Kevin Youkilis Trade Will Kill the Boston Red Sox in July

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Kevin Youkilis Trade Will Kill the Boston Red Sox in July
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The Boston Red Sox have crept back into contention and now trail the Baltimore Orioles by 1.5 games for the second wild-card position. 

Boston fans might be excited by the prospect of Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford and Andrew Bailey returning to the prominent roles they were expected to play.

Certainly a number of players including starters David Ortiz and Jarrod Saltalamacchia have performed admirably, as have guys who were anticipated to be minor role players like Mike Aviles, Daniel Nava, Will Middlebrook, Alfredo Aceves, Scott Atchison, Matt Albers, Vicente Padilla, Rich Hill and Andrew Miller.  

Some might say the emergence of Middlebrook forced Boston to move Kevin Youkilis. I do not agree and believe they will especially rue trading him within the American League to another playoff contender, the White Sox.

I eagerly await Youkilis' return to Fenway for a four game series July 16-19, when he faces the Red Sox relievers in the clutch.

Youkilis' OPS ( on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) is 2,000 versus Aceves, 1,396 versus Padilla, 1,091 versus Albers, 2,667 versus left-hander Hill and 1,291 cumulatively versus active Boston pitchers.

Let me present more of the July schedule.

Boston faces the Yankees seven times during the month, which is good fortune in light of the Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia injuries.

However, Sabathia will likely return for the series at the end of the month; Youkilis has a career OPS of 1,189 versus Sabathia, while the rest of Boston's hitters have a cumulative 675 against him. Boston will likely see David Robertson several times: Youkilis carries an 801 career OPS against him, while the rest of Boston hitters have attained only 647.

Mid-month there is a series in Tampa Bay, and David Price will likely face the Sox. While Youkilis is a career 810 OPS against Price, the rest of the team is a modest 758 against him.

There is a three-game series at Texas, and the Red Sox will likely face Matt Harrison. Youkilis possesses a 970 career OPS versus Harrison, while the rest of Boston's hitters have struggled to only 625, including Ortiz going six-of-12 against Harrison.

There is a three-game series versus Toronto, and look for them to face Aaron Laffey, who recently shut them out. Youkilis has a career 1,000 OPS against Laffey, while the rest of Red Sox hitters are only 700.

Boston will likely confront Ricky Romero again, someone they pounded last night. Romero has slumped of late. But his career OPS versus Boston hitters is a stifling 698, while against Youkilis, he has sustained a 1,336 pounding.

At the end of the month, the Red Sox will face Justin Verlander, who has dominated Boston hitters to the tune of a 616 OPS allowed—Youkilis is 769 against him.

I am suggesting that Boston will lose many of these games in Youkilis' absence. Perhaps the reader is skeptical. Let me conclude by providing the most remarkable exhibit I have ever seen relative to sports analytics.

 

Year    Won/Loss Youkilis Starts     W/L Youkilis Out      Difference

******************************************************************************

2006         77-67, .535                         9-9,  .500                 +35

2007         83-53, .610                      13-13, .500                +110

2008         85-57, .599                      10-10, .500                + 99

2009         80-55, .593                      15-12, .555                + 38    

2010         56-43, .566                      33-30, .524                + 42

2011         67-53, .558                      23-19, .548                + 10

2012         22-19, .536                      18-16, .529                +  7

***************************************************************************

TOTAL    470-347, .575                  121-109, .526               + 49

 

I have never observed, in any professional sport, a player's starting presence having a positive impact on team win percentage for seven consecutive years.

Certainly, the differences diminished in Youkilis' past two injury-plagued seasons, but nevertheless, the team was still better with him in the lineup. I believe as early as July the Boston fans will come to an even greater appreciation of just how special a player Youkilis was here in Boston.

I, for one hope, he has a similar impact on his new team.

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