There are rumors floating around on the internet concerning the availability of Kevin Youkilis. Apparently, because he’s old and decrepit combined with the emergence of Will Middlebrooks, Youkilis is now expendable. Naturally, to go along with these rumors are the ridiculous rumblings of the Indians jumping all over this and going all out to acquire Youkilis and his 37 different injured body parts. I feel like I’m reliving the Johnny Damon saga all over again.
Are the Indians trying to get the band back together? We already have Derek Lowe and Johnny Damon. What comes after Youkilis, Mike Lowell and Dave Roberts? Am I taking crazy pills. Please allow me to express my frustrations about the possibility of the Indians trading for Youkilis.
Why do people want the Indians to make this move? I understand the need for a quality right-handed bat, but at what cost? Why would we want to give up a young prospect for an injury riddled 33-year-old who makes $12 million per year? I don’t understand it. Yes, Youkilis has an excellent track record and has had a good career, but when you really take a look at his statistics and where is in his career and there’s no way this makes sense.
After hitting .307 in 2010, Youkilis struggled to finish 2011 hitting a measly .258. So far this season? Youkilis is batting .243. Yeesh. The Red Sox can try to spin things however they want, but because of the injuries and his age the fact of the matter remains, Youkilis is past his prime as a useful baseball player at this point.
You also don’t know how Youkilis would respond to leaving Boston, the city he has called home for his entire career. Will he see it as a slight against his diminishing skill set and try to prove that he still has something left in the tank or does he go into a deep dark depression and just go through the motions? I would lean towards the former given what we know about Youkilis, but stranger things have happened.
Then there’s the second issue of where would you put Youkilis in this lineup? Do you give up on Casey Kotchman and his slick glove in hopes that Youkilis’ bat comes to life? Right now he’s not hitting any better than Kotchman. The only difference is he does it from the right side of the plate. Given how many sinker ball pitchers in the Indians starting rotation this might just create more issues.
Do you cast off Jose Lopez or Jack Hannahan to the minors and put Youkilis at the hot corner? After all, many blame Youkilis’s move to third after the Red Sox acquired Adrian Gonzalez for his rapid decline. His body just can’t stand the rigors of playing there every day. Not to mention he’s a significant down grade from the current options already on the roster.
What about DH? Just like with Damon, this isn’t going to happen. Travis Hafner makes too much money to sit the bench. He has to be playing every day or close to it so they can get a return on that mammoth investment. This is probably the best option of the three based on Youkilis’ skill set, but not likely unless Hafner suffers a season ending injury.
So what does it all mean in the end? What it means is the Indians shouldn’t do anything stupid. Don’t start throwing away prospects for players on the down side of their career. John Hart tried that time and time again and it never seemed to work out. Instead, they should just sit back and bide their time. Wait to see how the market changes and which players become available. I’d much rather see the Indians acquire Bryan LaHair, Andrew McCutchen, or even Josh Willingham.
So please, Cleveland, I beg of you… don’t rush into a marriage with Kevin Youkilis. There’s no reason to panic right now. The Indians are in first place, they’re playing well, and there’s still plenty of time left before a decision like that has to be made.