First off, congratulations to the Chicago White Sox for managing to grab Kevin Youkilis for literally one penny on the dollar. They made their move at exactly the right moment in time, and were apparently the only team willing to offer a major-league player in exchange for Youkilis’ services. Word on the talk radio circuit out of Boston is that the next best offers were for a middling prospect at best. As much as I would love to kill Sox GM Ben Cherinton for this deal, it likely was the best he was going to get in the moment, and unfortunately, keeping Youkilis around would become a detriment not only to the Sox, but to Youkilis himself. With the emergence of Will Middlebrooks combined with the smörgåsbord return of outfielders that the Red Sox are undergoing, there just wasn’t a way for Bobby V. to get everyone on the field. Plus, too much thinking for Bobby V. could only lead to bad results on the field for the Sox. Something had to happen.
So Youkilis got Wally Pipped. It was so predictable, I had actually posted this on Twitter last month:
10:54 PM – 7 May 12
True enough, the Youkilis that fans had become accustomed to through the 2010 season had yet to make an appearance in 2012, but in large part that had to do with injuries. It also had a lot to do with Bobby V., who earlier this year called in to question Youkilis’ heart when he said that he didn’t think that Youkilis was “as physically or emotionally into the game” as he had been in the past. It was truly one of the dumbest statements ever made by a manager, and Youk’s teammates immediately defended him. Having watched him his entire career, I would emphatically state that along with Dustin Pedroia, they are the two guys who never give in. As evidence to this, consider his words regarding his infamous fight with Manny Ramirez in 2008. He said ‘it was different for Manny, every game wasn’t life or death for him.’ As a fan, I want the guy who treats every game like it’s life or death, and damn the consequences. The fact that his teammates are so willing to defend him says all that I need to know about him as a player.
Will Youkilis return to his 2008-10 form? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean that he won’t pick up the rest of the season. Even with his struggles in 2011-12, he still boasts a career .875 OPS (tied for 99th best all-time.) He is still only 33 years old. He has a contract to play for, whether it be the White Sox exercising their $13 million option for 2013, or a new multi-year deal someplace else. He has pride, and will want to prove that the Red Sox made a mistake in dealing him. As he has done throughout his career, I fully expect Youkilis to deliver, and help the White Sox to the A.L. Central Title.
Think Youk’s washed up? Did the Sox get hosed? Let me know what you think: