After being courted by the Indians and linked to
Mr. Burns the Dodgers, third baseman Kevin Youkilis has found a new home as a member of the New York Yankees. This has to make the first Yankees-Sox series of the year more interesting, as Youkilis’ break-up with Boston wasn’t a pretty one. As speculated last week, the deal is for one year and will pay Youkilis $12 million. With Alex Rodriguez out for a good portion of the 2013 season thanks to a crappy hip, the Yankees had to make something happen at the hot corner.
Youkilis has dealt with injury problems for a while now, and he will turn 34 before the 2013 season begins. The bushy-faced infielder had an incredible 2010 (.307/.411/.564) despite only getting in 435 PA thanks to injuries. The story was more of the same in 2011 and 2012 when it came to injuries, but his on-field production was a fraction of what it had been. Youkilis hit only .235/.336/.409 for the Red Sox and White Sox last season, and there have to be some legitimate concerns as to what his bat can still do.
With no real solution at third base and their other targets off the market, this seems like a logical move for the Yankees even if Youkilis isn’t the player he was a couple of seasons and a couple of injuries ago. He’ll still draw his share of walks, and he did rebound a bit (.236/.346/.425) after landing in Chicago. I think it’s fair to assume he finds some of that lost power and avoids the terrible luck BABIP dealt him all year long in 2012. When right, Youkilis consistently hits the ball hard enough that he isn’t going to turn into an extremely low batting average player unless his skill set has truly eroded a ton.
It’s certainly possible Youkilis won’t earn $12 million next season, but then again he could surpass that mark even by having a season like he did in 2011. He’s risky, but the Yankees needed to do something to bolster their lineup and shore up third base to keep themselves among the favorites in a crowded AL East. It’s only a one-year deal, so if it doesn’t work out neither party will be worse for the wear.