AL East Notes: Middlebrooks, Sox, Teixeira, Martinez, Morrow

The Red Sox are planning on having Will Middlebrooks play winter ball this offseason in an attempt to get him back on track, and they’re telling teams that they won’t simply give the soon-to-be 26-year-old away, tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney. Middlebrooks may seem a good buy-low candidate, as the former top prospect has followed a strong rookie campaign with a .213/.264/.375 line over a pair of injury-plagued seasons in 2013-14, but it sounds as if the Red Sox aren’t ready to give up on him.

Here’s more from the AL East…

  • Red Sox GM Ben Cherington spoke with reporters before tonight’s game, and Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com has some highlights from the session. Cherington says that “barring something unforeseen,” Rusney Castillo will join the Major League club this month. He also said that the club will continue to have Mookie Betts focus on center field, noting that having three plus center fielders isn’t a bad thing if Castillo, Betts and Jackie Bradley all pan out. “We believe we’re better off having more than one major league center fielder,” said Cherington. “In the long run, in terms of long-term control, hopefully we have three at the upper levels.”
  • While there’s been an unthinkable amount of ink dedicated to the Phillies’ Ryan Howard problem, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes that the Yankees have a similar issue on their hands with Mark Teixeira. Sherman reports that while the Phillies have aggressively shopped Howard, the Yankees haven’t even tried to move Teixeira, knowing that he would be nearly impossible to jettison due to his injuries, his no-trade protection and the $45MM he’s owed in 2015-16. Teixeira, who turns 35 next April, has batted just .213/.316/.404 in 493 plate appearances over the past two seasons.
  • Rays bench coach Dave Martinez is interested in the Astros’ managerial opening, writes MLB.com’s Adam Berry. Martinez, who was on a short list of candidates for the last Astros managerial search, called the opening a “great opportunity” but made it clear that his current focus is on helping the Rays. “I interviewed for them a couple years ago, and they had good baseball people, very creative minds over there, and I kind of like that whole situation over there,” said Martinez. “Right now, my concern is being the bench coach for the Tampa Bay Rays and hopefully we win as many games as possible this month.” As Berry points out, Martinez is a good fit with the Astros after watching the way in which longtime Rays manager has Joe Maddon has built a rapport with an analytically inclined front office. Martinez noted that he got along well with Astros owner Jim Crane and GM Jeff Luhnow in his previous interview, adding that he thinks Houston has a very bright future.
  • Brandon Morrow wants to pitch in the rotation in 2015 and beyond, he tells MLB.com’s Gregor Chisolm. As Chisholm notes, Morrow may soon have the opportunity to dictate where that could happen, as his $10MM club option is likely to be declined by the Blue Jays after another injury-plagued season. Morrow doesn’t seem to fit into Toronto’s rotation moving forward, with R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, Drew Hutchison, Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez and Daniel Norris all at the Major League level.


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51 Comments on "AL East Notes: Middlebrooks, Sox, Teixeira, Martinez, Morrow"


Mike1L
11 months 26 days ago

The Yankees know there’s no value in shopping Tex at this point. He’s either going to heal up and play better, or he’s going to be dead weight/dead money. He’s at 1.1 bWAR right now, obviously not worth the check he’s getting, but they really don’t have a choice but to wait it out.

Curt Green
11 months 26 days ago

That 2009 championship costs more and more each year.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
11 months 26 days ago

Hasn’t Dave Martinez been on the short list for several manager positions? I’d think if he was going to get a shot he would have by now.

kungfucampby
11 months 26 days ago

He has been linked a couple of times. It’s weird who gets hired nowadays, because so many teams go with people who have no managerial experience, or they want to poach someone who is already with another team. I wonder just what exactly happens in the interview process. Maybe Martinez eats too much from the candy dish.

Bertin Lefkovic
11 months 26 days ago

If anything, the Yankees should double down on their problems at 1B by trading A-Rod this offseason for Howard, who could backup Tex at 1B and serve as a semi-regular DH. Unless A-Rod goes on a HR tear and starts earning his bonuses over the next three years, which would actually make his contract worth its cost, he would actually be cheaper for the Phillies than Howard would be over the next two years.

