Multiple reports indicate that Kevin Youkilis will soon be traded by the Boston Red Sox, and the Dodgers are considered one of the suitors for the corner infielder. Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of Fox Sports reported that the Chicago White Sox are the frontrunners to land Youkilis but that the Dodgers "remain in the mix."
Youkilis hasn't played since Wednesday and Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine told him last night he would be sitting more often in favor of rookie Will Middlebrooks, per Tony Lee of ESPN Boston. Both Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe and Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reported that Red Sox officials met Friday to discuss the roster changes with a potential Youkilis trade, with Abraham noting a trade could come as soon as Saturday.
A lower back strain sent Youkilis to the disabled list in May. He has played in just 41 of Boston's 70 games thus far, and is hitting .225/.311/.359 with four home runs including .174/.296/.241 with no home runs and one RBI in June. Over his previous six seasons, Youkilis averaged .292/.392/.500 with 20 home runs, 36 doubles, and 72 walks, never with an OPS below .810 during that span.
But the 33-year old has also never played more than 147 games in a season, and from 2009-2011 averaged just 119 games per year.
Youkilis has started 28 games at third base and 12 games at first base this season. The Dodgers have gotten essentially nothing on offense from their primary corner men:
- James Loney: .255/.324/.348 with 13 doubles and two home runs in 68 games
- Juan Rivera: .264/.288/.364 with four doubles and three home runs in 40 games
Juan Uribe: .231/.278/.324 with seven doubles and one home run in 35 games
A trade for Youkilis would be a bet on his health and a hope that a change of scenery would help him return to form. The bar is pretty low for Youkilis to be an upgrade, but he would have to improve from his current production for that to be the case.
Abraham speculated that the Red Sox "will get a B-/C+ prospect or two for Youkilis, not an MLB player," while Rosenthal and Morosi reported that Boston would be willing to pay part of Youkilis' remaining salary to get a better player or players in return. Scott Miller of CBS Sports reported that the Red Sox would be willing to pay nearly all of his remaining salary in any deal.
Youkilis is making $12 million this season, and has a $13 million option for next year with a $1 million buyout. If Youkilis has a new team on Monday, for example, with 101 days left in the season he would be owed approximately $6,622,951 for the remainder of this season plus at least his $1 million option buyout for 2013.