We live in a world where signing Kevin Youkilis to play third base is a fallback plan after missing out on Eric Chavez and Jeff Keppinger. This is a reality. The New York Yankees have signed Kevin Youkilis to a one-year, $12 million deal, pending a physical. Ken Rosenthal broke the news via Twitter.
Say goodbye to that goatee that looks like it could own and operate an ATV, the 2013 version of Kevin Youkilis will be clean shaven and clothed in pinstripes. The Yankees finally bagged someone to fill-in at third while Alex Rodriguez recovers from hip surgery.
The Yankees tabled an offer to the free agent corner infielder last week, and A-Rod himself offered an endorsement of the club’s pursuit of three-time All-Star:
“Youk has always been a tough out,” Alex Rodriguez said. “He’s a tough player, he’s a guy that’s a winning player. Whatever the franchise wants to do, I think that would be a good move for us.”
So, there’s that, whatever that’s worth. Call it phase one of operation Kevin Youkilis: True Yankee.
Youkilis is coming off of his worst offensive season, one in which he parted ways with the Boston Red Sox on less than amicable terms. “Youk” hit a paltry .235/.336/.409 in 2012 with the Red Sox and White Sox. His 10% walk rate marked the first time since 2008 that he walked in less than 13% of his plate appearances, and his .336 OBP, .409 SLG, and 1.3 fWAR all represent the lowest totals he’s registered since becoming an everyday player in 2006.
We could dwell on the numbers and obvious signs of decline here, but that would ignore the win for narrative that will adorn the front pages of newspapers in both New York and Boston tomorrow. Kevin Youkilis, the two-time World Series champion with the Boston Red Sox, has defected to the New York Yankees. Or something like that.
I like this move for the Yankees and Youkilis. It’s a one-year deal in which the player will be asked to masquerade as an everyday player for at least half a season, and then likely to bounce around between third base, first base, and possibly DH. Youkilis is not the 4-6 win player he once was, but he’s moving to an ideal situation where he’ll have an opportunity to prove he still has something left.
Oh, I can feel the bile rising in Massachusetts.