For the better portion of the last three seasons, Sox fans have had to deal with the frustrations of third baseman Kevin Youkilis, whose “in and out of the lineup” reputation grows with every 0-for-4 day at the plate.
Youkilis was known as an incredibly selective hitter for most of his professional career coming up the ranks and for his first five major league seasons.
Between 2007 and 2010, Youkilis averaged a .400 OBP, 22.75 home runs and 88.5 RBI per season, providing key hits in the playoffs and helping the Red Sox win the 2007 World Series as an integral part of the offense.
Between 2009 and 2011, however, Youkilis missed 128 regular season games and has appeared in 28 games this season while battling with a variety of injuries that have hampered him in recent years.
Therefore, the prospect of trading Youkilis isn’t the craziest thing in the world. He turned 33 in March and has battled countless injuries.
However, considering his age and $12 million price tag, there are fewer suitors than expected for a disciplined hitter such as Youkilis. According to NESN’s Jen Slothower, the short list of teams interested in Youkilis include the Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies and Arizona Diamondbacks.
General manager Ben Cherington commented in the same source, saying that the only talks involving the 33-year-old are “ones other teams are starting.”
Moving Youkilis is more about solidifying positions around the diamond than about adding something in particular.
With rookie Will Middlebrooks holding down the hot corner, Adrian Gonzalez locked in financially at first base and a carousel of an outfield expecting starters to return at some point in the near future, the odds that Youkilis remains with the Red Sox by the turn of the trade deadline grow thinner and thinner with every trade rumor.
As hard as it may be for fans and Youkilis to go their separate ways, it’s becoming more of a reality as each day passes.