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The Red Sox designate Brent Lillibridge for assignment

Jul 16, 2012, 4:30 PM EDT

Brent Lillibridge Getty Images

The initial significance of the news that the Red Sox are going to designate Brent Lillibridge for assignment: that makes room for Carl Crawford on the 40-man roster.

The larger significance: it means that the Red Sox effectively traded Kevin Youkilis for a 25 year-old minor league pitcher in Zach Stewart.

Makes me wonder why no other teams were able to match the offer the White Sox made Boston for Youk. Teams that, presumably, are going to be trying to make trades for bats over the next two weeks.

  1. pharmerbrown - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    Youk has a “Sox 4 Life” tattoo. He blocked trades to any teams without Sox in their name…

  2. deathmonkey41 - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    Maybe the Sox feel that having one white-trashy, inbred-looking leprechuan in Clay Buchholz was enough?

    • hammyofdoom - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:17 PM

      Classy

    • bbil2012 - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:52 PM

      Clay sure has a nice looking wife though. Must be his off-beat good looks.

      http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/slides/photos/000/166/850/lindsayclubine2_display_image.jpg?1267472023

      • vallewho - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:59 PM

        That “leprechuan” is banging that?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:08 PM

        money is the greatest aphrodisiac

      • deathmonkey41 - Jul 17, 2012 at 8:36 AM

        Come on, Church- I’m sure if he was working at a 7-11, she’d be just as interested.

  3. yournuts - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    They should have designated Bobby V for assignment.

    • bloodysock - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:08 PM

      I prefer his outright release.

  4. xpensivewinos - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    I think this really goes to the heart of how Bobby Valentine really hamstrung Ben Cherington this season where Youkilis is concerned.

    The season was about five minutes old when Valentine ripped Youkilis further reducing his trade value (I guess he felt his injury history was a big enough hurdle)……..and the moron still won’t shut up.

    So, instead of Middlebrooks coming up and creating a scenario where the Red Sox could now move a valuable player due to an embarrassment of riches, Valentine created a situation where everyone sensed the Red Sox had to rid themselves of a cancer. What the hell kind of leverage did Cherington have?

    Youkilis was not part of the Red Sox future beyond this year under any circumstances, but this is more about Valentine’s leadership (or lack there of), the Red Sox ownership and how that place is being run.

    • myopinionisgarbage - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:42 PM

      Let me get this straight… you believe that other GMs in baseball lowered their valuation of Kevin Youkilis based on this:

      “I don’t think he’s as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason”

      Really? You think THAT comment cost Youkilis nearly all of his trade value? I tend to believe it was his HORRIBLE performance up to this point, his injury laden past, and his huge contract. Who wants a 3rd baseman that’s going to max you out at 120 games played with a 260 average for 12 million? I think Bobby Valentine is a dbag though, for clarification.

      • vallewho - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:03 PM

        I think he meant that other GMs knew that the Red Sox needed to move Youk at that point, so the GMs were not compelled to put up big offers in the trade…lower asking price.

      • meyerwolf - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:04 PM

        That’s beside the point, MOIG. Everyone knew the Red Sox had to trade Youkilis, hence the total lack of leverage. Try selling your car when you absolutely positively need to move it, and all potential buyers know that. Valentine created that situation by his comment – he created a situation in which it had become impossible for the Sox not to trade Youkilis. He killed their leverage.

      • myopinionisgarbage - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:15 PM

        Negative Ghostrider. Youkilis’ production-to-cost reduced their leverage. Not Bobby Valentine. Everyone knew they HAD to move him because Bobby V made a comment in passing about his health? You guys are way out there man. I’m sorry.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:26 PM

        It is fine to say that Bobby created the appearance that Youk needed to go, but why wouldn’t the Angels top that silly offer from the White Sox if they thought Youk had value? Honestly, if the cost was only a relief prospect, I don’t understand why more teams didn’t get in on this. The only thing I can think is that the Red Sox wanted to move him faster than fast, taking the best first offer instead of waiting for a fair return. If that was the case, Cherington failed his first test as a GM.

