Earlier this week Brent Lillibridge declared himself a free agent by refusing an assignment to Triple-A Columbus by the Cleveland Indians. Lillibridge, I’m sure you recall, was one half of the package that brought Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox late in June of last season. Lillibridge was still enjoying a period in which folks valued him, though the extent of that value was falling rather quickly. Sometime in between, “yes, we will trade you Kevin Youkilis so long as you include Brent Lillibridge,” and “Welcome to Boston, Brent,” the Red Sox decided that maybe he wasn’t somebody they really needed all that badly. One month later, they moved Lillibridge to the Indians for Jose De La Torre, who will probably have to work extremely hard to get himself a sniff of a big league bullpen at some point.
The other half of the trade inspired a little less nostalgia in the hearts of White Sox fans. Zach Stewart burned up the light amount of good will he had built in 2011 by laying out an even 6.00 for an ERA in 30 innings, including his final White Sox start against the Cubs in which he served up 6 runs (with 4 HR) in 5.2 innings. He wouldn’t have a start that good for the rest of the year. His next, and final two outings, which came with the Red Sox, collectively matched that 5.2 innings of work but also yielded 14 runs. Whoops.
Now the Red Sox have moved on from both ends of the Youkilis trade, having sweet talked the Pirates into taking Stewart off of their hands. In the Pirates’ defense, the cost is just a player to be named later, and I get the feeling the Red Sox don’t particularly even care who it is. Just pleased to wave bye-bye to the paperwork that they piled up when ultimately giving away Kevin Youkilis. The White Sox came short of the ultimate goal that Youkilis was brought in to help attain, but if that trade wasn’t made, a playoff berth probably wouldn’t have been as close as it was. Again, thank you, Boston Red Sox.