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Is it time to trade Kevin Youkilis?

Dec 27, 2011, 11:56 AM EDT

Boston Red Sox v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Getty Images

That’s not my question, it’s Kirk Minihane‘s question over at WEEI.  His point: the Sox need pitching, so why not trade Kevin Youkilis for some of it?

Your mileage may vary on that — it’s chatter-worthy for fans of the Sox, but sort of meaningless because it’s not happening — but I’m way more interested in this passage Minihane whipped out before proposing his idea:

The Red Sox did not collapse in September because they couldn’t hit. They didn’t collapse in September because of lack of leadership. They didn’t collapse in September because Terry Francona lost 75 baseball IQ points overnight. They didn’t collapse in September because Theo Epstein and Lucchino couldn’t stand each other. The Greatest Team That Ever Wasn’t went 7-20 in September because they could not pitch.

He may have a point here, but really, take away beer and chicken and front office drama, and there’s really not much fun to say about this team. Just a total buzzkill, ya know?

  1. Ari Collins - Dec 27, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    And replace Youkilis with… ?

    The replacement options at 3B are much worse than the replacement options at SP.

    • acheron2112 - Dec 27, 2011 at 12:24 PM

      Will Middlebrooks.

      Granted, that’s assuming that we’re talking about 2013.

      • Ari Collins - Dec 27, 2011 at 12:50 PM

        Agreed, we could easily have a major league ready guy by 2013 (or 2014; we could always pick up Youk’s option).

      • sicklife1 - Dec 27, 2011 at 2:00 PM

        David Wright is available……

      • JBerardi - Dec 27, 2011 at 2:30 PM

        Middlebrooks K/BB numbers are scary. There’s no guarantee that he’s a player.

    • brucewaynewins - Dec 27, 2011 at 1:43 PM

      Well I know Kevin Youkilis would like to be a Red and I’m sure is a 10-5 player. So he’d have to approve a trade. Problem is the Reds won’t give up pitching that will help in 2012. You’re only chance is prospects. So if that occurs it’d need to be a three team trade if you want 2012 pitchers.

      The Reds could use him at 3B but seems like a bad idea replacing an old player (Rolen) with someone who is a few years behind Rolen. But with The Reds win in 2012 mentality it’s all possible.

      • Joe - Dec 27, 2011 at 2:02 PM

        Youkilis is an 8-8 player.

      • brucewaynewins - Dec 27, 2011 at 2:26 PM

        Well then does he have a no trade clause of any kind?

      • Kevin S. - Dec 27, 2011 at 3:31 PM

        He does not.

        Ari, I’m not entirely certain Youkilis is still capable of manning third well and staying healthy. Youkilis may have once been the square peg in the square hole there, but over the years the corners have worn off and now he wobbles when you try to fit him in there.

      • bozosforall - Dec 29, 2011 at 7:52 PM

        Youkilis is really a 1B in 3B clothing. The Red Sox totally screwed up when they dumped Beltre instead of trading Youkilis away. Then again, it helped my team so keep on making stupid decisions, Red Sox.

    • wendell7 - Dec 27, 2011 at 3:40 PM

      I wouldn’t mind seeing youk drop about 20 lbs. and report to spring training in “the best shape of his life” !

      • Old Gator - Dec 27, 2011 at 6:17 PM

        I wouldn’t mind seeing him drop about five pounds of face. He looks like the hominid answer to the Shar Pei. I would recommend a facelift but they’re charged by the pound, and with that puss it’d eat up his per diem.

    • trucker2020 - Dec 27, 2011 at 10:34 PM

      Who cares who they put at third.Kevin Youkilis is a cancer to this team & he was part of the problem in last years collapse.If Boston really wanted Meloncon,they should have sent Youkilis to Houston instead of Lowrie.I’m not going to repeat what I’ve heard about Kevins antics, but as a fan of almost 50 years, I refuse to support the Red Sox in any way as long as that dirtbag is on the team.

  2. entersandman42ny - Dec 27, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    In my opinion, Youkilis is one of the most overrated players in the game because he hasn’t had the statistics to back up the reasons everyone drools over this guy. He’s 32 years old and has only one season with over 100 RBIs playing for a Red Sox team that is consistently among the top scoring teams in baseball. He also struggles to stay healthy, not playing more than 140 games since 2008. With that being said, I think he won’t get traded nor should he be traded because he is more valuable to the Red Sox than to any other team.

