Perhaps Major League Baseball needs a "Sudden Retirement of the Year" award.
Unfortunately for Cardinal fans, retirement has become a touchy subject after Cardinals first baseman Lance Berkman injured his surgically repaired right knee while stretching to receive a throw from shortstop Rafael Furcal Saturday in Los Angeles.
The organization wasted no time calling up young slugger Matt Adams, who batted seventh on Sunday. Adams has been dominating the Pacific Coast League for the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds (.340/9/27). The Cardinals also had a potential replacement in Allen Craig, except he is also hobbled.
Adams may possibly be the long-term answer at first, but the Cards would be wise to acquire a veteran replacement who can immediately step in to provide an impact and settle down the middle of the lineup. That could be the Red Sox's Kevin Youkilis.
With Matt Holliday primarily batting third, the Cards need a legitimate clean-up bat. While "Youk" appears to have declined, he still has extra-base power and a great eye, which the team needs.
In addition to the injured Craig, Carlos Beltran has been moving gingerly the past few games, trying to go easy on his knees. David Freese, who struck out four times in all four at bats last night, is in the middle of an ice-cold streak. At this time, no batter on the team seems like a good fit for the clean-up spot.
Even in a poor 2011 season, Youkilis still had an .833 OPS. The Red Sox are already in the process of grooming their future third baseman, and with Adrian Gonzalez at first, they might be ready to move the lifetime Sox mainstay.
With Berkman in the midst of just a one-year deal, Youkilis would provide the perfect stop-gap solution while the team gets Adams up to speed to be the regular in 2013.
The Cardinals have made a habit, recently, of helping veteran players collect World Series rings. It would be sweet irony if "Youk" helped take the Cards back to the postseason—perhaps adding another ring to his own collection.
John Mozeliak, make the call.
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