Thursday, November 1, 2012
Sox Will Try To Bring Youkilis Back
The White Sox declined Kevin Youkilis' option for 2013 earlier this week, but that doesn't mean they won't be trying to bring him back to the south side next season.
Rick Hahn told Waddle and Silvy on Thursday that the Sox will pursue Youkilis as a free agent this winter.
"I had a real good conversation with Kevin when we informed him we were declining the option the other day," Hahn said. "This is the first time Kevin has had a chance to be out on the open market, and he's got a young family out on the west coast, and he wants to explore what's out there.
"But he knows there is no confusion in his mind about our desire to bring him back. So we're going to stay on that, stay in communication. It's not a great time to be a club in the free-agent market looking for a third baseman, the player pool is not real deep, so I expect Kevin will be popular, but we're going to be in on that until the end, I think."
Personally I'm hoping the two sides can't work out a deal. Youkilis was an upgrade over what the Sox had at third base for the first two and a half months, but even though he got off to a hot start, he wasn't exactly a revelation through the end of the season. Youkilis definitely had a higher OBP and slugging percentage with the Sox, but in September he hit only .219/.306/.344 as the Sox limped to the finish line.
Defensively Youkilis proved capable of fielding anything hit to him, much like Paul Konerko. However, his range is no where near as great as it used to be and he can only be described as an average defender at best. Baseball Reference listed his dWar with the Sox at -0.1. Fangraphs had Youkilis at -3.3 UZR and -6.5 UZR/150 at third base.
So, honestly, I'd rather see another option at third base next season. Admittedly, the crop of free agents at third is rather thin this winter, but I think the Sox could move Gavin Floyd somewhere in a trade for a third baseman.
In the same interview, Hahn also addressed AJ Pierzynski's free agency. He said there's a chance Pierzynski could come back, but it's not as likely as Youkilis. In fact, he pretty much said the same thing the Sox said about Mark Buerhle last year.
Which means they'll let AJ go out, get an offer and then tell him they can't afford to match it.
And that's just fine with me.