San Diego sent catcher Ryan Hanigan, who was acquired from Tampa Bay in the Wil Myers trade, to Boston in exchange for third baseman Will Middlebrooks. CBSSports.com initially reported that the Padres are on the verge of signing free-agent catcher David Ross, though it later updated that Ross was still deciding between San Diego and the Cubs.
The trade with Boston filled a need for both clubs. The Red Sox are in search of a backup catcher, and Hanigan is a veteran backstop who is under contract through at least 2016.
The Padres, meanwhile, need help on the left side of their infield. They were projected to enter the season with Yangervis Solarte starting at third, and Middlebrooks could add right-handed power to their lineup.
Middlebrooks, 26, is coming off back-to-back disappointing seasons, but he showed promise as a rookie in 2012, when he hit .288/.325/.509 with 15 homers in 75 games. In 157 games over the past two seasons, he's hit just .213/.265/.364 with 19 homers and 168 strikeouts in 608 plate appearances.
Hanigan has battled injuries each of the past two seasons. He played in only 84 games for the Rays this year (hitting .218/.318/.324) and 75 for the Reds in 2013. He has consistently posted solid on-base percentages, with a .370 OBP in Cincinnati from 2008-12.
Hanigan is set to make $3.5 million next year and $3.7 million in 2016, with a $3.75 million option for '17 as part of a contract extension he negotiated following his trade to the Rays last offseason. With Hanigan on the move, the Padres can start newly acquired Derek Norris at catcher, with Ross serving as the backup.
Ross, who will turn 38 in March, hit just .184/.260/.368 in 50 games with Boston this season. He is generally well-regarded for his game-calling and his work defensively, which would make him a nice complement to the more offensive-minded Norris.
Middlebrooks will be arbitration-eligible in 2016, and he can't become a free agent until '19. He is blocked at third base in Boston after the recent signing of Pablo Sandoval.
Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.