When the 'Greek God of Walks' came over from Boston last season he was practically gift-wrapped. Chicago paid $1.12 million of the $12.25 million he banked last year in what turned out to be the last best thing Kenny Williams did in office. All the Sox gave up for him was Brent Lillibridge (who was DFA'd) and Zach Stewart. So, basically, nothing.
New White Sox GM Rick Hahn decided he wasn't going to pay the $13M option for a 34-year-old third baseman next season. I don't blame him, because that is a lot of money. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that he wont be back in a White Sox uniform.
With free agency beginning Friday morning, today we focus in on Yolk and see what's what.
Last contract: The Boston Red Sox signed him to a four-year deal for $41.63 million (2009-12), with the previously mentioned club option of $13 million in 2013. It wasn't picked up and he has filed for free agency.
How did he do? Pretty well. Solid BB/K ratio translating into a really good OBP. Some power and not a complete liability on the field.
Did he earn his money? Absolutely. Boston got two All-Star appearances out of him (plus a couple world championships on his previous deal), and the only time he didn't earn his loot in Beantown was when they got so fed up they made him change Sox, and he more than earned his money here. Fangraphs credits him with 1.3 WAR, but he was in the hole when he arrived.
Free agent peers: With the Mets picking up their $16 million option on David Wright, it's pretty slim pickings on the 3B front. Youkilis might be the cream of the crop. Pretty much everyone available is in their 30s except our friend Jose Lopez. Pass. The guy who had the best year out of the bunch is going to be 37 next season, Marco Scutaro. Jeff Keppinger will be out there. He should probably platoon against lefties for someone, but he's likely a little cheaper than Youkilis, and younger. Maicer Izturis? Scott Rolen? Eric Chavez? Mark DeRosa? No-thank-yous across the board. Slide Cesar Izturis over from short to play the hot corner? I think Kevin Youkilis is the best of the bunch.
Reasonable price: I'm not sure. I'd probably wouldn't go higher than $15 million for two years or thereabouts. The other options are fairly weak, so it will probably be higher than that for the 'All-Star' name.
I could see the Sox dumpster diving if the price for Youk is too high.