Boston Red Sox: Intriguing Non-Tender Targets

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Sep 11, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Boston Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks (16) connects for a one run single in the third inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

It is always easier to find buy-low pitching targets than hitters. Pedro Alvarez and Tyler Flowers were the most notable position players to be non-tendered on Wednesday. With catcher, first base and third base depth not really an issue, and both likely to get major league offers, I cannot see the Red Sox being involved with either guy.

With solid power and elite pitch framing ability, I think Flowers could be a nice value as a catcher. The Red Sox simply do not need a catcher. I suppose I would not mind a scenario where they cut ties with Ryan Hanigan and bring in Flowers to be the primary back-up to Blake Swihart, but that seems unnecessary. Flowers will have plenty of options out there, and someone will be happy with their decision to sign him.

Will Middlebrooks, 3B

The one non-tendered position player who makes sense for the Red Sox is a familiar face. After trading him to the San Diego Padres last off season, Will Middlebrooks continued to struggle offensively, hitting .212/.241/.361. That is three consecutive extremely poor offensive seasons for Middlebrooks.

His days as a promising prospect in the Red Sox system are far behind him, but this was once an extremely talented player. It was not that long ago when Middlebrooks was considered to the best prospect in the Red Sox system, before making an impressive debut in 2012. He hit .288/.325/.506 with 15 home runs in 75 games in 2012, but his numbers have drastically declined since then.

I am not saying that Middlebrooks will ever get back to the promising player he once was. In fact, it is nearly impossible that he ever does so. That being said, the talent was elite at one time. Perhaps it is still there, even at a more limited level?

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Middlebrooks will undoubtedly have to settle for a minor league contract this off season. It’s not like the Red Sox are loaded with incredible options at third base. Why not see if getting Middlebrooks back in a familiar system gets his career on track? I know, it’s unlikely, but there is literally no downside.