MLB Trade Rumors: 6 Teams That Could Be Last-Second Kevin Youkilis Suitors
Despite a less-than-impressive stat line of .216/.299/.345, 4 HR, 13 RBI this season, third base is a premium position these days, and a number of teams could view Youkilis as an upgrade.
With Adrian Gonzalez struggling at the plate since his move to right field and outfielders Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury expected back at some point this summer, dealing Youkilis would rectify a situation that looks to be headed for a logjam.
Here is a look at the field of potential suitors for the 33-year-old former All-Star, including some teams who could come forward at the last minute, as we move closer to what appears to be an imminent deal.
One of the Diamondbacks' breakout performers last season, Ryan Roberts, hit .249 BA, 19 HR, 65 RBI and 18 SB as he settled in as the team's everyday third baseman.
However, with his power numbers down this season (4 HR) and an unacceptable on-base percentage (.291) the Diamondbacks could stand to upgrade the position.
B/R Diamondbacks FC Gil Imber discussed why a Youkilis-to-the-Diamondbacks trade appears to be a long shot at the moment, but as it stands, they remain one of the teams Youkilis is currently linked to.
Chicago White Sox
The White Sox entered the season hoping the 25-year-old Brent Morel could build off of a terrific final month (8 HR, 19 RBI) in 2011 and lock down the third base job.
Instead, he struggled mightily (.177 BA, 0 HR, 5 RBI in 35 games) before hitting the disabled list with a strained back.
That led the White Sox to sign discarded Padres infielder Orlando Hudson, but he has not been any better (.167 BA, 1 HR, 10 RBI in 25 games).
It comes as no surprise, then, that the White Sox are among the teams that have been reported to have interest in Youkilis, and with Chicago ranking as a surprise competitor, they could certainly stand to upgrade at the hot corner.
The Indians have been inconsistent this season, but with the Tigers falling short of expectations to this point, they currently sit a half-game ahead of the White Sox in the AL Central.
Veteran Jack Hanrahan (.267 BA, 3 HR, 18 RBI) is terrific defensively, and youngster Lonnie Chisenhall (.250 BA, 3 HR, 6 RBI) remains the team's future at the hot corner, but neither player is a particularly solid option at the moment.
Youkilis could also make sense as an addition at first base, where free-agent addition Casey Kotchman (.228 BA, 6 HR, 27 RBI) has struggled to match his breakout-season numbers of last year.
Cleveland showed interest in Youkilis when they scouted him during his minor league rehab assignment, and while there hasn't been much in the way of rumors linking him to the team, since he still makes sense, as they could stand to upgrade at both corners.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers currently have the best record in baseball, and they have done it without their superstar Matt Kemp for much of the season.
Despite their impressive start, they still have a few roster holes and could stand to improve at the deadline with some particular additions.
The biggest of those could be at third base, where Juan Uribe (.238 BA, 1 HR, 11 RBI) has been a continual disappointment since joining the Dodgers.
With a new ownership group in place, the Dodgers seem as likely as anyone to make a splash at the deadline this season. They reportedly scouted Youkilis on Tuesday, which only backs up their previously reported interest in the third baseman, and they should be considered one of the frontrunners to acquire him.
The Phillies have struggled with injuries to superstars Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and more recently Roy Halladay on their way to a 32-37 record so far this season.
Offense has been their biggest issue so far this season, and while Placido Polanco is a solid veteran, he doesn't have prototypical third baseman pop with a .280 BA, 2 HR, 13 RBI line.
On the other side of the diamond, Ty Wigginton (.244 BA, 7 HR, 29 RBI) and Jim Thome (.250 BA, 4 HR, 14 RBI) have been unimpressive replacing Howard.
The Phillies have been identified as one of the favorites for Youkilis, and if they were to land him, they could potentially move Polanco to second base, where they recently lost Freddy Galvis to a 50-game suspension.
While he has gone on power surges at times and has 12 HR and 34 RBI on the season, Pedro Alvarez has struggled to a .214 batting average this season.
He is looking more and more like a bust, and with the Pirates in contention and desperately in need of an offensive upgrade, trading for Youkilis would make a lot of sense.
The Pirates have inquired about the availability of Youkilis already, and after taking a chance on A.J. Burnett this offseason, they could return to the AL East for another high-priced disappointment capable of turning things around.