Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox: What Happened in Boston?

 

Wednesday June 27th, 2012


Bernie Olshansky: The end of the road in Boston has finally been reached for third baseman Kevin Youkilis. But why? He was so productive a few years ago and he could have continued to contribute to the Red Sox lineup. Unfortunately for Youk, he simply got passed up.

At the start of this year, Youkilis was all set to start at third and have a productive season. To his dismay, he has been a little bit banged up this year, giving rising star Will Middlebrooks an opportunity to shine. And shine he did, as Middlebrooks hit a grand slam as his first Major League home run and immediately contributed to the struggling Red Sox lineup, with Jacoby Ellsbury out and Adrian Gonzalez not himself. Middlebrooks did everything he could to win himself a lineup spot as he squeezed out Youkilis.

The Red Sox knew that Middlebrooks would be their long-term third baseman. He’s already been adjusted to the majors, so with Adrian Gonzalez manning first base and Papi as the DH, there was no place for Youkilis. With this in mind, the Red Sox planned do to what any club would do, and that was to shop him. Fortunately for the Red Sox, many teams were in need of a third baseman and should have been willing to pay a premium. The team that won the Youkilis sweepstakes was the White Sox. I don’t know if you could classify trading two mediocre unproven youngsters for an established star as a win—maybe a rout. The White Sox basically got away with murder in this trade. Brent Lillibridge—the first acquisition in the trade is hitting .186, not exactly the average you’d want to fill the void in the roster where a guy who hit .312 with 29 homers and 115 RBI once was. The other guy involved in the trade was pitcher Zach Stewart. Although young and with a lot of room for improvement, he carries a 1-2 record with a 6.00 ERA.

And, not only do the White Sox get Youkilis, they also only have to pay two million of the remaining seven point eight million dollars of his contract. The Red Sox obviously had no use for Youk, so they wanted to get something out of nothing, but this? They probably could’ve gotten more from some other club, but maybe it was just White Sox general manager Kenny Williams working his magic.

The White Sox definitely needed some help in the third baseman department. Their current third baseman—Brent Morel is hitting an ice-cold .177 and newly acquired Orlando Hudson hitting .167. Almost anything is an improvement to this lineup, so Youkilis is a luxury. This was the perfect trade for the White Sox. There is going to be a renewed optimism on Chicago’s south side.

The sad part about the trade is Kevin Youkilis’ Red Sox career. He had many great seasons with Boston, including winning the World Series in 2007. In 2008 he had that season of a .312 average with 29 homers and 115 RBI despite only playing 145 games. There’s no doubt he’ll be missed in Beantown, but he was definitely ready to leave. Now Youk will be playing every day helping the now-potent offense of Paul Konerko, Alex Rios, and the resurgent Adam Dunn.

Although it’s a sad situation for everyone involved on the Boston side (maybe with the exception of management), Youkilis is all set for a nice renaissance in Chicago with the first place White Sox. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a nice raise in the average and power numbers after the All Star Break—all depending upon his health.

***Today’s feature was prepared by Bernie Olshansky, MLB reports Intern & Facebook Administrator.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Bernie on Twitter (@BernieOlshansky)***

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About bernieolshansky

Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’ve experienced some exciting times with the local baseball teams—the Giants winning the World Series being the most memorable highlight. Some of my favorite players include Felix Hernandez, Tim Lincecum, and Cliff Lee among others. I played baseball up through my freshman year of high school and transitioned into being a full time fan. I regularly attend major and minor league games when I have free time. I enjoy working at a baseball store. I’m in my senior year of high school and hope to major in Journalism or Sports Administration in college. Follow Bernie on Twitter (@BernieOlshansky).

Posted on June 27, 2012, in MLB Player Profiles and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox: What Happened in Boston?.

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