Baseball lifers always have a fascination with the grizzled veteran types, the Michael Youngs (recently retired). Living in the past, veteran experience, savvy sometimes make a difference.
But usually talent and youth (over the intermediate term) prevail.
I couldn't care less about the private lives of baseball players. Whom they date, what they do on their days off don't matter to me. I care about what they do between the lines, their attitude towards their job, and both their potential and production. Will Middlebrooks has a serious 'hole' on breaking stuff (sliders) away. When Jacoby Ellsbury was a young player, it was the summer of 4 to 3, as inside hard stuff tied him up.
Middlebrooks may always be a high strikeout guy, but has anybody checked out Mike Napoli's 'K' totals? Middlebrooks is an adequate defender (obstruction aside) and can probably hit 25-30 homers with 75-85 RBI if the Sox can free themselves from the Stephen Drew "binky" and move on to a low salaried, player under control.
Maybe Middlebrooks is some kind of Hannibal Lecter, cancer in the clubhouse. I doubt it. He seems like an affable, articulate young guy, hungry to make his bones in the bigs. Sure, he struggled at times, but he also got hurt crashing into the padded wall going for a ball. Did he get Ellsburied by the Sox medical staff? I have no idea. Can we give the young guys a break?
I'm not saying that John Farrell and the 'brain trust' have to hand him the job. But let him fight for it, and see how it shakes out.
And if it doesn't work out for him, at least he seems to have a more than acceptable "parting gift".