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It’s difficult to watch a two-time World Series champion struggle to find his himself again.
Unfortunately for Kevin Youkilis, that’s where he is right now. He's had countless trade rumors swirling around him for the last two seasons involving a handful of clubs, combined with significant injuries that have sidelined him for prolong periods over the last few years. He struggles to get into deep counts and see good pitches, too.
Youkilis’s days in Boston may be numbered—as they should be, for any player in their mid-30s and showing regression.
Youkilis is hitting .215 this season in 135 at-bats, over 70 points lower than his nine-year career average in the big leagues. He’s also always been known as a hitter with a keen eye at the plate, able to draw plenty of walks throughout the course of his Major League and minor league careers. This year, though, Youkilis maintains a disappointing .301 on-base percentage—far from normal for him.
Youkilis has also struck out 39 times, which tells you a couple of things: He’s not seeing enough pitches at the plate on a regular bases and he is chasing bad pitches.
Having said all that, there seems to be no room at third base for Youkilis to play—especially with rookie Will Middlebrooks holding down the position and providing adequate defense. First base and DH are no options either, with Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz manning those spots.
Trading Youkilis seems to be the ideal solution for Boston at this point in time, with too many players and not enough room on the diamond.
After battling back all the criticism and dealing with everything that comes with playing in the pressure-pack environment that is Boston, Youkilis could be the ultimate “change-of-secenery” guy for a club looking for a discount on the slugger.
Even if he isn't drawing as many walks and seeing as many pitches as usual, it's hard to imagine that Youkilis has fallen completely off the cliff—especially considering the fact that he's not fully healthy. Getting out of New England may be the best career move for him right now. He would be able to hit the reset button—and at times, that can do amazing things for a player who has dealt with the adversity and troubles that Youkilis has.
The MLB Trading Deadline isn’t for another month, but look for Youkilis to be on the radar for a handful of clubs looking to get a discount for a historically patient hitter on his way back.