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Could Francona get the band back together in Cleveland?

Oct 18, 2012, 9:17 AM EDT

White Sox Youkilis celebrates game-winning single in MLB American League baseball game against Rangers in Chicago Reuters

At least part of it?  Here’s some speculation from Heyman that actually makes sense:

The White Sox would like to re-sign third baseman Kevin Youkilis. But some see the rival Indians, who’ve hired his friend Terry Francona to manage, as a potential threat to try to sign Youkilis now.

The Indians’ interest is mostly in the speculative stage, but it makes sense. The Indians could use hitters, and especially righthanded ones.

If I’m running the Indians I try to leave first base open for Carlos Santana because I think that’s where his future lies, but they could do way worse than to have Youk around for some combination of 1B/3B/DH.

Youkilis has a $13 million option that the White Sox are expected to decline, making him fair game for anyone.  Crazier things have happened than him taking a two-year deal or something in Cleveland.

  1. paperlions - Oct 18, 2012 at 9:29 AM

    How will signing a 34 yr old player coming off of back to back seasons with huge declines in production that isn’t particularly athletic help a team like the Indians? Their rotation will still be a mess, and the “production” Youk offers now won’t help that lineup much.

    • Paul White - Oct 18, 2012 at 9:42 AM

      “How will signing a 34 yr old player coming off of back to back seasons with huge declines in production that isn’t particularly athletic help a team like the Indians?”

      He’ll help because the Indians got a collective 677 OPS from their third basemen, 675 from their first basemen, 702 from their DHs, and 657 from all right-handed hitters combined. Youkilis – even in a “decline” year – posted an overall OPS of 745 and an OPS of 771 once he got away from Bobby V.

      I don’t see how he can’t help the Indians, presuming he’s healthy of course.

      • paperlions - Oct 18, 2012 at 10:02 AM

        Well…yes….but why spend whatever it’ll cost to get him so that they win 72 games instead of 69 games?

        As smart GMs with limited resources realize, if you can’t win 90 games…it really isn’t worth striving to win 80…because that doesn’t get you anything. You build to make the playoffs, not to finish 4th instead of 5th….otherwise, you are always at the bottom.

      • Paul White - Oct 18, 2012 at 10:30 AM

        Well there’s no player that’s going to get them from 69 wins to 90 all by himself, but they have to start with some incremental improvements, and getting better production from the spots Youkilis plays would help. Maybe that gets them to 72 wins, and other moves get them into the low to mid 80’s. That’s enough to contend in the AL Central. Cost shouldn’t be a problem…Youkilis’ age and health are going to keep his salary reasonable, and he’s an Ohio guy who’s played for Francona, so he make go there fairly cheaply.

    • Kevin Gillman - Oct 18, 2012 at 10:57 AM

      paperlions, you do realize the Indians won 80 games in 2011, with more or less the same roster they have now, right? Besides, 2013 will be another season, which means it doesn’t automatically mean they will win 69 games again with this roster. THERE IS TALENT NOW!!!! It’s just a matter of who is coming on this team to help. Youkilis surely helped the White Sox, who was more or less a .500 team before he came over there, and turned them into a perrenial contender. One thing Youk can bring is he is a veteran that can lead by example, and produce every now and then, and that can ONLY help the Indians.

      • paperlions - Oct 18, 2012 at 12:04 PM

        Yes, the talent is there to win 80 games if everything breaks just right. Masterson’s talent is much closer to the 2012 version than the 2011…there really isn’t much in the way of offense in the lineup. A couple of nice hitters, but nothing in the way of a 3,4,5 combo that would scare anyone….and the rotation is a shambles.

      • hermie13 - Oct 18, 2012 at 12:25 PM

        I definitely think Youk is a realistic option for the Tribe. They were in on him this summer before the White Sox got him and he’s that type of OBP guy the Tribe loves.

        And while I agree Youk alone won’t get the Tribe into the playoffs (the pitching needs major help), you gotta start somewhere. I don’t believe they brought in Francona to do a total rebuild. Some solid pieces on this club. Who thought the Orioles or A’s would be in the playoffs this year? Indians have the benefit of being in the worst division in the AL and probably all of baseball. Doesn’t take 90 wins to get in, just look at the Tigers who won fewer games than the Rays and Angels this year…

      • Kevin Gillman - Oct 18, 2012 at 4:23 PM

        The thing is paperlions, nothing seemed to lie right for them in 2011. They had injuries to Choo, Kipnis, and Hafner, 3 productive hitters, at the time towards August that hit the slide in 2011.

        This season, there was no excuse for a slide, other than they didn’t have any supportive players. Let me put it like this, they signed Aaron Cunningham, instead of bringing in Josh Willingham. Now Carlos hit 27 HRs in 2011, there is no reason to think he can’t top 30 HRs. Jason Kipnis had a very bad second half this season. He was trying to do too much, but there is no reason to think he can’t be a 20/20 man, at least. He did steal 24 bases this past season.

