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Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Youkilis

The Task Ahead for the Red Sox

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Good game today – especially nice to see Jon Lester turn in a strong pitching performance. With a solid bullpen effort from Andrew Bailey, Craig Breslow and Alfredo Aceves. And what about Pedro “Four Hits” Ciriaco.

So at six games back in the wildcard hunt (as this post is written) – does Boston still have a chance?

Take a look at the numbers.

The Red Sox are playing .488 ball with 59 wins for the season.

Say they play .600 percentage baseball the rest of the season. The team would end with 84 wins.

Here are the top three teams in the wildcard race:

  • Tampa Bay has 65 wins (.546 winning percentage) with 43 games remaining.
  • Baltimore and Detroit both have 64 wins (.538 percentage) with also with 43 games left.

Note: All three teams still are playing today.

Any of the three top contending teams can outpace Boston by hitting 85 wins without even playing .500 for the rest of the season.

And there are two other teams ahead of the Red Sox (Oakland and Los Angeles).

So while capturing a wildcard spot is a mathematical possibility for the Red Sox, to actually achieve it requires Boston to play significantly better than they have all season.

And for Tampa Bay, Baltimore and Detroit to each probably play below .500 baseball for the rest of the year (assuming Boston plays .600).

The moral of the story: Keep trying to win – but look for opportunities to play the kids like Ciriaco and Ryan Lavarnway – to see what you got for next year.

Trade Lesson Learned

Also, in prepping for next year – start the introspection process – to learn from this year’s mistakes.

For instance, don’t trade – actually, don’t give away – player assets just because the player is unhappy.

This blog was a proponent for trading Kevin Youkilis – but I have changed my mind.

Trade recap – Youkilis loses his job to Will Middlebrooks – and to create a clear path for the rookie, move Youkilis for not much talent in return and paying most of Youk’s salary.

Boston has seen injuries to Middlebrooks (two times – one season ending), Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz – all where have Youkilis would have helped.

A playoff-focused team tells Youkilis – go to the bench and be ready when we need you.

While Youkilis probably would not have been a big contributor – when you get nothing much in return, hold onto to an asset.

Congrats to the Yalies

Love it – Breslow and Lavarnway became the first pitcher-catcher battery with both players from Yale since 1883.

Red Sox Quick Hits

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Today is a former Red Sox notes edition.

Oakland OF Josh Reddick as Spider-Man – check out: http://bit.ly/Qrylnq. Boston could use some players with that type of enthusiasm (beyond Nick Punto). And a guy who has hit 23 homers so far would be good too.

Speaking of the A’s – it’s time to officially state: Curt Young was not the reason the Red Sox pitching staff stunk last season. Look at the job Oakland’s pitching staff is doing this year – it’s in line with what Young did before he came to Boston. Note to Red Sox GM Ben Cherington for the off-season: It’s the pitchers, not the coach.

Kevin Youkilis has a .246 AVG for the White Sox – but is trending downwards, 5 for 32, .132 AVG in his last ten games. Still a good grab for Chicago. They gave up nothing and are paying him little. And he is an improvement over what the White Sox previously had at third-base. But Youk isn’t helping himself for a 2013 contract. Look for a one-year, make-good deal as the best he can get.

The Indians are fading fast – and shedding former Red Sox. Johnny Damon was cut 231 hits shy of the 3000 mark he will probably never make. Looks like the end of the line for Damon. Also gone is Derek Lowe. Despite pitching poorly recently, expect Lowe to land somewhere – because teams are always looking for arms. The Red Sox should pass. They need to quit pretending they are a contender and use the last two months of the season thinking about how to sort out things for next year – with Chris Carpenter and Alex Wilson getting shots instead of Lowe.

Written by Albie Jarvis

August 4, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Youk is Back

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It’s nice to see Kevin Youkilis return to Boston, getting a grand ovation from the Fenway faithful.

And Youk was smart enough not to take the bait from the media about Bobby Valentine.

Bobby V kicked things off, spouting off about Youkilis to the media when the Red Sox were at Tampa Bay.

Of course, Valentine should know better – but his mouth got in front of his brain. I don’t think that was a first.

Looking at the Youkilis Trade

Chicago has been the big winner in the Youkilis deal – giving up practically nothing and having Boston pay most of Youk’s salary. How could they lose?

The big losers were the general managers of other teams – like the Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Athletics – who could have used a righty bat who can play first and third.

It has to pain them to recall how Youkilis was out there for nothing.

I get Youkilis was not hitting when Boston was trying to trade him. But the cost was virtually nothing. Give him a try – and if it didn’t work, release him.

As for the Red Sox, the trade served its purpose – opening a spot for Will Middlebrooks at third base.

Brent Lillibridge – who came over from ChiSox in the Youkilis – may have already played his last game as a Red Sox – being designated for assignment.

