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Red Sox are reluctant to deal Middlebrooks, and here's why

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The Red Sox have been receiving decent trade interest in recent days in third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who's on injury rehab following his slow start in Boston. But while he looks like a logical trade candidate who may benefit from a change of scenery, Red Sox people are said to seem quite reluctant to deal Middlebrooks.

There could be two reasons for this. The first one is fairly obvious. Middlebrooks, only 25, has big power and it isn't easy to come by power bats in baseball these days.

The other possible reason involves a bit more supposition. Middlebrooks, if he can show something in the second half, could be seen as a possible piece in case Boston tries to make a run at Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton.

While it would obviously take much, much more than Middlebrooks to form any semblance of a trade offer for Stanton -- Middlebrooks was batting .197 when he went out with an injured finger; he's currently at Triple-A Pawtucket on rehab assignment -- the Marlins are thought to have had some interest in Middlebrooks at some point last winter.

Stanton would be a perfect fit for the Red Sox, who badly need better production from their outfield. Putting Middlebrooks aside, they also have among the best collection of prospects in baseball, in addition to a glut of young infielders, putting them in good position on the chance the Marlins entertain trades for Stanton in wintertime.

If he can look like the guy who posted an .835 OPS in his rookie season, that scenario might not be quite as far-fetched as it seems.

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