  5. oldpaddy - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    Thanks for reminding me Craig.
    Douche…

  6. Detroit Michael - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    The Red Sox received a month’s worth of Lillibridge, Zach Stewart and freed themselves of the obligation to honor the rest of Youkilis’ existing contract. Even if one concludes (reasonably) that Lillibridge turned out to be approximately worthless, they still got more than Stewart out of the trade. Rightly or wrongly, the Red Sox wanted to play Middlebrooks over Youkilis and Youkilis would have been rather overpaid for a disgruntled bench player.

    • paperlions - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:46 PM

      That is 12 kinds of missing the point.

      Valentine made Youkilis a disgruntled player long before the trade, which reduced the appeal of the player and what they could get in return.

      Lillibridge has a negative WAR (and he was 2/16 with 1 singles for the RS), so playing him represented negative value, not an asset…but more cost.

      Youkilis was had less than $8M on his contract at the time of the trade. The Red Sox sent over $5.5M along with Youkilis to the White Sox, who are paying only about $2M of his remaining contract.

      In other words, it cost the Red Sox $5.5M to get rid of him and they got nothing of use in return. This is a player that has been highly productive for 5 straight years. He’s 32 and in decline, but he isn’t done and they paid money to give him away.

      • paperlions - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:47 PM

        *2 singles

      • myopinionisgarbage - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:49 PM

        He hasn’t been “highly productive” for the last 2 years, that’s for sure. He was highly productive for like…2 seasons in 08 and 09, otherwise he’s just a high OBP third baseman. I’ve always thought he was overvalued.

      • paperlions - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:56 PM

        If you think that…then you are just wrong. Last year he was the 5th best 3B in the majors (as estimated by fWAR or strictly offensive production)….and the year before that he was 4th most productive 1B.

        Look, I hate the Red Sox, but Youkilis had been a great player for them until this year.

      • myopinionisgarbage - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:09 PM

        fWAR? You mean oWAR? OFFENSIVE wins above replacement? Yo, check it out… the dude played 120 games last year and hit .258. He hit .300 the year before that but he only played one hundred games. Injuries, age, declining production, and a huge contract make him significantly less valuable than you make him sound. The free market of baseball trades expressed this for us to see with our own eyes….and NO it wasn’t Bobby V that made his trade value nothing.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:11 PM

        He hasn’t been “highly productive” for the last 2 years, that’s for sure

        He put up a .258/.373/.459 line last year which equates to a 126 wRC+. How is that not highly productive? He was 4th best 3b and he only played 120 games (would have easily passed #3, Michael Young who played 159).

      • paperlions - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:11 PM

        No, I meant fWAR (fangraphs version) and if you can’t cite anything beside average…that is probably why you don’t realize how good the guy is.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:13 PM

        fWAR? You mean oWAR?

        no, fWAR = fangraphs version of WAR like rWAR = baseball-reference. Also, please stop quoting BA when OBP is far more important, and Youkilis’s was .373 last year. He had the highest BB% on the Sox last year.

      • myopinionisgarbage - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:25 PM

        Yes. Quoting batting average instead of OBP makes me dumb I guess. You guys are spot on. He’s SO valuable that everyone was looking to trade for him. “But his crazy statistical variances that we’ve applied all kinds of subjective standards to that we’re not even really sure of what the standards are…….they say he’s GREAT.”

        Good talk fellas.

      • bigleagues - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:13 AM

        Again, I will attempt to explain this and hope that someday a few people will grasp the concept (including Craig and Matthew who seem to enjoy fueling the misinformation and ignore the practical reality of what the Sox were dealing with).

        I have no inside information and all of what I am going to explain is based on what has been reported with a little common sense reading between the lines.

        I’ve noticed a lot of the same people who didn’t think players drinking beer during games was that big a deal, are now piling on the Red Sox for getting rid of Youk for nothing and/or mistreating him.

