Three teams have emerged as primary suitors for the services of Kevin Youkilis.
Previously, it was believed to be the Arizona Diamondbacks and Philadelphia Phillies. However, the Los Angeles Dodgers have emerged as a team that is extremely interested in the Greek God of Walks. This actually makes the most sense of out all the possible landing spots for Kevin Youkilis.
In Arizona, names like Gerardo Parra and Joe Saunders have been thrown around as bait for him. In Philly, Joe Blanton's name has been tied into the rumors. None of which will satiate the rabid fans in Boston in exchange for a player they have a love/hate relationship with.
The Fenway Faithful love him when he is hitting and playing well. When he's injured and speculation swirls around about him being a "cancer" in the clubhouse, fans hate him.
So much for loyalty. Youkilis embodies the same dirt dog mentality and style of play as a beloved former member of the Red Sox, Trot Nixon. Both players would run through a wall for the team. At times, both have.
Nevertheless, the Red Sox do not have a spot for Youkilis to play. Rookie Will Middlebrooks has proven himself to be major league ready, and Adrian Gonzalez is the Sox $154 million man.
On the flip side, the Dodgers have a need in two areas. Jerry Hairston is playing third for the injured Juan Uribe, and James Loney is a lesser player than Youk across the board.
That said, the offensive boost Youk could bring the Dodgers, especially in the absence of Matt Kemp, would be significant.
Hairston, while playing out of his mind right now, is a career .260 batter whose best offensive year came in 2008 for the Cincinnati Reds.
Uribe is only a career .253 batter who has the potential of giving you 20 home runs and 80 RBI, though he's only accomplished that feat once in his 11 previous seasons, coming close three other times.
Loney's contract is up at the end of the season. True, he can offer 10 homers and 80 RBI as he's done three times previously in his career, Youkilis is a more refined hitter and Gold Glove first baseman who can offer 23 home runs and 97 RBI over the course of 162 games.
If you put his bat in the middle of a healthy lineup, the Dodgers' offense will be close to unstoppable.
In turn, the Dodgers have what the Red Sox want: pitching. The asking price may be steep, in the form of a Chad Billingsley, Chris Capuano or Aaron Harang but could also be for two top tier prospects. If the Dodgers are looking to win this year, it may be a deal worth considering.
The idea of losing a starting pitcher may not float among Dodger fans right now, so the more likely deal would rest with prospects that both teams were comfortable with.
There are several ways these two teams could reach a deal. Certainly one that would make fans of both teams happy in the short and long term.
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