    • danrizzle - Dec 27, 2011 at 1:04 PM

      [insert tirade against RBIs and those who use them for evaluative purposes here]

      • Joe - Dec 27, 2011 at 2:07 PM

        Furthermore, if you want to dispute whether or not he has the stats “to back up the reasons everyone drools over this guy,” perhaps it’s appropriate to cite a stat that people drool over. I’d suggest OBP or OPS or OPS+ or WAR. When people talk about Youkilis, NOBODY mentions his gaudy RBI totals.

    • djpostl - Dec 27, 2011 at 2:30 PM

      RBIs truly are a bad stat to use. BUT using the ones you other guys suggested Youk has had two whole season where he posted more than 20 HRs, his OBP is always gaudy and his OPS+ was impressive in 3 of 6 years.

      But considering his best years OPS+ wise were also years where he couldn’t manage to play more than an average of 125 games a year that does play into the “guy can’t stay healthy” knock on him.

      For all the hype the guy gets, he doesn’t do enough to deserve it. I love a guy who works a count and isn’t afraid to draw a BB in order to let someone else do some damage but c’mon, lets stop talking this guy up so much already.

  3. mtm1321 - Dec 27, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    I wouldn’t say Youk is overrated but he is more valuable to the Sox then any other team. Yes he has been injury plagued but he has been clutch for the Sox. This can go round and round.
    But yes the Sox need starting pitching and getting rid of Youk won’t solve that.

    • Joe - Dec 27, 2011 at 2:25 PM

      I don’t get this. Are you saying that there is no other team that would find a lot of value in a 900+ OPS guy who handles both corner IF positions capably? He’s one of the best players in baseball when healthy, of course he’d be just as valuable to somebody else.

      And if they trade Youkilis for a quality starting pitcher, doesn’t that help fix the starting pitching problem?

      • djpostl - Dec 27, 2011 at 2:32 PM

        “when healthy” is one big fat “if” based on his last few years though.

        You also take him out of that lineup and he is basically a number two hitter. He works counts, he draws walks, but he doesn’t really rack up homeruns or RBIs.

      • Ari Collins - Dec 27, 2011 at 2:46 PM

        Number two hitters don’t OBP .400 and slug .550.

        His health is a knock against him, but he’s so great that even when he misses time, he’s quite quite valuable.

      • trucker2020 - Dec 27, 2011 at 10:50 PM

        Boston needs pitching & it would be great to get a quality starting pitcher.In fact they have probably shopped him around for just such a deal.The problem is-Who would take him?The guy is on the DL once or twice a year & is over-rated AND overpaid.Boston couldn’t give this piece of trash away.

  4. pisano - Dec 27, 2011 at 12:21 PM

    I’ll tell you what, if Boston makes him available teams will be in line with trade props. I’ve seen many a Boston game as I’m a Yankee fan and he’s the last guy I want to see at bat with the game on the line. I hope they do trade him, to the NL.

    • randygnyc - Dec 27, 2011 at 12:51 PM

      As a Yankee fan, I’d love to see the RS not only keep him, but sign him to a long term contract extension. Toylike is the future of the red sox.

    • cur68 - Dec 27, 2011 at 12:57 PM

      I’m a Jay’s fan and I couldn’t agree more. Don’t the Phillies need RH bat? Clamp a truss round Youk’s ailing groin and send him off to the Mets if the Phills can’t use him. If I have to watch one more of his idiosyncratic at bats against Beavermen Pitching I shall puke: not only is he upsetting to the stomach as he lurches around getting ready to swing, he generally drives the ball into any fortuitous gad as well. Makes me sick.

      • cur68 - Dec 27, 2011 at 1:00 PM

        “gad”? WTF is that doing there? The flipping “d” & “p” keys are nowhere near each other, how did I do that????…need I say it? Edit function? s’il vous plaît?

    • bigharold - Dec 27, 2011 at 6:17 PM

      I’m with you. As a Yankee fan he is one of the last guys I want at the plate with the game in the balance.

      Trade him, resign Capt Sucker Punch and Ol’ Man River Wakefield then watch the Jays blow past the RS for third next season.

      • JBerardi - Dec 27, 2011 at 6:22 PM

        Uhh… the Jays didn’t blow by much of anyone last year. Certainly not the Red Sox.

