Thursday, July 05, 2012

Maybe the Red Sox Shouldn't Have Traded Kevin Youkilis

Hindsight is 20/20. And Kevin Youkilis is 11 for 36. He's hitting .306 for the White Sox, including a game-winning RBI single yesterday. He's already knocked in 9 runs and hit a homerun in Chicago. He only had 14 RBI and 4 HRs with the Red Sox before he was traded.

Meanwhile, Will Middlebrooks hasn't played recently and is questionable to play this weekend. When he strained his hamstring a few days ago, Red Sox suck-up Nick Cafardo astutely noted "The Sox ideally could use a veteran corner infielder or someone with third base experience."

I know a team that is not only willing to give up such a player, they'd also be willing to pay most of his salary, and all you'd have to give them is a utility guy with a sub-Mendoza average, and a mediocre minor league reliever.

The same club that sold recycled shreds of infield tarp for $60 a pop sold Youkilis for next-to-nothing.

And we all agreed it was smart. Because Youkilis must have been becoming a problem in the clubhouse.

Was he? I don't know. The media, which has a history of being influenced by the whispers and rumors that leak out of Red Sox Front Office, seemed convinced that he was. And perhaps he was. He's always seemed to be, at best, a prickly personality. And at worst, an utter prick.

But if clubhouse chemistry was the motivation, aren't there similarly offensive jerks to get rid of? Why is Josh Beckett still on this team if chemistry is a worry? Not only is he a lazy weasel, you can actually get something for him in a trade. And don't bother arguing that Beckett's high salary makes him untradeable. The Red Sox were willing to continue to pay Youkilis.

Sure, the Red Sox "need" Beckett in order to win. And that is the absolute worst kind of negative clubhouse guy to have, the one who has all the power. That's the guy that must be gotten rid of.

I fell in line with everyone else. It seemed as though Kevin Youkilis had to go and had to go quickly. And it's easy now to look back question it, with him winning games, and Middlebrooks temporarily out of the lineup.

But why was it so rushed? The deadline is still weeks away. Why were the Sox negotiating with multiple teams but unable to get anything significant in return?

Clubhouse issues aside, are the Red Sox better or worse with Kevin Youkilis on the bench or Brent Lillibridge?

And would Youkilis have been a problem if the Red Sox had kept him informed about his status with the team? Just a quick meeting with the GM maybe telling him "You'll be hearing your name in trade rumors, we are talking with teams about trading you. We'll keep you posted." Instead, Youkilis was the last to know about what was happening to him. He had to learn about it from the Globe and Herald at the same time we did.

That'd make me an angry individual and potential clubhouse problem.

The Sox traded Youkilis but didn't dump his salary, didn't get much in return, and are now a little worse actually. They might have resolved a chemistry issue, but there's still plenty of acid in that mixture. And now Middlebrooks is hurt, Youkilis is doing well in black and white, and the Sox are realizing that they're very shallow at third base.

At the very least, Youkilis' success in Chicago seems like the Red Sox are paying the price for some bad karma.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo

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