to fill this offseason was third base. Jennings named two guys he had interest in trading for, per the Bowden tweet below:
Dan Jennings told us they have discussed Mark Trumbo and Will Middlebrooks with their scouts…they have young pitching available— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) November 3, 2013
We heard last week that the Angels are making Trumbo available this offseason in an effort to shore up their starting rotation. But Middlebrooks? I did not know he was available, nor have we heard the Red Sox announce he was available, as they just completed celebrating their World Series win.
Middlebrooks had his share of struggles this season, hitting .227-.271-.425 with 17 home runs, 41 runs and 49 RBI in 348 at bats. His strikeout rate rose from 24.5% to 26.2% this season, and hit over .244 in just one month. He did hit .276 in the second half vs .192 in the first half, so maybe he made a change in approach that improved his performance at the plate.
Middlebrooks is just 25 years old and over the span of two seasons in the big leagues has hit 32 home runs and driven in 100+ runs in just over 600 at bats, so there is power in his bat. With that comes the strikeouts, but a team like the Marlins may be willing to deal with the strikeouts to fill their hole at third base.
Are there other teams looking for a third baseman this offseason? Well, there are several, including the Dodgers, White Sox, and the Cubs until Kris Bryant is ready, which could be soon. I have a feeling the Cubs will use internal options at third base until Bryant is ready.
The Marlins and the Dodgers might be the two best options for the Red Sox should they decide to make him available, if they haven't already. The Marlins make more sense, as the Dodgers may elect to sign free agent third baseman Juan Uribe to play third base until Corey Seager is ready to take over in the next two years or so.
Should the Red Sox deal Middlebrooks, that would probably result in Xander Bogaerts being their starting third baseman come spring training. He will more than likely be starting at third base or shortstop, depending on the Red Sox offseason moves. Either way, it is time to move Bogaerts up your preseason position rankings at shortstop and third base.
A trade would guarantee Middlebrooks more playing time, increasing his fantasy value in 2014. If you can deal with the strikeouts, he could be a decent 25 home runs, 80 RBI candidate with full time duty.
Should the Red Sox deal Middlebrooks this offseason? Let us hear your thoughts in the poll and in the comments section below.
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