      • Kevin S. - Dec 27, 2011 at 8:16 PM

        He’s saying they’ll blow by them next year.

  5. mtm1321 - Dec 27, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    I wouldn’t say Youk is overrated he has been clutch for the Sox whenhe’s in the lineup so yes he has been injury plagued. But trading Youk won’t solve the Sox starting pitching problem.
    And as far as the chicken and beer in the lockeroom, Com’on Man, really? Every ball club in MLB flinched when the news of the Sox club-house came out because most
    teams do the same.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Dec 27, 2011 at 1:53 PM

      Another reason why we need a sarcasm font…no, not really. If you didn’t get the sarcasm there, you probably wouldn’t get the font either.

  6. spudchukar - Dec 27, 2011 at 12:43 PM

    Maybe they could trade him to the Phillies, they need a third baseman. Then they would have both Youkilis and Papelbon, and I would have two more great reasons for despising the Phillies.

  7. greggbo - Dec 27, 2011 at 12:46 PM

    Youk overrated? I’d say the opposite. For all AL offensive players from 2008 to 2011, Youk ranks seventh in the AL in WAR — beating out guys like A-Rod, Hamilton, Cano and Teixeira. And WAR doesn’t take into account the value of his flexibility, which allowed the Sox to play the market and make savvy pickups of guys like Lowell, Beltre and Gonzalez because Youk generously flipped back and forth across the diamond without the drama queen acts we saw with Jeter, Ramirez and even Michael Young when they were asked to adjust position for the good of the team.

    Youk produces wherever they ask him to bat, and wherever they place him in the field. If he can continue for a few years, he should be considered a borderline hall-of-famer.

    • Ari Collins - Dec 27, 2011 at 12:53 PM

      With you right up to the HOF case. Not impossible with a similarly great mid- AND late-30s, but it’s awfully hard to make the Hall when you don’t get your career going until age 28.

    • trevorb06 - Dec 27, 2011 at 1:01 PM

      I agree with you and just like Ari though stop at the HOF case. Sure, Youk might be on the ballet but he was such a late bloomer that he just wouldn’t have the totals to get in.

      Youk though is a dang good player who is generally drama free and easy for FO and management to work with. The only way the Sox should consider trading Youk is if they’re thinking of going into an all out rebuild session, which I doubt is true. If they did though I’m sure they could restock the arms down on the farm by trading somebody like Youk.

      • greggbo - Dec 27, 2011 at 1:46 PM

        Borderline HOF might be a bit of a stretch, but it isn’t out of reach. Around 50 WAR is generally generally about on the border. Youk is at 28 WAR now, and if his health holds out he could certainly put up 20 more WAR in the next 5-6 seasons.

      • djpostl - Dec 27, 2011 at 2:35 PM

        “and if his health holds out he could certainly put up 20 more WAR in the next 5-6 seasons.” which won’t happen. Dude is already falling apart physically and has average playing 3/4 a season (at best) the last few years. Not going to suddenly get any better as he hits mid to late 30s

    • bozosforall - Dec 29, 2011 at 7:57 PM

      HOF??? Thanks for confirming how stupidly homerific Red Sox loser fans are.

  8. randygnyc - Dec 27, 2011 at 12:56 PM

    I agree with what Minhane says except the most fundamental component to the September collapse WAS lack of leadership. Where was varitek? How about pedroia? Gonzalez? IMO, becket and lackey quit. It’s the other guys, you know, the ones supposedly with character, that never showed up to lead “the blind”.

    • hackerjay - Dec 27, 2011 at 2:02 PM

      What exactly would you want guys like Varitek, Pedroia, and Gonzalez to do? The team averaged over five runs per game in September (the Rays averaged 4.4 runs per game during the season). They were still hitting like a playoff team, but the problem was that their pitching staff was giving up over six runs per game in September, and that wasn’t because of giving up, it was because they were throwing guys like Andrew Miller, Tim Wakefield, and John Lackey out there three out of every five days. Also it didn’t help that Daniel Bard imploded in September with a 10+ ERA, four losses and three blown saves.

      Leadership wouldn’t have done anything to help the Red Sox. They had a shallow pitching staff that had a lot of injuries. That is why they missed the playoffs.

  9. bigleagues - Dec 27, 2011 at 1:08 PM

    Yes, and who knows, perhaps he has been floated in trade talks and there just hasn’t been a fit.