And the other player acquired – Zach Stewart – is down in Pawtucket and may or may not make it to Boston.

Red Sox Send Kevin Youkilis to White Sox

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In dealing Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox, the Red Sox did what a baseball superpower is supposed to do – they ate a big chunk of salary to get a better return in the trade.

Boston didn’t get a blue chip prospect – but P Zach Stewart has a shot at being a big-league starter.

And for a 33 year old with a .225 average and big contract – that’s a pretty good return.

Alex Speier took a look at the players the Red Sox picked up – Stewart and utilityman Brent Lillibridge (on Lillibridge – think Nick Punto – versatility and no bat, but more speed than Punto).

Stewart has been traded twice before – because teams see something there.

The key for Stewart – can he get his sinkerball going consistently? That’s something he will be searching for in Pawtucket.

The Red Sox need starters and getting an arm who may contribute – maybe even this season – is a good get.

As for Lillibridge – he may be a short-timer as Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury come off the disabled list.

Will Youk help the White Sox?

Richard Justice writes yes – Chicago got a head start on its playoff contender competition with this move.

Youkilis should be better than Brent Morel and Orlando Hudson. But that’s not asking much.

Let’s hope the change in scenery revitalizes Youk. He gave his all to Boston – it would be nice to see him get it going again.

And we will get to see it first hand – July 16-19 when Youkilis returns to Fenway Park in a White Sox uniform.

Written by Albie Jarvis

June 24, 2012 at 9:06 pm

Red Sox Quick Hits: Beckett, Youkilis and Crawford

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Beckett Woes. Josh Beckett hit the disabled list with a bum shoulder. Bad news on multiple fronts. The move weakens a Red Sox rotation that is already performing below expectations. It also serves as a reminder that Boston has the 32 year old Beckett under contract at big bucks ($15.750 million per year) through the 2014 season. Alex Speier charted the history of Beckett’s shoulder woes and called the injury “a matter worthy of significant attention.” The team needs a healthy Beckett – this year and beyond. And – with or without Beckett – Boston needs another top starter. Put Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza of the Cubs at the top of the list.

DBacks Talking Youk. Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic reports the Red Sox asked the Arizona Diamondbacks for reserve OF Gerardo Parra as part of a deal for 3B Kevin Youkilis. And Arizona said no. Shows GM Ben Cherington is out there trying to trade Youk – despite what he says. And – more importantly – it’s going to be a tough market to move Youk, as noted in a recent post. Don’t expect the Red Sox to get a lot of value for Youkilis in any trade – meaning, no everyday starter or pitcher who is a difference maker. And what Boston gets back may greatly depend on how much of Youk’s salary they are willing to eat.

Crawford Throwing. Manager Bobby Valentine reported OF Carl Crawford threw the ball well before today’s game. Sorry, can’t get excited this “news.” First, no date has been set for Crawford to start playing games. Second, even when Crawford plays, not sure his contributions will make much difference. Best case scenario: Crawford gets healthy, plays well, and the Red Sox eat a lot of salary and move him to another team. Great match: Miami Marlins – they need an outfielder and demonstrated a willingness to spend in the off-season.

Be Glad You Are Not A Phillies Fan. Frustrated supporting the Red Sox? Be happy you are not a Phillies fan. Their season is more disappointing than the Red Sox performance. Another team dealing with a bunch of injuries. But the Phillies are older and also have a bunch of expensive long-term contracts. Key difference: the Red Sox have a much stronger farm system than the Phillies – so Boston’s help is on the way.

What do you think – who’s is better for this season and the long term: Boston or Philadelphia?

Does Kevin Youkilis Have Any Trade Value Today?

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When discussing 3B Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington has said he is “not close to dealing the infielder — or even fielding any calls.”

Of course, what else is Cherington supposed to say?

Yeah, I am trying to move Youk but have found no takers.

Then Youkilis drops into even a deeper funk.

Teams know Youkilis is available – no need to drum up a market.

In writing about an interview with Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino, Gordon Edes reports, “ownership expects soon some resolution at third base” between Youkilis and rookie Will Middlebrooks.

Here’s the question: Does Youkilis have any trade value?

Let’s look at three key factors:

  • Performance. The 33 year-old Youkilis is hitting .212 AVG and .295 OBP (where did the Greek God of Walks go?). And the trends are not looking good. Last ten games: Youk is 3 for 33 – batting .091 AVG.
  • Salary. Youkilis is a big money player – $12 million this season with a $1 million buy-out for next season. With the money involved, the Red Sox either need to focus exclusively on big market teams or figure they need to eat money (maybe big money) in any deal.
  • Competition. Most likely, Youkilis won’t be the only 3B out on the market. Ken Rosenthal positions Padres 3B Chase Headley as a better bargain than Youk. And there may be others, say like Edwin Encarnacion if the Blue Jays decide they are out of the playoff hunt after all their pitching injuries.

