The Red Sox are, according to Buster Olney, are headed down the path to trade Kevin Youkilis. Youkilis has missed some time with a back strain and in his absence Will Middlebrooks has stepped in and performed extremely well for the Red Sox, apparently making Youk expendable.
Rumors have flown that he could be headed to Philly for Joe Blanton, among other possibilities. And maybe so, the Red Sox are always in need of another quality arm. But is there any possibility that the White Sox make a move for the third baseman?
Brent Morel has been less than inspiring thus far in 2012. He has looked a little better over the past few games but due in large part to how low he set the bar in the first 5 weeks of the season. Anybody with any interest in White Sox baseball would eagerly welcome an upgrade at the hot corner. Youkilis is not just an upgrade at 3B but an upgrade to the entire lineup. He would slot in excellently in the 2 spot, and poses another high walk threat in front of Adam Dunn. The Sox have had trouble earning free passes and the addition of Youkilis, or the Greek God of Walks as he is occasionally called, would be big for the White Sox wearing down pitching staffs. Youkilis was off to a slow start before hitting the DL, but ordinarily he is a well above average hitter year after year, even after accounting for the fact that half of his at-bats come at hitting friendly Fenway Park.
The price may be high to make the trade happen, in all likelihood it would require Chicago to give up an arm. The question is, would the Red Sox accept a minor league arm, or would they be back to requesting Gavin Floyd? Floyd is currently riding a pretty decent stretch and his trade value is in good standing. Is replacing Brent Morel worth letting Eric Stults come back into the rotation? A lot of that depends on how dependable we think Philip Humber will be over the course of the year. The team can’t really afford to run out two #5 starters and expect to be competitive, can they?
Youk is the final year of a 4 year contract that earns him $12M this season (a $13M option for 2013 w/ $1M buyout). Already in the hole a bit with extra large contracts being paid to Dunn, Peavy, and Rios, it’s possible the cost alone is too much for the pale hose to handle.
The division is a tricky one. It’s a very real possibility that 83 or 84 wins could push somebody into the playoffs. For the White Sox, it may come down to an age old question: What is more important, pitching or hitting? The Sox want to upgrade the latter, they’re probably going to have to take a hit on the former.