Padres News: What is Will Middlebrooks Future?

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Mandatory Credit: UT San Diego
Mandatory Credit: UT San Diego

When the San Diego Padres acquired Will Middlebrooks, he was envisioned as the third baseman of the future by management. Middlebrooks started off well for the Friars, but was sent to Triple-A in July and was never recalled by the team. Still the acquisition of Middlebrooks for Ryan Hanigan was a great deal for the Padres. The trade essentially saved the Padres about $7 million dollars in salary.

What is Will Middlebrooks future with the team? Have the Padres given up on him? Yangervis Solarte was rotating with Middlebrooks initially, but Solarte constantly came up with the big hit for the Padres. He had to start playing everyday and his promotion was at the cost of Middlebrooks and his playing time.

Solarte seems to have established himself as the third baseman next season (Still remains to be seen). He continued to hit through out the year and was only occasionally rested in favor of Cory Spangenberg. The Padres have many defensive issues and a ton of players that can play multiple positions. With that being said, it is really undetermined where everyone will play. In fact not one infield position is a lock for the 2016 season. Jedd Gyorko spent the last month of the season at shortstop. That will not be his future with the team, but Gyorko did hit better towards the end of the season. He may have salvaged his value with his late season performance.

Middlebrooks himself played eight games at shortstop, starting four contests. He did not do horribly, but like Gyorko he was just a fill-in at a position the Padres were desperate in getting production from. The Alexi Amarista and Clint Barmes experiment was a failure, as each are more suited for a utility role, rather than starting every day.

Will Middlebrooks is still only 27 years old. His future with the Padres is cloudy, but the team should retain him and stash him in the Minor Leagues. He could also be an attractive trade piece for a team looking for a right-handed, power hitting corner infielder. Do not be surprised if Middlebrooks is packaged with a player or two in a deal.

With Minor League options left ( I believe) and not due for free agency until the 2019 season, the Padres will likely tender him a contract and not release him. He still could develop and surely would have no trouble finding a job on a Major League roster if he were released. The Padres are not about to give up on a player who still has some value, all though the value might be minuscule. A.J. Preller knows that Middlebrooks provides the team with organizational depth.

Do not be surprised if you see a lot of Middlebrooks in the 2016 season. Players that fail a couple of time can come back with a vengeance. Hopefully he can finally put it all together and have a decent Major League career. Will Middlebrooks and his 2016 season mirrors the Padres uncertainty. There are many questions surrounding the Padres and Middlebrooks is merely one of the unanswered queries.

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