If – when? – the Red Sox move Youkilis don’t expect much coming back to Boston.

I don’t see Boston getting a player in return that contributes in 2012. Maybe a decent prospect – if the Red Sox are willing to eat a lot of cash.

The potential return raises two questions.

One, should Boston just say Middlebrooks is the starter, Youk: you are on the bench. And figure, can Youkilis provide injury insurance (the Red Sox as a team certainly have had injury issues during the last couple of years) and maybe contribute somewhere down the line?

Two, if keeping Youkilis on the roster is just unworkable and Youk’s low production/high cost makes him untradeable, would it be possible that the Red Sox release Youkilis?

What would you do with Kevin Youkilis if you were the Red Sox? Which teams may want him?

Red Sox Round-up

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Moving Youkilis

Jon Heyman weighs in on potential Red Sox trading partners in a Kevin Youkilis trade. Increasingly, it is looking like a Youk deal is a matter of “when” not “if.” Of interest: What will be the Red Sox asking price? Are we looking at player (or players) that will impact this season’s roster – or prospects? The Red Sox – even with all their injuries – have plenty of offense, so pitching should be the any short-term trading priority. Does Youkilis have enough trade value to bring a quality pitcher in return? This will be a good test on Boston GM Ben Cherington’s deal-making abilities. His previous trades (notably, Andrew Bailey and Mark Melancon) have not worked out so well for the Sox.

Doubront’s Emergence

If Jon Lester could just pitch as well as Felix Doubront then the Red Sox rotation would be something. With yesterday’s victory, Doubront leads Boston’s pitching staff – and is the only starter with an ERA under 4 (ouch). This has been an unexpected plus says manager Bobby Valentine, “When you talk about a guy winning six games by June 2 when he hadn’t been in a rotation before, I can’t say that’s what I expected.” While two months doesn’t make a season, all signs indicate Doubront is a keeper and will be a key part in Boston’s drive for a playoff spot this season.

Atchison = All Star?

You got to like Scott Atchison. He consistently does his job – whatever the manager asks. And so far, Atchison’s season is shaping up to be All Star caliber. Talk radio callers frequently cite the Red Sox as not a particularly likeable team – but the 2012 Scott Atchison story is compelling and he is a player people can easily get behind. Hope he makes it to Kansas City for the All Star Game.

Draft Returns

The baseball draft will be held this coming week – and triggers Brian MacPherson to look at how the Red Sox did last year. And the answer (so far) is pretty darn well. P Matt Barnes and OF Jackie Bradley are tearing it up in the minors. Plus it looks like the Red Sox may have landed some other keepers. But remember – working through the minors is a long haul. The player closest to The Show – Barnes – is probably at least a couple of years ahead. So a lot can happen – good and not so good.

Three Potential Trade Homes for Kevin Youkilis

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Kevin Youkilis is doing his part – batting 11 for 35 (.314) with a couple of homers in the last ten games. Contributing to an injury-depleted team that is winning – and building his trade value.

Moving Youkilis is inevitable. Will Middlebrooks is not only the future at 3B – Middlebrooks is playing like he is the present.

The Red Sox can’t keep asking Adrian Gonzalez to move out to RF. Hats off to Gonzalez for playing right without a negative word.

But Gonzalez is the star and Gold Glove-caliber first baseman. He belongs at first.

Plus, things get more complicated as Cody Ross and Jacoby Ellsbury come off the DL. I’m not counting on Carl Crawford – anything he does is a bonus.

And that makes Youk the odd man out (as we know, DH is not an option with the Red Sox either).

Forget what Boston GM Ben Cherington says about not moving Youkilis. What’s he supposed to say – yeah, we are actively looking to move him?

Danny Knobler reports Boston is telling other teams it will deal Youkilis.

So what are some potential trade homes for Youk?

First, let’s look at two factors that will influence which team becomes Boston’s trading partner.

  • Contract. Youkilis makes $12 million this year. His contract has a club option for $13 million in 2013 (with a $1 million buyout). That means Boston either needs to find a team with payroll room or the team may need to eat some salary in a trade.
  • Position. Youkilis is better at 1B than 3B. So a team looking for a first baseman is probably a better option – although Youk is passable at 3B.

The Best Options

  • Los Angeles Dodgers. With new owners with deep pockets, they have money. The team is a bonafide playoff contender. And with James Loney, first base is a weak spot. Consider them option number one.
  • Arizona Diamondbacks. Looks like Ryan Roberts was a one-year wonder. Youkilis is a great fit – and the type of player that would fit with a Kirk Gibson run team. Arizona has lots of young pitching – and may make a good fit with the Red Sox. The drawback – Arizona is not a big spender and may be reluctant to take on Youk’s salary.
  • Chicago White Sox. Chicago is a surprise playoff contender and another team with a glaring hole at 3B. They are a club which experts regularly rank as a bottom-tier farm system, yet they continually bring up young pitchers who contribute. While I am not a big believer in this – I suspect Boston would prefer trade him out of the AL. (My view: Get the best deal for your team – no matter who you have to deal with.) But Chicago will spend – so they should be on the trade list.