A-Rod would be no more of a lineup clog for the Phillies than Howard is at the moment and he could conceivably be convinced for the good of his image to learn to play multiple positions and serve as a super-utility player. At the very least, he could play some 1B in addition to 3B and possibly even spend some time in the outfield. He might even be able to play an occasional game at 2B or SS.

11 months 26 days ago

Right because a lot of 39 year old’s can suddenly become super utility players. Why doesn’t he learn how to pitch too? And on his off days he can sell cracker jacks or suit up as the Philly Phanatic.

Bertin Lefkovic
11 months 26 days ago

How many positions can Howard play other than 1B? If nothing else, A-Rod can learn to play 1B as well, but the key factor here is that A-Rod has something to prove after everything that he has been through. Any manager stuck with him should demand that he earn his spot in the lineup by any means necessary.

Are any of the OF positions as physically demanding as the hot corner? I don’t think so. Is it unreasonable to think that he could play SS again in an emergency or on occasion (once every two weeks or more)? If he can play SS, he can play second base, once again, in an emergency or on occasion.

Considering everything that he has done to the game, I don’t think that this is too much for the Yankees or any team to demand of him if he is going to take their money for the next three years. If he injures himself in the process, no harm, no foul. It’s just money that was more or less wasted anyway going into the next three years. No harm in trying to get some value for it.

11 months 26 days ago

A-Rod has value as a part time 3B and part time DH. Howard would clog up the Yanks DH spot that would be better used for Beltran. McCann can already play 1B on occasion to give Tex a break.

It’s unreasonable to expect A-Rod to learn a new position at this point.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
11 months 26 days ago

I don’t even think one would expect ARod to have value at third at this point. He’ll be 40 in the middle of next season and has a history of hip problems.

11 months 26 days ago

You’re right. By value, I meant that he could conceivably field the position, which would not be true of 2B, SS, or the OF. Not setting the bar very high.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
11 months 26 days ago

Honestly, I think the yanks really have 2 choices: Lay in the bed they helped make and have ARod primarily DH, or release him and write him checks to stay home.

11 months 26 days ago

I think either of those are possible. A-Rod could see some time in the field though sporadically, depending on what happens with the Yanks’ infield.

Jaysfan1994
11 months 26 days ago

I think releasing A-Rod would be a horrible move, yes the guy hasn’t played baseball in a year and is likely to struggle next year given that he’s turning 40, but the man still packs the seats and could convincingly come back into form after a year of “getting in shape”. The man has used performance enhancing drugs numerous times in his career and I doubt the guy wouldn’t take a few cycles during his year long off-season of working out.

I’ll be willing to bet the guy hits 20 homers next season baring major injury.

windwalker
11 months 26 days ago

Not sure about the “still packs the seats” part. Even Yankee die hards are disgusted by his litany of past transgressions.

Mike1L
11 months 26 days ago

And, it’s unsafe for A-Rod to do those things. I have friends who have had similar surgery, and with the same doctor. There are athletic things that they either cannot do, or should not do.

Bertin Lefkovic
11 months 26 days ago

What happens when Tex goes on the DL for weeks at a time? I would prefer to have Howard as Tex’s backup.

Bertin Lefkovic
11 months 26 days ago

It is unreasonable for A-Rod to expect the Yankees to pay the last three years of his contract after what he has put them through. If he wants to play, he should have to do it under their terms, not his, and if they want him to learn other positions, so that he can be more useful to the team, he should just do it.

108 stitches
11 months 26 days ago

IB perhaps. Pete Rose did it kinda poorly around his age in the eighties. 2B or SS? Run that one by Hal, Hank, Cash and Girardi. See what they have to say. The Yankees would do anything to Rodriguez to retire considering it did not muddy their hands or resume. Can’t see that situation arising though. Maybe they cut him, maybe they keep him. They don’t have much cost controlled infield depth so they might as well suck up the poison pill they swallowed in the 07-08 offseason when they gave him that deal.

