On Sunday, it was finally announced that Kevin Youkilis had been traded by the Boston Red Sox. The departure that had been understood and anticipated for a month sent the corner infielder to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for pitcher Zach Stewart and utility player Brett Lillibridge.
The consensus is that the White Sox, in desperate need of a third baseman, picked up Youkilis for a song, but that the Red Sox had to move him as part of moving on as an organization. Neither Stewart nor Lillibridge are likely to provide much in terms of value other than depth, but the Red Sox were put into a funny situation with the emergence of Will Middlebrooks at third base and simply not enough playing time to go around.
There are also certainly some intangible issues with the team’s club house, that I’m certain were taken into consideration by Boston’s management. No matter what those issues were or how Youkilis got along with his manager Bobby Valentine, there’s no disputing that he got a proper send off on Sunday.
In the bottom of the seventh inning with two outs, Youkilis was due up when Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington came down to the dugout runway to inform Valentine that a deal was imminent. Normally, in such a situation, a player would be pulled from the game so that he avoids injury. Youkilis took his at bat, though, and hit an RBI triple. Nick Punto was then sent in to replace the two time World Series winner, and the fans at Fenway Park, with a premonition of what was going on, gave him a very nice, and very loud goodbye.
According to Punto:
We’ve been friends a long time, 10 years. I know all of the blood, sweat, and tears he’s poured into this organization. It was kind of a goodbye. For the sake of baseball it’s always sad to see someone go like that. After he got that ovation we were sitting in dugout and he said to me, ‘Man, it was hard to hit after that.’ It felt good. He hadn’t felt too good about himself this season, but not too many Boston Red Sox players have won two championships. He was a heck of a player in this organization.
While there may have been clubhouse issues that we’re not privy to, make no mistake that Youkilis was loved by his teammates. From Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia:
It’s tough. I played with the guy my whole career. I know how hard he’s played in every game. He’s put on the uniform, so it’s sad. He pushes me every day. I want to go out and play hard like he does. He’s always out there doing his best to help us win. I appreciate him so much. The fans know how hard he played for the Red Sox. He did it first class.
Cherington had this to say about Youkilis moving on to another team:
He did a lot of winning during that time. He was part of two World Series teams. And on an individual level, I think his legacy is he’s a passionate player that played every inning hard, worked and willed his way into being an All-Star player. He went from a good player to an All-Star player through sheer force of will and hard work. A huge catalyst for us and a huge part of the middle of our lineup for several years there. We’re happy that he’s going to get a fresh start and hopefully a chance to play in Chicago. He did a lot of good things for this organization, and for the bulk of the time here, he really embodied a lot of the things we believe in as a player. We’ll wish him well, except when he’s playing against us.
There’s a game that bored sports fans play in which one person names a player who played on multiple teams during their career and the other person has to say the jersey that they picture them wearing as soon as they hear their name. No matter what happens with the rest of Youkilis’ career, it’s going to be impossible not to picture him as a member of the Boston Red Sox.
The Boston Herald has more coverage of Youkilis departing.
And The Rest
Arizona Diamondbacks pitching prospect Trevor Bauer is set to make his Major League debut on Thursday. The 21-year-old Bauer was the third overall pick in the 2011 draft out of UCLA. [Getting Blanked]
Will there be another much awaited call up in Chicago this week? [Chicago Tribune]
The question of the year: Why does Cliff Lee having no wins so far this season cause people to reevaluate the pitcher instead of the value of tracking wins. [Crashburn Alley]
Interleague play, as we know it, is finished. [Baseball Musings]
Chase Utley could be in a Philadelphia Phillies uniform as soon as Wednesday. [Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia]
The biggest rip offs in baseball for fans. [The Hardball Times]
Brandon Gomes is an intimidating batter. [Baseball Prospectus]
The New York Mets have found a home for Little Jerry Seinfeld. [ESPN New York]
Will R.A. Dickey’s angry knuckleball change the game of baseball? [Baseball Nation]
This isn’t baseball, but it relates to much of how baseball is covered by the media. [Inside The Book]