Do you think the Red Sox should trade Youkilis? Which team do you see as their best trading partner?

Three Pivotal Players for Red Sox in 2012

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Josh Beckett

Josh Beckett is the most pivotal player to Red Sox success in 2012.

Beckett is supposed to be the pitching staff leader – on and off the field.

A role he failed in last season.

And remember 2011 was going to be a bounce-back year for Beckett after he failed miserably in 2010 by delivering only six wins.

With a couple of World Series rings, Beckett shows all the signs of a player who just doesn’t have the “fire in his belly” any longer.

Boston’s starting staff has a bunch of question marks.

  • Can Clay Buchholz comeback from a back injury?
  • Will Daniel Bard make the transition to starter?
  • And will someone nail down the fifth starter role and hold it consistently through the season? Or will the Red Sox have a revolving door?

The Red Sox don’t need Beckett adding to the question list.

Boston needs Beckett – along with Jon Lester – to answer the bell strongly in April and carry the rotation all the way through the end of the season.

AL East competitors New York and Tampa Bay have excellent starting staffs. Boston needs to match them to compete for a playoff spot.

Kevin Youkilis

Here’s the stat that tells the Kevin Youkilis story:

Youkilis will be 33 years old this season – can he bounce back from two mediocre seasons?

Or is Youkilis in an irreversible decline?

The Red Sox need the Youkilis of 2009 – when he delivered .305 AVG., .413 OBP, 27 HR, 94 RBIs.

His offensive performance is pivotal – providing a righty, power bat every day in the middle of heavily left-handed lineup.

Andrew Bailey

Getting Andrew Bailey was a good, low-cost pick-up by GM Ben Cherington.

But Bailey is a question mark – in the pivotal closer role.

He has never been a closer in a pennant race – never mind under the AL East spotlight.

And Bailey has had trouble staying healthy the last two seasons.

For instance, Oakland only got 41.2 innings from Bailey last year while Boston got 64.1 innings from Jonathan Papelbon.

Sure, the Red Sox have Mark Melancon who can slide into the closer role if Bailey gets hurt. But that move shortens Boston’s bullpen.

The baseball season is a grind.

Delivering throughout the 162 game season is this year’s challenge for Beckett, Youkilis and Bailey. And we won’t know if they are up to it until October 3 when the regular season ends.

And the Red Sox fortunes may rise or fall based on these pivotal players.

Written by Albie Jarvis

February 19, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Red Sox Notes: Cherington Primed, Papelbon Pumped, Red Sox in Future & Bryce Brentz

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Cherington Primed. Red Sox GM Ben Cherington says his focus in player acquisition has been getting players in their primes (examples: Andrew Bailey and Mark Melancon). Cherington notes players in their prime ages are typically at their healthiest and strongest, writes John Tomase. Player to watch: Kevin Youkilis. In the last three years, Youkilis has played in 358 games, compared to J.D Drew who played in 357. Youk will be 33 years old this coming season. With top 3B prospect Will Middlebrooks at AAA Pawtucket and in the last year of his contract (with a team option); Youkilis needs to demonstrate he can still produce.

Papelbon Pumped. Old friend Jonathan Papelbon arrived at Phillies Spring Training and opened with a press conference – declaring he was ready to start a new chapter. When discussing Boston, Papelbon gave thumbs to new Red Sox closer Bailey – saying Bailey has what it takes to thrive in Boston. The pressure will be on Pap (nothing new there) – with Philadelphia called out by pundits for overpaying Papelbon. The Phillies are a veteran – borderline old – team and win now is the mantra. Papelbon will be counted on to deliver. That’s what he is getting the big bucks to do.

Red Sox in Five Years. ESPN ran an interesting feature projecting where each MLB team will stand in a power ranking five years from now (subscription required). It’s not going to get any easier for the Red Sox. Boston scored well, landing in the #5 spot – but looking up at AL East foes Yankees #2 and Rays #3. And the Blue Jays came in at #6. Expect continued heavy competition for playoff spots – even with an expanded playoff picture – in coming years. Texas was #1.

Brentz Ready to Bop. Red Sox OF prospect Bryce Brentz talks to MiLB.com about getting ready for the coming season. Brentz had a breakout year in 2011. Figure him to start the season playing again for high-A Salem with the opportunity to move to AA Portland if he shows he is ready for a promotion during the year. MiLB.com also spoke with former Boston prospect Casey Kelly as he prepared for Spring Training – who has a shot at the Padres rotation.

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