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Kevin Youkilis is happy to move to third base for Adrian Gonzalez

Dec 4, 2010, 1:11 PM EDT

Yankees Red Sox Baseball AP

Joe McDonald of ESPNBoston.com just spoke with Kevin Youkilis, who was thrilled to hear about the pending trade for Adrian Gonzalez.

“It’s great,” Youkilis said. “The way he hits at PETCO [Park], he can hit at Fenway Park because he can use the [left field] wall to his advantage. It’s going to be great to have him on the team. That’ll be a huge acquisition for us if everything works out.”

Youkilis, who underwent season-ending surgery on his right thumb in August, doesn’t mind moving back to third base.

“I’m not worried about that,” he said. “I just have to work hard like I always do and focus on playing third and not first. There’s a lot of time at spring training to do all that. I’ll prepare myself the right way to play as many games as I can at third base.”

While Youkilis is no Adrian Beltre at the hot corner, he has been above average there during his career, according to UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) on FanGraphs. We spend a lot of time talking about Gonzalez’s bat, but don’t forget that the two-time Gold Glove Award winner also has the reputation as an excellent fielder.

  1. JBerardi - Dec 4, 2010 at 2:39 PM

    If Youk can still play a decent third base, and he hits the way he has the last three years or so, he’s the best 3B in the league. Possibly the best in all of baseball.

    • Old Gator - Dec 5, 2010 at 11:00 AM

      That’s probably true, except that third base at Fenway also just got a lot uglier. Do you think playing with a bag over his head would make Youklis’ defense any worse if the eyeholes were cut large enough?

  2. rick1922 - Dec 4, 2010 at 7:21 PM

    I think you forgot a guy named AROD.

    • heartinboston - Dec 4, 2010 at 9:37 PM

      I don’t think he did forget AROD. If you compare A-Rod’s stats from this past year and Youk from 09 (i’m omiting last year because it was injury shortened), the stats are pretty similar.

      BA OBP SLG OPS
      A-Rod (2010) 270 / 341 / 506 / 847 30 HR, 125 RBI
      Youk (2009) 307 / 413 / 548 / 961 27 HR, 94 RBI

      A-Rod has a few more HR and more RBI, but Youk has him in all the other percentage categories. And if Youk can play defense at third like he used to when he came up originally, he has A-Rod defensively as well. A-rod is 4 years older than Youkilis as well. So it is not outlandish to think that Youkilis could possibly be the best 3B in the league.

      • JBerardi - Dec 5, 2010 at 12:02 AM

        Last three years combined:

        ARod: .286/.378/.537

        Youk .308/.404/.560

        Or, if we go advanced, here’s the five highest Fangraphs WAR totals for all 3Bs for the last three calender years:

        Evan Longoria – 19.6
        Ryan Zimmerman – 16.4
        David Wright – 15.1
        Alex Rodriguez – 14.4
        Adrian Beltre – 13.5

        Youkilis, during the same period, has accumulated 15.7 WAR, so he’s right up there with the best of them. Side note, Longoria is the best player in baseball BY FAR if you consider his contract.

  3. henryd3rd - Dec 5, 2010 at 2:39 AM

    Keep in mind Gonzalez put up his numbers in the Little league and there was little if ever any pressure on him in San Diego. Let’s see what he does in the best division in baseball. Plus bear in mind we’re talking about Boston as well. Can you spell pressure? Many a prima donna has wilted under that pressure, just ask JD Drew

    • concretepiggy - Dec 5, 2010 at 9:05 AM

      Courtesy of the great Old Hoss Radbourn: ‘Hoss would really like an article, stat, on A. Gonzalez being crushed by the weight of East Coast Pressure.’

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