Kevin Youkilis is going to work for the enemy. A longtime fixture for the Boston Red Sox, Youkilis emerged from free agency Tuesday and agreed with the New York Yankees on a one-year, $12 million contract.
By the Great Greek God of Walks' Shaved Goatee! Say it ain't so!
And in the middle of Hanukkah, no less!
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports first reported the deal, which pays just $1 million less than the club option the White Sox declined on Youkilis after the 2012 season concluded.
With slugger Alex Rodriguez out until June (or so) as he recovers from hip surgery, the Yankees had a gaping hole at third base. Until, that is, they added Youkilis, who also happens to be the fourth member of the 2004 Red Sox to play for the Bronx Empire. Yankees fans remember the '04 Sawx, the guys who came back from 3-0 down in the ALCS. And they remember Youkilis as a guy who can't ever seem to get out of Joba Chamberlain's way. Now, they're teammates and potential injury rehab buddies.
[Also: A-Rod centaur mystery persists]
He's going to help the Yanks, but this is not your older brother's Youk.
He was below-average for the Red Sox in the first half of '12, though much of that is the fault of injuries and, probably, Bobby Valentine. Traded to Chicago on June 24, Youkilis picked up his production for the White Sox, for whom he batted .236/.346/.425 with 15 home runs in 344 plate appearances. He also played a solid third on defense as he navigated minor injuries.
Youkilis had a memorable return to Fenway in July, when he was greeted with cheers of diminishing excitement for every ensuing at-bat. While the Yanks and Red Sox open the 2013 season at Yankee Stadium on April 1 (no foolin'), they won't play at Fenway until the opening of the second half. Who knows what the state of anything — Youkilis, A-Rod, the pennant race — will be by then? All of it will factor into how he is received by the fans at the Fens.
And that — what Red Sox fans think — really is a minor point. Youkilis will be 34 years old on opening day. For his career, he's a .283/.384/.482 hitter, but the Yankees probably aren't getting that guy. If they get the guy who played for the White Sox down the stretch in '12, or a little better, they'll be happy while A-Rod heals.
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