The time has come for Kevin Youkilis to move on.
The Red Sox will be paying $5.5 million of Youkilis' $12.5 million contract for 2012.
While the ends have been a foregone conclusion for weeks, the means are bittersweet.
Red Sox fans will miss Youk, even if the perception lately has been to the contrary. Here are 10 reasons why this will be the case.
Cliches out of the way, Kevin Youkilis was an excellent OBP guy.
He owns a career .388 OBP in 952 games.
While he was no Ted Williams, Youkilis does rank ahead of guys like Bernie Carbo, Alex Rodriguez and Willie Mays in lifetime OBP.
In 2007, Youkilis took home the American League Gold Glove award at first base.
The last first baseman to do so for the Boston Red Sox was George Scott in 1971. In 2007, Youk provided unparalleled defense with a .288 batting average, 16 home runs and 85 RBI.
As a healthy, contributing member of the Boston Red Sox, Kevin Youkilis has been highly regarded in the American League MVP debate.
Back in 2008 and 2009, he was a force to be reckoned with.
In those two seasons, he averaged a .306/.412/.556/.968 batting line with 28 home runs and 110 RBI. The production was definitely there for Boston and was never in question if he was healthy.
OK, maybe Youk was actually born in Cincinnati, OH, but the point is that he came up through the Boston Red Sox system.
He was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the eighth round of the 2001 draft.
Youk spent three full seasons in the minors developing before his 2004 call-up. Since then, he's been an important part of the Red Sox lineup day in and day out.
Not only was Kevin Youkilis an admirable man in the Sox lineup, he was also an admirable man in the Boston community, having founded "Youk's Hits For Kids."
Per the website, Youk’s Kids mission is to create a community of support, increase awareness and advocate for the health and well-being of children.
Growing up surrounded by the precious gifts of family, friends, community and religion, Kevin Youkilis has long been passionate about giving back to the community. Over the years, he has sought opportunities to make a difference and has participated in a variety of philanthropic efforts.
In 2007, he took his commitment to the next level and founded Youk’s Kids. Since its inception, Youk’s Kids has raised over two million dollars to support more than 1,000 children.
While the media may have perceived Youk to be a clubhouse cancer, recent reports show him to be quite the opposite.
Much like Drew Bledsoe coaching Tom Brady during the 2001 New England Patriots season, Youkilis has been helpful in the development of young third baseman Will Middlebrooks, the man Red Sox fans hope to become a star at third base.
While Red Sox fans were left with a bitter taste in their mouths when Manny Ramirez left town, things are obviously different in the case of Youk.
Ramirez was the type of player who would sit out a game if he was unhappy.
Youkilis would play any position necessary to get in a game.
Ramirez would cause issues behind the scenes.
Youkilis was cautiously perceptive of the media.
At the end of the day, the midseason trade of Ramirez was cheered. This trade of Youk is, as I've said, bittersweet.
The future is obvious in Middlebrooks, but it is sad to see a staple of the Red Sox lineup hit the road.
Kevin Youkilis was the 2008 American League Hank Aaron Award Recipient.
Per MLB.com, the Hank Aaron Award is awarded annually to the best overall offensive performer in both the American League and National League. Originally introduced in 1999 to honor the 25th anniversary of Hank Aaron breaking Babe Ruth's all-time home run record, the Hank Aaron Award was the first major award to be introduced in 30 years.
In the four seasons Youk has been able to contribute to the postseason effort, he's been exceptional.
Currently, he owns a .306/.376/.568/.944 career postseason batting line with six home runs and 17 RBI in 29 games.
That would equate to 34 home runs and 95 RBI if extended over 162 games. In other words, he's been really good in the post season.
It seems silly, but fans that have been watching Kevin Youkilis over the last nine seasons just sort of know what I mean.
Youkilis has been a heartbeat to a team that has lacked one at times.
He has been a hard nosed, dirt dawg for a team and a city that loves that type of player to a tee.
He's been everything fans want.
Now, unfortunately, there is a surplus of wants. That said, it has been a lot of fun watching Youk play in Boston over the past several years; though he's changing his Sox, his impact in Boston is undeniable.