Reports: Padres to trade for Middlebrooks, sign Ross
The Padres keep on wheeling and dealing. According to the latest report from Jeff Passan of Yahoo!, San Diego will send catcher Ryan Hanigan, acquired from Tampa Bay in the Wil Myers trade, to Boston in exchange for third baseman Will Middlebrooks.
CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman reported another Padres move later Friday morning, tweeting that the Padres are on the verge of signing catcher David Ross.
The trade fills a need for both sides. The Red Sox were in need of a backup catcher, and Hanigan is a veteran backstop working on an affordable contract.
The Padres, meanwhile, needed help on the left side of their infield — they were projected to enter the season with Yangervis Solarte starting at third — and Middlebrooks could add even more right-handed power to their lineup.
Middlebrooks, 26, is coming off back-to-back disappointing seasons but he showed promise in 2012. As a rookie, Middlebrooks hit .288/.325/.509 with 15 homers in 75 games. In 157 games over the last two years, he’s hit just .213/.265/.364 with 19 homers and 168 strikeouts in 608 plate appearances.
Hanigan has battled injuries each of the past two years. He played in only 84 games for the Rays last year and 75 for the Reds in 2013. Last season, he hit just .218/.318/.324. He has consistently posted solid on-base percentages, with a .370 OBP from 2008-12 in Cincinnati.
Hanigan is set to make $3.5 million next year and $3.7 million in 2016 with a $3.75 million option for ’17 as part of a contract extension negotiated following his trade to the Rays last offseason. With Hanigan on the move, the Padres can start Derek Norris at catcher with Ross as the backup.
Ross, who will be 38 next year, hit just .184/.260/.368 in 50 games last season. He is generally well-regarded for his game-calling and his work defensively, making him a nice complement to the more offensive-minded Norris.
Middlebrooks, meanwhile, is arbitration-eligible in 2016 and can’t become a free agent until 2019. He was blocked in Boston by the recent signing of Pablo Sandoval.