According to CBSSports.com, Kevin Youkilis became a potential trade target for the Chicago White Sox a few weeks ago. But recently, Youkilis' numbers have been dismal and the White Sox have lost interested, per CBSSports.com. That's a reasonable turn for the White Sox.
The Boston Red Sox third baseman wasn't doing very well in the first two months of the season. He had been hitting .250 with an on-base percentage of just .318 and a slugging percentage that had just edged up to .406 at the end of May.
His numbers went from bad to abysmal in June. Youkilis has jsut two extra-base hits for the month (both doubles) and a slash line of .128/.279/.179. Before going 1-for-3 against the Chicago Cubs on Sunday, Youkilis had been hitless in six straight games.
By far, Youkilis is having the worst year of his career in 2012. He has a slash line of .215/.303/.340 and has only walked 13 times this season (once every 11.76 plate appearances). The man known as "The Greek God of Walks" had never drawn a walk less often than every 10.02 plate appearances prior to this season, and had walk rates better than once every eight plate appearances in seven of his last eight seasons in the majors.
His decline is a predictable one as his bWAR has gone down in each of the last three seasons (6.3 in 2009, 5.1 in 2010, 3.7 in 2011 and -0.2 in 2012).
In 2011, the then 32-year-old had a .833 OPS, down from .975 the year before. That's due to a 38-point drop in on-base percentage (from .411 in 2010 to .373 in 2011) and two fewer home runs to go with an added 69 at-bats.
What makes the decision for the White Sox to turn their eyes away from Youkilis even easier is his large salary. Youkilis makes $12 million this season and could be given a $13 million option next year. If the team with which he finishes the season decides not to retain him, they'd have to hand him a $1 million dollar buyout.
If the White Sox stay in contention, they wouldn't be that interested in taking on such a large salary, even for the last couple months of the season. Despite the team's current status as contenders, Kenny Williams surely doesn't want to saddle the team with too much extra money on the payroll.
The White Sox haven't been able to get much production out of the players they've put at third base this season. Brent Morel hit poorly before hurting his back, and Orlando Hudson hasn't been much better. Still, the 33-year-old wouldn't help the situation, especially when one considers his recent performance.
The White Sox's problem at third base may persist without another hard look at Youkilis. To work with what they currently have would be more cost effective and less risky than trading for Youkilis.
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