        I’ve also noticed that many of those people are the very same who have been piling on Bobby V since day 1 . . . and particularly over his handling of Youkilis. I submit that between Beckett, Youkilis and the leadership void in the Executive wing of the Red Sox offices . . . Bobby was placed in an untenable unwinable situation.

        Ironically, it’s the worst kept secret in Boston that Youkilis was the now infamous mole who complained to management about the Beckett Boys gorging and imbibing during games.

        Sorry guys, you can’t have it both ways.

        FIRST AND FOREMOST: Once Beckett became convinced that Youkilis is/was the mole he would not let it go. (Truthfully – I applaud Youkilis for taking that message to management). Beckett carried his grudge through to Spring Training and into the season – making one thing abundantly clear . . . sooner rather than later either Youkilis or Beckett had to go.

        Of course Youkilis was injured to close the 2011 season, and playing hurt to start or so he said (with the number of games he missed over the past 3+ seasons I will give him the benefit of the doubt) – so it remained impossible to showcase Youkilis to establish fair value. He’s 33 and everyone knows he has the hip and back problems.

        So on the one hand you have an often broken down Youkilis with this season plus a team option left on his contract.

        And on the other you have Beckett, who might as well had ended the 2011 season on the DL and who started this season unimpressively, signed through 2014 with much more money remaining on his contract, AND oooopsie . . . he’s also 10-and-5.

        Guess who has more leverage to make demands and make life miserable for management? Yeah, Douche Beckett.

        Is any of this starting to make sense now?

        On the surface, to the average fan or observer, perhaps it appears that the Red Sox got ‘nothing’ in return. Of course, Stewart could end up being something of use at some point, though more than likely never to approach the perceived level of value that one would expect to have gotten for Yoooooouk.

        But let’s take this a step further.

        Youk never played more than 147 Games in a season – which from 2006-2008 was just fine – especially when he was producing one of the greatest defensive seasons in MLB history at 1B and hitting like an MVP candidate.

        However, Youk hasn’t played in more than 136 Games since 2008.

        In 2009 he missed 26 Games.
        In 2010 he missed 60 Games and was out for the season on August 2nd.
        In 2011 he missed 42 Games and was out 18 Days in August; and a total of 21 days in Sept including 9/16 thru end of the season.
        In 2012, before being traded, he had already missed 30 Games.

        Hopefully you are picking up on the pattern there . . .

        That’s a grand total of 158 Games missed since 2009.

        In other words, the Red Sox got the equivalent of 2 1/3 seasons out of Youk but paid for 3 1/3 seasons.

        With Will Middlebrooks ready, the Red Sox were justified in shipping Youk out simply based on the frequency and length of recovery from injuries.

        But when the Sox added in the ongoing friction between the Youkilis and Beckett camps, Youkilis’ more easily traded contract, and the fact that they had a cheap, cost controlled in-house replacement who was already proving he could produce at the big league level . . . then really, the Sox had no choice but to put Youkilis on the fast track out of town and get whatever they could in return.

        One final point . . . the Red Sox, in effect, had $12.25M slotted for their Thirdbaseman this season. Once Middlebrooks was promoted (because of yet another Youkilis injury) and started to produce at a high level, the Red Sox began paying the minimum MLB salary to Middlebrooks. He came up on May 2nd – so as long as Middlebrooks remains on the MLB roster the Red Sox are paying him about $400,000 between now and the end of the season.

        The White Sox are paying $1.12M of the $12.25M owed to Youk this season.

        The Red Sox are picking up the remaining $11.13M. Add in the $400,00 they are paying Middlebrooks and the Red Sox actually reduced their payroll obligations at 3B for this season by $720,000.

        As it pertains to Beckett and Youkilis, Valentine had to pick a side. Had he picked Youkilis, he may have lost any shot of gaining some modicum of respect and confidence from Beckett – who the Sox had virtually no trade leverage with. For better or worse, Valentine picked Beckett – and alienated Youkilis.

        You can argue that the Red Sox created the problem last season by allowing the employees too much freedom.