    I love Youk, but he is the perfect piece for the Sox to put in play. If that hip takes a turn for the worse, his trade value will vanish.

    • JBerardi - Dec 27, 2011 at 6:47 PM

      He’s not the perfect piece for them to put in play. They need his bat at third and there’s no an obvious replacement for it on the farm or in free agency.

      • bigleagues - Dec 30, 2011 at 12:05 PM

        Of position players and pitchers who are ‘tradeable’ (ie not Carl Crawford), name me one other established ML commodity that the Red Sox could trade and not be hurt short term or long term.

        Did the Red Sox miss Youk’s healthy bat in August in Sept? Yep, it would have helped, but it wasn’t what killed them. In fact, he has missed big chunks of time over the last couple of seasons and it hasn’t been an offense killer.

        Entering this off-season, I would have been fine with letting Papi walk and installing Youk as the DH and super-sub in the IF. Instead, the Sox have elected to bring Papi back. LH/RH lineup issues or not, if the right trade/transactions come to fruition, then I can absolutely see Youkilis being moved. He is still one of the best overall options at 3B in MLB, but would be far better suited by a return to 1B and he is a FA after this season.

        What if the Sox do decide to commit to Cepedes, where does that payroll space come from? Youk.

        In the Sox lineup, with the Green Monster to work with, there is no reason to believe that Middlebrooks can’t be better than replacement level in 2012 if need be. His issue isn’t his defense, it’s his contact rate. And they can bat him 8th or 9th.

        What if Garza is still in play to the Red Sox? That Garza hasn’t been traded yet is somewhat telling.

        I’m betting that Prince Fielder is holding up other potential transactions more than we could know. My hypothesis is that there is at least one team (and probably others) that, if the price is right, views Kevin Youkilis as their 1B/3B depending on where Fielder ends up.

        Also, what if the Marlins can’t convince HanRam that 3rd is the best place for him? Suddenly Youk manning 1B or 3B looks pretty appealing to the Marlins.

        My bet is there are still a lot of moving parts that are awaiting the Fielder, Cepedes, Darvish shoes to drop. Bottom line, there will be plenty of interest in acquiring Youkilis IF the right shoes drop for the Red Sox.

  10. humanexcrement - Dec 27, 2011 at 1:36 PM

    I really wonder if the John Lackey injury was faked. I’ve been wondering about fake injuries now for some time. Lackey was pitching terribly and going through a lot of personal things. I really wonder if they approached him and just said “John, take the year off, we’re not starting you the rest of the season.” And then to avoid humiliating the guy conjure up an injury that automatically ends your season for you. No way to prove it, of course, but the timing on some injuries is way too convenient.

    • hackerjay - Dec 27, 2011 at 2:04 PM

      I think the more likely explanation is that he was pitching terribly because he was hurt. The MLB looks into every DL listing, and teams have gotten in trouble in the past for making up injuries. Also, I don’t see how they could fake Tommy John surgery (which Lackey is going to have) without anyone finding out.

    • Joe - Dec 27, 2011 at 2:17 PM

      Seriously? I like me a good conspiracy theory, but this isn’t one of those.

      For one thing, Lackey’s last start was in game #159, which was three games before the end of the season. That’s not exactly taking the end of the year off.

      For another thing, his injury was announced after the season was over, and he’s missing the entire 2012 season. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t skip the entire 2012 season with a fake injury to avoid the humiliation caused by his 2011 performance.

    • marinersnate - Dec 27, 2011 at 2:39 PM

      “I really wonder if they approached him and just said “John, take the year off, we’re not starting you the rest of the season.””

      And Lackey would agree to this why? You do realise that per Lackey’s contract, that by missing time with TJ surgery, he now has a club option added to his contract for 2015 at MLB minimum. Why would he agree to add a year at MLB minimum to his contract to “fake an injury”?

      “No way to prove it.” Well, you sure got that part right.

      As for conspiracy theories, you should probably just stick to the Grassy knoll….

      • Kevin S. - Dec 27, 2011 at 3:36 PM

        Is the TJ surgery related to the pre-existing elbow injury? I’d have to imagine that his agent wouldn’t have allowed that in there without something more specific than “elbow.”

      • JBerardi - Dec 27, 2011 at 6:24 PM

        Yeah, I’m sure he’s getting a ligament ripped out of one arm and put into the other as part of an elaborate plan to… do what, exactly?

