I really hope my headline either tricked people or gave them false hope. No, the White Sox have not traded to obtain Kevin Youkilis, Boston Red Sox corner infielder not-so-supreme. But it has become a very popular rumor throughout the usual channels. And it has steam because it makes sense. The White Sox have the worst production at third base in the majors so far this season. With prospect Will Middlebrooks up and hitting, Boston no longer really has a place for Youk to play since Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz are locked in at 1B and DH.
If those reports are to be believed, Youkilis can be obtained for very little as long as the receiving team is willing to take on the majority if not all of his salary. So should the White Sox make a move for the Greek God of Walks?That depends on how comfortable you are with both Orlando Hudson manning the hot corner and How much faith you have in Youkilis bouncing back from a slow start.
Brent Morel has re-injured his back down in Charlotte and it's looking less and less likely that we'll be able to count on him to do anything this season, which makes Hudson our new full-time starter at third base. And that is kind of terrifying. Hudson has managed a .521 OPS since coming over from San Diego. And while he's been passable defensively, he does have his strange moments. I think I'm safe in saying most of us would like him a lot more as the utility infielder if someone with more experience at the hot corner joined the club.
But should that someone be Youkilis? A major reason the Red Sox called up Middlebrooks was that Youk just isn't hitting like he used to. He's sporting career-worsts in both wOBA (.311) and OPS (.703). And that's with a .312 BABIP, so you can't even really say he's been a victim of bad luck. His power numbers are down, he's walking less, and he's hitting more groundballs than ever before. Add in the fact that he's an injury risk and hasn't played a full season since 2008, and the picture grows more concerning. Zips still has him projected to turn it around and wind up with a 2.0 WAR season, even with this slow start.
If all he costs is the money he's owed and a fringe minor leaguer (Josh Phegley please!), then Kenny Williams should engage in some serious conversations with Ben Cherington. By the time the trade deadline rolls around, Youk will only be due another $4-5MM with a $1MM buyout for next year. The division race is close enough that one or two wins could easily be the difference and Kevin Youkilis is a better bet than Orlando Hudson to be worth that.