Monday, May 28, 2012
Would The White Sox Be Interested In Kevin Youkilis?
With the emergence of Will Middlebrooks at third base, and the decline of Kevin Youkilis, all signs point toward Boston deciding to part with Youkilis. Odds are, as long as Boston is willing to eat most of the $12 million he's due in 2012, there will be interest in him.
But will the White Sox be one of the teams interested in him, and should they be?
At the moment Orlando Hudson is filling in for Brent Morel, and frankly, I'm not sure Hudson should only be filling in for Brent Morel as much as replacing him entirely. What the second spot in the lineup had been for the first few weeks of the season, third base has been all year long.
Brent Morel, Eduardo Escobar and Brent Lillibridge -- the three men filling the third base spot before Hudson showed up -- have combined to hit .171 with no home runs, 7 RBI and only 5 extra-base hits. They would need to be the greatest defensive third baseman Hawk Harrelson had seen in all or parts of his seven decades in baseball to justify that frightening lack of power at a corner infield position.
And while Hudson has done a nice job and I'm touting him as this team's MVP -- we're undefeated in games he starts! -- Hudson isn't going to provide much power, either, and he's probably not going to get on base at a much higher clip than his .326 OBP the last three seasons in the long run.
Which makes Youkilis an intriguing option if the price isn't that high.
Now, Youkilis is not the same player he had been for the Red Sox in his 20s. A career .288 hitter, Youkilis saw his average drop to .258 in 2011. Still, even then, he had an OBP of .373 and lived up to the "Greek God of Walks" nickname.
This season he's battled injuries like he has most of the last few seasons, and is hitting only .250 with an OBP of .330 in 91 plate appearances. Not strong numbers by any means, and both are well below his career averages.
The question is, if he's healthy, will those number improve or not? And how much better would they actually need to be for him to be an upgrade for the White Sox at third base?
Personally, if we could be guaranteed that Youkilis would stay healthy the rest of the season, I'd be all for it as long as the price wasn't higher than a reliever or a prospect. Maybe one of the pitching prospects the Sox got in deals this offseason, as long as that prospect isn't named Nestor Molina.
The Red Sox have been interested in Gavin Floyd, but that price would be too high for my taste. Yes, Gavin has been terrible his last few starts, but he was great in April and he's just being Gavin Floyd.
Either way, opening a hole in your starting rotation to patch up third base isn't a good deal.
The problem is I highly doubt Youkilis can stay healthy. He hasn't played in more than 120 games in each of the last two seasons, and with Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn, it's not like the Sox could give him days off at designated hitter.
And doing so would only open the hole at third base the Sox are trying to fix in the first place.
That said, if I'm Kenny Williams, there's no harm in seeing what the Red Sox want for Youkilis. If the price isn't absurd, it could be a deal very much worth making for the White Sox, and if nothing else, it could drive the price for Youkilis up.
After all, another team that I'm sure will be showing interest in Youkilis is the Cleveland Indians.