After spending his entire MLB career with the Boston Red Sox, Kevin Youkilis was traded to the Chicago White Sox this past June. But last week the White Sox declined Youkilis' option for next year, and he now gets to test the free-agent market.
This year's free-agent crop isn't particularly strong, and a number of teams will be looking to add some veteran stability to their team.
Youkilis has the capability to play both first and third base, which makes his value even higher. There aren't any front-runners yet for Youkilis' services, but here are the four teams he's most likely to sign with this offseason.
Youkilis played for almost his entire career in Boston under manager Terry Francona. Francona is now with the Indians, who also happen to have holes to fill at both first base and designated hitter.
Cleveland is not exactly a glamorous landing spot for free agents, but Youkilis isn't the kind of player who would shy away from a team because of that.
He had a great relationship with Francona, and both men, along with the rest of the organization, would benefit from reuniting on the Indians.
The Phillies are too old, and it would not make them any younger if they sign Youkilis. But they are also void of a third baseman, and Ryan Howard has been hurt a lot at first base, so the match would make sense.
The Phillies are also caught up with a few huge contracts due to Howard, Chase Utley, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay, so Youkilis' asking price will be a big factor in whether or not Philadelphia is a legitimate option.
Youkilis is not the player he used to be, but he's still the best third baseman on the market right now. He is also a more-than-adequate first baseman, and his ability to play either position is a big plus for his value.
But the Mariners are really in need of a first baseman. They were one of the two teams with the worst first baseman production in the majors last year. Youkilis can still hit, proven by his .771 OPS with the White Sox this past season.
The other team with the worst first-baseman production last season? None other than the Miami Marlins, who just freed up a ton of salary after their blockbuster trade with the Toronto Blue Jays.
More than anything, the Marlins just need a little stability and leadership at this point, which Youkilis could be relied on for the next three or four seasons.
He wouldn't be a huge difference-maker at this point, but a team like the Marlins is looking to rebuild both their roster and their image, and Youkilis could be a big factor with that.