        But in trading Youkilis the Sox acknowledged the obvious – that Middlebrooks was the better more reliable option at 3B going forward – while having solved a festering clubhouse dispute.

        And that the Red Sox gained a 40-man Roster spot and $720,000 in payroll can only be considered a bonus.

        Bottom line, Cherington did exactly what he had to do, and deserves some modest praise as opposed to the misplaced derision that the Youkilis trade has generated so much of.

    • myopinionisgarbage - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:46 PM

      Except that the White Sox are only picking up 1 million of the 12 on Youk’s contract so….

      • markfrednubble - Jul 17, 2012 at 12:57 PM

        bigleagues,

        I am with you on most of that. Well thought out and articulated. Three points:

        1. If in fact they decided that the chemistry or clubhouse air or whatever had to be improved and they had to move either Beckett or Youkilis to do that because of their alleged feud (and the combination of Youk’s injury and non-production and Middlebrooks’ arrival), the smart baseball decision was to move Youkilis simply because Beckett has more on-field upside and his contract is much harder to move. I would assume that Cherington and his crew have had enough talks to understand the two players’ realistic trade prospects. But don’t underestimate the Red Sox’ belief that Beckett is not far from being able to put together a dominant stretch of starts. Hating Beckett is more fashionable in Boston than clam chowder, but if you separate the player from the person, it’s not a stretch to think he could pitch very well down the stretch and be the difference between a wild card spot and a third straight finish out of the playoffs.

        2. I have a hard time accepting that they did the best they could with the Youkilis trade. The White Sox stole a very good player for next to nothing. No one knew Middlebrooks would get hurt, but if they waited on trading Youk, I believe we would have seen him produce for the Red Sox the way he has for the White Sox while Will was healing. They should have waited longer, let Youk find his groove, and then trade him for something more than crap. The White Sox abused Cherington on this deal.

        3. Forget about Valentine’s dumb quote about Youkilis. Any team in need of a third baseman or first baseman evaluated Youkilis on his merits and presumably had a chance to compete for him. We can only assume the Sox took the best deal on the table at the time — which was so weak they should have said no and hung on for a while.

  7. bigleagues - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    Craig,

    Youk is playing on guile and pride alone. He reportedly has a chronic (possibly degenerative) hip condition which, in turn, is either the result of or the primary contributing factor to his constant back ailments.

    He could hit .330 with 15-20 HR and 50 RBI from here to the end of the season or next week end up on the DL for the remainder of the season as he tries one last time to rehab whats left of that hip.

    Or one theory I’ve had . . . he could be finishing out his last contract . . . and the truth of his frustrations with the Red Sox was that he wanted to do it in Boston.

    As we know, even with all the advances in medical joint replacements they remain a very dicey proposition for pro athletes.

    • The Wizard - Jul 16, 2012 at 8:10 PM

      I heard people say he is already dead!

  8. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    Red Sox botch, just about any way you look at it.

    • bigleagues - Jul 16, 2012 at 10:24 PM

      Completely disagree.

      You had to see Youkilis play day in and day out . . . when he did play play, that is, during the past 18 months.

      There is/was no point in delaying Middlebrooks who is clearly the better option going forward.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:50 AM

        The idea of trading Youk was not the problem; it was the execution. They kicked him to the curb for nothing. They traded him when his value was lowest and rushed it to get the minimum return possible.

      • bigleagues - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:56 AM

        Again, completely disagree . . . please see the detailed response above that I wrote in response to that line of misplaced criticism.

  9. spizotfl - Jul 16, 2012 at 9:51 PM

    I didn’t like the trade when it was made, not because I thought the Red Sox would get a lot more than they did, but because they didn’t clear any 40 man roster spots for the inevitable returns of Ellsbury, Crawford and Bailey. Didn’t make a whole lot of since then and still doesn’t.

  10. bigleagues - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    Also . . . I believe the real reason the Sox released Lillibridge is the fact that Valentine kept confusing him with Buchholz.

    Go look up pictures of the two. They’re dopplegangers!

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