  11. MightyMoonWorm - Dec 27, 2011 at 2:07 PM

    I bet some teams in Japan would love to have Youk around. Man looks like a honky samurai when he’s at the plate.

    • trucker2020 - Dec 27, 2011 at 11:03 PM

      Now japan is where I’d like to see him go;It’s almost far enough away.

  12. miketreedy - Dec 27, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    The Red Sox could have done this last year and resigned Beltre. It would have made much more sense. Beltre did great in his first year in Boston where many players struggle. By resigning Beltre, the Sox had the option of moving Youlk to 1B instead of trading for Gonzalez. They could have also moved him to DH and traded Ortiz. This would have been the best option. Obviously, not easy choices to make.

    Youlk is a great but my concern is how durable he will be at 3B. He has missed time both of the last two years with injuries. Plus they are already weak at SS. The lack of strong defense on the left side of infield is really hurt their pitching staff.

    The Rangers instead went the Beltre option and moved Michael Young to DH. Red Sox would have been just as versatile as the Rangers last year by having Youlk at DH.

    • Ari Collins - Dec 27, 2011 at 3:33 PM

      They would have gotten to keep their prospects in that case, but Gonzalez was the better Adrian last year, and is three years younger.

      Youkilis has his health issues, and his defense is now a bit below average at 3rd, but he’s one of the best players in baseball the 75% of the time he’s been on the field lately, he’s cheap, and, at this point, requires little commitment (one more year, then an option), so they can decide to replace him at any point in the next two years.

      He’s helping the team far more than he’s hurting, and I think letting Beltre walk was the right decision.

      • miketreedy - Dec 27, 2011 at 9:07 PM

        Yes, the other option was moving Youlk to DH. There are too few top third baseman to have let Beltre go in my opinion. I think Youlk either belongs at 1B or DH. The more time goes bye the more true that will be. Youlk is one of my favorite hitters to watch.

      • Ari Collins - Dec 27, 2011 at 9:44 PM

        Moving a guy who can play 3B at a below average but more than adequate level to DH is a waste of resources. You’re trading up defensively, but you’re also trading Ortiz’ bat for Beltre’s, and that’s a definite downgrade (and more of a downgrade with hindsight).

        Plus you’re locking yourself into 5 years of Beltre’s 30s instead of 2 years of Youkilis’.

  13. somekat - Dec 27, 2011 at 5:08 PM

    They won’t move him. If not only because nobody is going to give up a good SP for an average, 32 year old, 3B with injury issues

  14. ndrocks2 - Dec 27, 2011 at 7:56 PM

    love the guy but he is on the down side and moving him would not be a bad play before he slides any further. saying all that i assume they are going to keep him and let him slide over to dh and spell the 1b and 3b of the future teams once papi is gone. maybe he stays healthy as a dh and pt position player.

  15. hushbrother - Dec 27, 2011 at 10:20 PM

    1. A big reason the Sox’ pitching stunk down the stretch was the injury to Clay Buchholz. He’s returning healthy this year, and if Bard successfully makes the transition to starting, that’s 4/5ths of a good rotation right there.

    2. It wasn’t just lousy pitching that did them in. They played horribly in every facet during the slump.

    3. Trade Youk for who? What great pitcher could be had in a trade? From a team that needs a first or third baseman, no less. And then who would play third for the Sox?

  16. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Dec 27, 2011 at 11:26 PM

    Trade him to Cubs for Zambrano.

  17. droopyyydog1 - Dec 28, 2011 at 10:22 AM

    1. They blew it last year when they could have traded a healthy Youklis when they got Gonzalez. This would have allowed them to keep Beltre.

    2. How and who do you trade him to ? His age, past injuries and contract are a little prohibitive but there could be a market for him at first base. He would fit with the following:
    Brewers – adds a solid bat and moves back to first
    Rangers – do they have the pieces and can they add salary
    Mariners – there in the hunt for Fielder, a piece in a package for Fing Felix maybe ?
    Marlins – part of a deal for Josh Johnson
    Nationals – ?

    3. I’ve heard some of the same rumors about the way he acts and that the Boston media has been pretty protective of him because he quietly went to 3rd, DH’d and played left when needed so I could see how he isn’t a team player.. thats sarcasm.

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