Trock
11 months 26 days ago

If anything the Phillies don’t want to deal with the headache A-Rod would be when he is back from suspension. I know it gets old, but he is literally one of the most hated people in all of sports. Why do you think any team would take a flyer on him?

Mike1L
11 months 26 days ago

Intriguing idea. Robertson may leave as a free agent. A-Rod could be the answer, with just a little retooling.

Mike1L
11 months 26 days ago

Sometimes, I don’t know when you are serious or simply being provocative. This is completely irrational.

Bertin Lefkovic
11 months 26 days ago

What is irrational? Trading A-Rod for Howard or trying to make A-Rod into a super-utility player?

11 months 26 days ago

Both.

Bertin Lefkovic
11 months 26 days ago

Why? Both players have bad contracts. Both are lineup clogs. The only difference is that Howard is not a pariah, but the Yankees are probably the only team that could benefit more from having him on their team than not. The Phillies or any other team could find a way to get the most out of A-Rod if they wanted to.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
11 months 26 days ago

There is more of a difference than that. Even though they are owed similar money, ARod is owed more years. But the simple truth is if the Phillies would want to get rid of Howard it makes far more sense just to eat his deal than to take on a pariah albatross.

Bertin Lefkovic
11 months 26 days ago

Why? The 25th least productive player on the Phillies roster is not going to be less productive than either A-Rod or Howard. My argument is that A-Rod could be more productive than Howard and the fact that A-Rod’s money is spread over three years rather than two is better financially for whomever has him, not the team that has Howard.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
11 months 26 days ago

Even if I accepted your second statement about money, which I disagree with since I’d personally prefer to pay less total money in less time, I have no idea where your evidence is that ARod will be more productive next year than Howard.

ARod has a history of hip injuries, is turning 40 in the middle of next season, and over the last 2 seasons when he was eligible had already started almost a third of his games at DH. Putting him anywhere else in the field besides first and a few games at third would be the equivalent of putting an untrained kid at the wrong position without the added benefit of athleticism.

Bertin Lefkovic
11 months 26 days ago

I wrote that he could be more productive than Howard, not that he would be. We have no idea what PEDs A-Rod has been taking over the last year to get his body back in shape for the next three seasons. Anything is possible.

Jaysfan1994
11 months 26 days ago

I think a team could get Howard for a bag of balls at this point if they were willing to eat any of his salary. Howard in Yankee Stadium would be interesting given he has a ton of balls caught in deep right every year.

Mike1L
11 months 26 days ago

Both. Do you have any idea of what the impact of those hip surgeries are? You do realize that the range of motion will never be the same, you do realize that there are stresses on the hip joints that need to be avoided? I’m no A-Rod lover, but to ask him to even attempt to get out of the way of someone trying to break up the double play is crazily destructive.

Bertin Lefkovic
11 months 26 days ago

So what? If he had to play 2B 6-12 times and SS another 6-12 times over the course of the season, it would not kill him. I also don’t think that playing the outfield would be nearly as stressful on his hips as playing any infield position except 1B and that might even be debatable.

11 months 26 days ago

Why would he have to do that at all? It makes no sense.

Bertin Lefkovic
11 months 26 days ago

Because the Yankees need to share the DH spot amongst many players and the Phillies do not even have the option of a DH. Trading A-Rod for Josh Hamilton might make more sense for the Angels, but the Yankees would probably need the Angels to take Carlos Beltran in that deal as well to balance the money.

11 months 26 days ago

I give up. Just no on all accounts for every reason.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
11 months 26 days ago

Arod hasn’t played short since 2005, he hasn’t started a game at short since 2003. And that’s just one problem.

Howard is owed $60M over the next 2 years, including the buyout. ARod is owed $61M over 3 years and will probably get another $6M for milestones. Even on a one for one swap the Phils lose out by having a longer term albatross who is more likely to inspire fans to stay home. The Phillies would be far better off trading Howard for scraps and eating a chunk of his pay.

