The Rangers have signed corner infielder Will Middlebrooks to a minor league deal, as Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News notes. Middlebrooks has spent most of his professional career playing third base, and the Rangers already have a top third baseman in Adrian Beltre. Grant notes, though, that Middlebrooks could provide the Rangers with an insurance policy at first base for 2017 — Mitch Moreland is set to depart via free agency, and the team currently lacks a clear starter at first, with Jurickson Profar, Ryan Rua and Joey Gallo among the available options.
The 28-year-old Middlebrooks played sparingly in the big leagues in 2016, collecting just 31 plate appearances with the Brewers and hitting .282/.308/.508 in 264 plate appearances for Triple-A Colorado Springs. Before that, he’d collected at least 200 plate appearances in four straight years in the big leagues with the Red Sox and then the Padres, hitting a combined .231/.274/.399 and struggling to get on base after a productive rookie season. Signing with the Rangers represents something of a homecoming for Middlebrooks, who hails from Greenville, 45 minutes east of Dallas.