Ben Cherington talked to the media for some time on Wednesday afternoon before the Boston Red Sox 5-1 loss to the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. According to multiple reports, several topics were touched upon, but the most interesting had to be the topic of Will Middlebrooks possibly playing winter ball instead of taking four months off during the offseason.
The oft-injured third baseman has yet to really show who he his due to inconsistent at-bats as well as several long-term injuries over the past couple of seasons.
If Middlebrooks really wants to show that he wants to be a part of the offensive attack in the coming seasons, then he would be wise to listen to the Red Sox front office, play more baseball and work on his swing prior to spring training.
According to ESPNBoston.com, ““Sure it’s frustrating for him,” Cherington said. “It’s frustrating for us to some degree because we know he has the talent to perform, the physical tools to do that. It hasn’t happened. He’s got to find himself as a major league hitter. We believe he will at some point.”
Since the start of the 2013 season, the 25-year-old has hit .211 in 556 plate appearances while walking just 31 times and striking out 153 times. The power has lacked with just a.375 slugging percentage and .639 OPS over that span. His last home run came back on April 26 against the Toronto Blue Jays, which is a staggering 145 at-bats.
With missing major time over the last two and a half seasons, Middlebrooks needs to show the Red Sox—as well as prove to himself—that he still has the raw right-handed power and talent to perform at the major league level, specifically in a big market like he did in 2012.
It would benefit both himself and the Red Sox if he takes on the responsibility of playing winter ball this offseason.