Kevin Youkilis: Chicago White Sox
By Matt Adams
An upgrade at the hot corner was heavily needed and an upgrade was achieved. Kenny Williams does not typically sit on his hands. Even as he throws out statements about attendance hindering him from making any moves, he is working the phones and working an angle. It was announced towards the end of the White Sox 1-0 victory over the Brewers in 10 innings that Kevin Youkilis would be changing his Sox from red to white. Chicago sends Zach Stewart and Brent Lillibridge to Boston in exchange for Youkilis and about $2.5 million in cash.
Youkilis is only hitting .233 this year, well below his .286 career average and the .300+ marks he put up from 2008-2010. For the White Sox, though, .233 constitutes an upgrade as the team had yet to send a player out to play third that hit over .200 in 2012. Offense has been an issue in the last couple weeks for the White Sox, and though no one man is the answer, sending sub-Mendoza hitters out at the end of the lineup wasn’t helping. As Kenny Williams proudly touts in defense of his acquisition, Youkilis has an edge, and is looking to prove some people wrong. He also travels from one Sox team with a 38-34 record to another with a 38-34 record but also travels from fourth place to first. Baseball is a funny game.
When we first we spoke of Youkilis making the trip to Chicago back in May, it was correctly assumed that the Pale Hose would have to send some pitching over in exchange for the aging third baseman. The level of that pitching, was either overestimated, or Youk’s trade value has dropped, and my money is on the latter. Youkilis was made expendable when he returned from some time on the DL to find that Will Middlebrooks was more than capably handling his old position. In limited playing time, Youkilis failed to make much of an impact, and the asking price slowly and steadily dropped. In the end, the Sox acquired him along with salary help for next to nothing. Sentimental Sox fans may lament the loss of Brent Lillibridge, who was coming off of a season in which he over-performed his skill set but was not performing as kindly in 2012. And Zach Stewart’s name was still being mentioned regularly by southside fans leading up to the deal without many complimentary words accompanying it.
Stewart may end up figuring it out, and Brent Lillibridge may get some regular playing time with a team that has plenty to give with their disabled list holding as much talent as their active roster. I hope they both do well.
Third base is one hole that has hopefully been plugged, next up: rounding out the pitching situation.