Time is now for Middlebrooks

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Time is now for Middlebrooks

"If Youk returns in a week and is ready to go, he plays third base. He's been here. It's great that Will has come up and done a good job and we like him a lot and he's a big part of our future. But Youk's on the DL and he didn't lose his job because he got hurt." Ben Cherington

One of the crazier and most unfortunate aspects of following this Red Sox team is that you never know who or what to believe. For instance, the fact Ben Cherington presented this ridiculous argument to Sean McAdam, doesn't mean that it's actually Cherington's opinion.

This is the same guy who stood before us last December and swore up and down that he was 100 percent behind the hiring of Bobby Valentine, when we knew all along that he wanted Dale Sveum. At that moment, Cherington proved that he had no problem playing Larry Lucchino's game, and was content to carry the GM title, even if it didn't come with the typical GM authority. And for a guy in Cherington's position, I can't say I blame him.

Who's going to turn down a chance to be the GM of the Red Sox?

Still, it was obvious very early that while Cherington was the face of the front office, there were others and one especially slimy other pulling the strings. So, when he makes a statement like the one above, it's only and always fair to wonder:

Who's really behind all this?

I say this because, deep down, I don't want to believe that Ben Cherington actually thinks that the Red Sox owe anything to Kevin Youkilis. That given everything that's gone on with this team, that Cherington could possibly think that blindly handing the starting third baseman's job back to Youk is anything but idiotic.

I want to believe that when Cherington provided this quote, he was tied up and blind-folded to a pole in Larry Lucchino's basement, as LL squealed in the background: "You tell them what's going on, Cherington. I just ordered 15,000 Youuuuuk t-shirts for the pro shop, and hell if I'm not turning a profit!"

Is there another plausible explanation?

Will Middlebrooks represents everything this team needs. Youkilis is everything they need to get away from. That's not very hard to see.

Now I can understand if we're having this conversation in the middle of July, and Middlebrooks has since comeback to Earth and clearly a little green for the MLB game. At that point, sure, give Youk another try. But to just pull the plug on Middlebrooks before seeing it through?

That's insane.

But that's the Red Sox.

We have no clue who's making the decisions, but they never cease to disappoint.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Red Sox avoid arbitration with Bogaerts, Holt with 1-year deals

Red Sox avoid arbitration with Bogaerts, Holt with 1-year deals

Facing a 1 p.m. Friday deadline to avoid arbitration, the Red Sox reportedly agreed to a one-year, $3.6 million deal with center field Jackie Bradley Jr., and also avoided hearings with six other players.

Shortstop Xander Bogaerts, utilityman Brock Holt, pitchers Joe Kelly, Robbie Ross Jr., Tyler Thornburgh and catcher Sandy Leon also agreed to one-year deals.

Terms of the deals were not announced.

It leaves left-handers Fernando Abad and Drew Pomeranz as the only arbitration-eligible Red Sox without a deal.  

Report: Bradley Jr. avoids arbitration, agrees to 1-year, $3.6M deal with Red Sox

Report: Bradley Jr. avoids arbitration, agrees to 1-year, $3.6M deal with Red Sox

Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley avoided arbitration and agreed to a one-year, $3.6 million deal with the team, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported.

Bradley, who turns 27 April 19, had his best season in 2016, hitting .267 with 26 homers and a league-best 29-game hitting streak. He also won his first Gold Glove. A Scott Boras client, Bradley isn’t eligible for free agency until 2020. 
 
Friday at 1 p.m. was the deadline to reach deals to avoid arbitration. 

Other arbitration-eligible Red Sox are infielders Xander Bogaerts and Brock Holt, left-handers Drew Pomeranz and Fernando Abad, right-handers Joe Kelly, Robbie Ross and Tyler Thornburg and catcher Sandy Leon.