Will Middlebrooks

Will Middlebrooks: 'I'm curious to see what's going to happen'

Rob Bradford
December 05, 2014 - 5:29 pm
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PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic -- Will Middlebrooks knew he could give the company line when addressing a small group of media at the David Ortiz Celebrity Golf Classic Friday -- just working on getting ready for 2015. But Middlebrooks understands that when your team signs a player to man your position for at least the first portion of a five-year, $95 million deal, there's no such thing as turning a blind-eye. Pablo Sandoval is the Red Sox third baseman, leaving Middlebrooks searching for some clarity. "I'€™m not really sure what the future holds," he said. "I know the cliche thing to say is that I'€™m just going to focus on next season and getting healthy. But, of course I want to know what'€™s going to happen. I want to know if I'€™m going to have a job or not. I understand the moves they had to make. From the organization that we are, we have to win next year, everyone knows that. So of course we had to make some moves. I was hurt last year, and have been hurt a lot, and you can'€™t rely on that." What is has left is an uncertain offseason for Middlebrooks, who continues to train in the Dallas area. He has yet to play in more than 94 big league games, coming off a '14 campaign in which his final totals included 63 games, a .191 batting average and just two home runs. "It'€™s not going to be pleasant," he said of his dip down the organizational depth chart. "It'€™s not enjoyable to be replaced, but, like I said, I understand. I'€™m trying to look at the big picture from the organization, too. But then selfishly I say, '€˜What about me? What'€™s going to happen to me?'€™ I want to stay in Boston. I want to play in Boston. Everybody wants to play in Boston, or this type of market. There doesn'€™t seem like there'€™s a place for me now, so I have no idea what'€™s going to happen. All I can do is just get ready, have a good spring and see what happens." In terms of finding major league playing time in 2015, Middlebrooks knows his best chance might come as part of another organization. Third base is a relatively thin position throughout baseball, especially when looking for players who can hit with some kind of pop. (It should be noted that San Francisco was in scouting Middlebrooks in September, preparing for the possibility of Sandoval moving on.) "I don'€™t want to go anywhere. I came up here," he said. "And I know it'€™s pretty rare for someone to stay in one place their whole career, I understand that. But I'€™m still going to try to. Am I fitting this mold right now? I don'€™t really fit in the mix right now. But it'€™s a long time until April. I just have to worry about me right now and just try and be the best Will Middlebrooks I can be." Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington did call Middlebrooks the day after Sandoval signed, although there wasn't much the GM could relay that would add peace of mind to the 26 year old. "It'€™s kind of blurry right now," said Middlebrooks of his immediate future. "He can'€™t give me a definite answer. They don'€™t know. I'€™m not in the front office and I don'€™t know what their plans are, but obviously there are still some holes to fill. I'€™m not saying I'€™m going to be the mix of it, but I could be. I'€™m sure that'€™s a possibility." One avenue Middlebrooks is open to exploring is playing a new position, such as first base. Although Mike Napoli is entrenched at first through 2015, it would seem to be a better opportunity than what he is facing with Sandoval blocking him across the diamond. "Absolutely," said Middlebrooks when asked about being willing to make a position switch to first. "We haven'€™t talked about that. I would imagine that is a possibility. But right now we have a really good first baseman. If I happen to move into a utility role and help out wherever needed, that'€™s fine. I would love to stay here. I want to play here. But it'€™s a business and there'€™s that of things. I'€™m curious to see what'€™s going to happen." As for the notion that playing winter ball might have enhanced his stock within the organization, Middlebrooks points to the fact his hand hasn't fully healed as proof that not participating was the right call. "It'€™s moving in the right direction," said Middlebrooks of the right hand injury. "It'€™s not where I want it to be. I think it was a good idea that we didn'€™t go play Winter Ball, because even at this point I feel I wouldn'€™t be in a game. I could go out and take BP. Would it be sore? Yeah. Could I play? Yeah. But this isn'€™t September or October in the big leagues. It wouldn'€™t be good for me."

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