Apr 9, 2012; Toronto, ON, Canada; Boston Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis (20) bats against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. The Red Sox beat the Blue Jays 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies looking at Kevin Youkilis

Today’s Nick Cafardo column was as rich as ever, and one of the topics he hit on is teams looking at Boston Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis. The 33-year-old could return next week, as a back injury has been affecting him this season. He is eligible to come off of the DL tomorrow, but that’s definitely not going to happen.

Youkilis has been the subject of trade rumors, especially with Will Middlebrooks impressing at the hot corner in his absence. A National League special assignment scout told Cafardo, “The Giants are one of a few teams who are actively looking. They would love a guy with some power. The Phillies are looking, and even though the Rays say they aren’t, don’t be surprised if they try to pick someone up.’’

It is interesting that the Tampa Bay Rays would be interested, and it would seem like they would DH him if he is acquired. It would be interesting to see how the Rays would fit him into their line-up with Evan Longoria at third and Carlos Pena slotted comfortably in at first base.

The Giants need all the offense they can get, but the most interesting trade scenario of the three is the Philadelphia Phillies. They desperately need to add a big bat, and Youk is that guy for them. Placido Polanco is a below-average hitter, even if he is a slightly above-average player.

Adding Youkilis and becoming buyers would dispel the notion that the Phillies are sellers. If he can show that he is healthy and the nagging injuries won’t hold him back, then Youk will be the run-producer that this team craves and needs. The Cole Hamels and Shane Victorino rumors would be put on the shelf, and Youkilis provides a big, 125 wRC+ offensive upgrade for this team.

Last season, the Red Sox slugger was worth 3.7 WAR, but it was the worst year of his career since 2006. While Youkilis is on the decline, he is better than his 3 WAR ZiPS projection, but that’s only if he’s healthy enough.

The drop-off between Youkilis and Polanco offensively is spacious, but the difference between them in terms of overall value is about 1.5-2 wins. That’s still substantial enough, and the offensive upgrade alone makes it worth it. This team needs some solid pop and, especially, his high OBP and great patience at third.

Youkilis isn’t a great player anymore, but he’s an upper-echelon hitter at his position and is a 3-4 win player. The rumors will pick up as the Red Sox shop Youk, and don’t be surprised if they get an offer they can’t resist from one of those three teams; especially the Giants.

The former World Series champs did not make it to the playoffs last season due to a severe lack of offense, but they parted with a significant pitching prospect in order to add Carlos Beltran, a rental, to help boost their offense. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them get desperate for a bat like Youk’s at third and give up a little too much for the declining veteran. He’s still a good player, and overpaying for him could be worth it for the Giants, as long as he produces at a .360 wOBA rate and is healthy for them.


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Tags: Boston Red Sox Carlos Beltran Carlos Pena Cole Hamels Evan Longoria Kevin Youkilis Nick Cafardo Philadelphia Phillies Placido Polanco San Francisco Giants Shane Victorino Tampa Bay Rays Will Middlebrooks

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