        Now if they can sandwitch Kevin Youkilis in between Kipnis and Santana, the offense automatically becomes better, Youk can get on base, and he can help Santana by picking up clutch hits. The Indians also have at least $27 Million coming off the table, with a guy like Francona as our manager, we have a better chance now of signing a guy like Mike Napoli to help too. I am not saying it will happen, but dont be surprised if they are in the mix.

        As far as the rotation goes, two things hurt them….walks and giving up unearned runs. They were in the middle of the pack defensively, yet they gave up the most unearned runs in the league. In other words, they allowed the inning to continue, after the Indians did make a mistake. Those two things are easily correctable, it’s not that the talent ISN’T there, but this team can’t do everything all at once. I had always said they can’t hit 9 run Home Runs with one swing, though at times it looked like it.

        Imagine what some veterans mixed in can do to help the younger guys out, now the Indians have opportunities to pull them off.

    • petey1999 - Oct 18, 2012 at 3:10 PM

      Bobby Valentine was right.

  2. deepstblu - Oct 18, 2012 at 9:49 AM

    Is he on a mission from God?

  3. hammyofdoom - Oct 18, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    I was fully prepared to playfully jab at Craig here for swiping the title idea from my post about Brad Mills potentially being rehired. However after further research I said “get the GANG back together” and not band, I have no legal leg to stand on. Dammit all

  4. psousa1 - Oct 18, 2012 at 10:20 AM

    Rumor had it that Youkilis and/or Theo Esptein were the leakers over beer and chicken/Tito was too wacked on anti depressents – going through divorce rumors I think it is unlikely Youkilis would be in Cleveland. I think the Pirates would have the most use for him. Low cost and could drive in some runs

    • 18thstreet - Oct 18, 2012 at 11:05 AM

      Where did you hear these rumors? Because I read every damn thing about the Red Sox, and I’ve never heard this one.

      • schlom - Oct 18, 2012 at 1:51 PM

        I always thought it was Theo Epstein – there weren’t any negative stories after he left to go to the Cubs.

      • psousa1 - Oct 18, 2012 at 4:40 PM

        You must not have read to many because virtually ALL stories about who dropped the dime on Beer/Chicken/Francona started and ended with Kevin Youkilis. When he got traded to Chicago – the writers hinted at the fact the leaker was Youkilis. As far as Epstein goes: only a couple of outlets brought up his name as the potential leaker. But you look at his track record of leaking things out through Peter Gammons and other Boston writers it would, justifiably, make you wonder. I thought what he did with amateur scouting was great but he spent Henry/Werner’s money like a drunken sailor and when his moves didn’t work out he would say it was a collaborative effort between Baseball ops (which he headed up) and ownership. If it was a decent signing it was all baseball ops. For instance when they signed Crawford and all the media types were writing about how he would flourish in Fenway, lead the league in doubles and triples, potential MVP candidate, blah blah, he made the rounds of the talk shows talking about how much homework he did on Crawford, made his case to ownership why they needed him, etc and then this year when they asked him to comment on the Dodger trade he said, safely from Chicago, it was a collaboration with ownership who all wanted Crawford. i.e.- I wouldn’t put anything by him

  5. hushbrother - Oct 18, 2012 at 10:59 AM

    Shades of Bill Parcells when he took over the Patriots in the early 90s. A down-and-out franchise suddenly had a bunch of former Super Bowl-winning New York Giants -Leonard Marshall, Dave Meggett, Matt Bahr – joining the team to play for the Tuna again. These guys didn’t have much left at this point, but this was an important first step toward bringing the team back to respectability.

  6. psuravens19 - Oct 18, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    What if the O’s go after Youk, than move Machado to SS and Hardy to 2nd? Makes sense to me…

  7. illadelphiasphinest - Oct 18, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    The band…?
    Yes a two man band of Youk n Francona.
    Definatly doesn’t turn Celevland into contenders. Their pitching stinks, bullpen stinks, and have what 2 legit hillers in Santana, and Choo. Francona needs a high payroll to be sucessful. Look at his track record when he was in Philly. Not so good…

  8. hermie13 - Oct 18, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    I disagree on Santana moving to 1B. Maybe in 5-6 years when he’s into his 30s but while he’s signed with Cleveland he should remain a catcher where he actually hasn’t been that bad. In 2011 he was rated as average and this year a bit below average.

    Definitely think he could be moved but RF makes way more sense than 1B. No denying that Santana has a very good arm. He was a 3B and OFer in the minors before moving to C. Actually played more OF than 1B (way more). Choo is only under team control for 1 more year…and there is no one on the ML roster, AAA roster, or even AA roster that looks like they could really take over for him in 2014. Santana did get put in the OF once last year…I would not be surprised if that’s where he gets moved eventually. But he is not some unathletic catcher that needs to move to 1B, he could move to the OF easily.

    Plus not like the Tribe has a catcher to really take over as the starter. Marson is solid (love the walks and OBP potential) but more a platoon guy at this point still than an everyday starter. Though I do think he could still develop into one (is younger than Santana).

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