Bertin Lefkovic
11 months 26 days ago

No team other than the Yankees will give the Phillies scraps for Howard even if the Phillies pay most of his contract. It is also better for the Phillies financially to pay $61MM over three years than $60MM over two years. If A-Rod hits enough HRs to earn the bulk of his bonuses, nobody is going to complain about paying him for them and the fans will be more than happy to pay to watch him reach them.

I am only proposing that A-Rod play 12-24 games per season at 2B and SS combined. He will have another 23 interleague games in AL ballparks that he can DH. He can also play a significant number of games at 1B, 3B, and the outfield if the team in question demands this of him.

Mike1L
11 months 26 days ago

My last attempt to discuss this rationally. There is no way you would ask any 40 year-old player to transform himself into a super utility player, and particularly not one with the medical history A-Rod has. The team isn’t and can’t “demand” it of him–it will end up in the biggest arbitration loss of all time, and the union will be four-square behind him. If he gets injured while indulging in this forced fantasy, I doubt the insurance company would agree to pay out. Unwise is the kindest thing I can characterize your suggestion as.

Bertin Lefkovic
11 months 26 days ago

How do you figure? A player cannot sue a team for demanding that he learn to play positions other than what he has become accustomed to. If he spends the next three years on and off the DL, he gets paid just as little or as much as if he doesn’t.

It is far more unwise to have A-Rod monopolize the DH position at the expense of other players who will need DH time over the same period.

Mike1L
11 months 26 days ago

You think any reasonable arbitrator would uphold a team’s right to demand that a 40 year old player take further injury risk, possibly permanent and life-altering injury risk, just to squeeze a few more games out of him?

Bertin Lefkovic
11 months 25 days ago

A-Rod has every right to retire and let the Yankees or any other team keep their money, but if he wants to play, he has to play whatever position he is told to play.

Timothy Bryce
11 months 26 days ago

I have a feeling the Yankees are going to buy out the rest of Alex Rodriguez’s contract this offseason and send him on his way.

Bertin Lefkovic
11 months 25 days ago

I hope that you are right, but I don’t think that you are.

Jim Johnson
11 months 26 days ago

No. Just no.

zeles
11 months 26 days ago

Over or under on Middlebrooks hitting .210 in the Winter league?

windwalker
11 months 26 days ago

Over. .211 if Jenny encamps somewhere else.

Steve Corbett
11 months 26 days ago

I find odd humor in the press and Ben Cherington insisting that the Red Sox are waist-deep in outfielders when it appears that none of them can either stay healthy or flat-out hit. And am I going to be the lone survivor who believes that at least part of the latter issue rides on the shoulders of Greg Colbrunn, their hitting coach? Except for Ortiz and Holt, everyone on that roster has pretty much nosedived this year (and look at the shocking drop in power numbers). An entire team doesn’t go into a 140-game hitting slump without a problem at the top.

$40129616
11 months 26 days ago

The Sox haven’t given up on Middlebrooks yet? I gave up on him about three weeks before the non-waiver trade deadline this year.

Victoria Roberts
11 months 26 days ago

Since you haven’t invested a single dollar in him being a successful player you’re allowed to give up on him whenever you want. The Red Sox’ stake in him is probably slightly higher than yours.

$40129616
11 months 25 days ago

LOL. Of course, you’re right. Fans should never be emotionally invested in their teams. That would be silly.

Victoria Roberts
11 months 25 days ago

If your idea of being emotionally invested in your team equates with giving up on players I don’t think that phrase means what you think it means.

$40129616
11 months 25 days ago

Will Middlebrooks has been on the Sox 25 man roster since 2012, and has had one pretty good year, one mediocre year, and one dreadful year. I was invested in his success until sometime mid-season, when I reluctantly came to the conclusion that he’s not going to put it all together. Reasonable minds can disagree with that conclusion, but it hardly signifies that I’m uninvested in the team.