Tag: Will Middlebrooks

olivera getty

Report: Cuban free agent infielder Hector Olivera likely to pick a team by Wednesday


The situation involving Cuban free agent infielder Hector Olivera has taken some interesting turns over the past month or so, with a report that he has potential ulnar collateral ligament damage in his elbow to him bringing on a new agent after he officially hit free agency, but it looks like the process is finally moving toward a resolution…

This confirms a report from CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, who heard from Olivera’s agent, Greg Genske, that a deal should happen “soon.” Of course, we’ve heard that before with this situation.

From all accounts, the 29-year-old Olivera is someone who should be able to contribute in the majors right away. He’d most likely be a third baseman with the Dodgers or Padres. Juan Uribe is the current projected starter with Los Angeles while Yangervis Solarte and Will Middlebrooks are competing for the job with San Diego.

The Padres’ offseason moves may not guarantee the playoffs, but they certainly guarantee enthusiasm

San Diego Padres Logo

The Padres had had a busy winter already, but the signing of James Shields last night pushes it toward the ridiculous. If they get Cole Hamels, everyone in San Diego may plotz. Heck, they may plotz anyway after acquiring Matt Kemp, Derek Norris, Justin Upton, Wil Myers, Brandon Morrow Will Middlebrooks, Shawn Kelley, Brandon Maurer Josh Johnson and now Shields. It’s a totally different team than it was last year.

Is it a better team? Almost certainly. Even if Matt Kemp continues to have injury issues and Justin Upton remains the good-but-not-as-good-as-people-thought-he’d-one-day-be player from his early days in Arizona, the offense is improved. If Kemp looks like he did in the second half last year and Wil Myers rebounds to his rookie form, all bets are off. Shields provides them with a near-certain 200+ above average and, occasionally, excellent innings. The team is much stronger than it’s been.

That doesn’t mean Padres fans should start setting aside money for playoff ticket deposits yet, of course. There are a lot of uncertainties here. The new hitters conquering Petco Park is not a given, even if they are healthy. Shields has a lot of miles on the odometer. The Padres were just a 77-win team last year and, as history has shown, making 15-20 game improvements in a single season is not an easy trick. Ask the 2013 Blue Jays and 2012 Marlins how adding a bunch of big pieces in a single offseason can go.

But there is definitely reason for excitement in San Diego. For one thing, all of these additions came at a relatively limited cost. The Padres did not give up any of their top prospects to acquire the talent they got and, even if you include Shields’ deal, none of the financial outlays for the new players are particularly crazy. The future has not been mortgaged for a one-year improvement. Indeed, this could just be a year in which the Padres makes a nice little competitive surge that gets the fan base excited with a more traditional and sustained improvement on the horizon.

And that’s pretty key with this franchise. The fan base excitement. The Padres have had some successful seasons over the years, but they were somewhat isolated and never came by virtue of ownership opening up the safe and truly investing in the team. Before this offseason, their biggest-ever free agent deal was Joaquin Freakin’ Benoit, for crying out loud.

A lot of Padres fans I know — some I met as recently as back in December at the Winter Meetings — would’ve never believed that the team would be as active in the offseason as they have been this year. That Padres brass would do the sorts of things to stir up some excitement and get the Padres faithful to shell out for tickets and merch with the level of enthusiasm they are likely to this spring.

Maybe what the Padres did this winter is not enough to make the playoffs — the Giants and Dodgers aren’t going anywhere any time soon, after all — but they have certainly taken some much needed steps to kick up some excitement in San Diego.

Report: Padres sign James Shields to a four-year contract

James Shields

James Shields has finally signed a contract at long last. SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo reports that the right-hander has signed a four-year deal in the $72-76 million range. There is a fifth-year club option as well, and the contract is pending a physical.

The Padres had been rumored to be the heavy favorite to land Shields. GM A.J. Preller has put what appears to be the finishing touch on an off-season overhaul in which he’s added Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, Will Middlebrooks, Derek Norris, Brandon Morrow, Brandon Maurer, and Shawn Kelley.

Shields, 33, will jump atop the Padres’ rotation along with Andrew Cashner. He’ll be looking to build off of a solid campaign with the Royals in which he finished with a 3.21 ERA and a 180/44 K/BB ratio in 227 innings, helping the club reach the World Series for the first time since 1985.

Clint Barmes is a Padres hipster

Clint Barmes

Clint Barmes signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Padres on December 3, just before Padres GM A.J. Preller completely overhauled the roster. Here’s a look at what happened in San Diego after he signed, per MLB.com’s transactions page:

  • December 18: Padres acquire outfielder Matt Kemp in a trade with the Dodgers, and catcher Derek Norris in a trade with the Athletics
  • December 19: Padres acquire outfielder Justin Upton in a trade with the Braves, outfielder Wil Myers in a trade with the Rays, and sign free agent pitcher Brandon Morrow
  • December 20: Padres acquire third baseman Will Middlebrooks in a trade with the Red Sox
  • December 29: Padres acquire pitcher Shawn Kelley in a trade with the Yankees
  • December 30: Padres acquire pitcher Brandon Maurer in a trade with the Mariners
  • January 7: Padres sign free agent pitcher Josh Johnson

Barmes was aware the Padres were looking to improve, but not like that. Via MLB.com’s Thomas Harding:

“Being one of the earlier guys to sign over there, you hear from the GM that they’re going to try to make these trades and sign these guys,” Barmes said Saturday before working with a large group of boys and girls from Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska at the Clint Barmes Top of the Nation Baseball Clinic in Greeley, Colo. “It happens every year. You hear a lot of that. But to have a guy do what he’s done has been pretty impressive.

“My agent said they were focusing on making some changes and bringing guys in. It’s definitely going to be exciting.”

As Harding says, Barmes joined the Padres before it was cool.

Barmes, 36 in March, will serve in a back-up role for the Padres. He hit a meager .245/.328/.294 in 116 plate appearances last season with the Pirates, but provides versatility with his ability to play any position in the infield.