Though the Boston Red Sox have remained mum regarding a possible Kevin Youkilis trade, one rival scout told Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com that the club has to deal the veteran slugger. Some of the teams that have been tied to Youkilis this season have been the Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, Arizona Diamondbacks and Cincinnati Reds.
Boston currently has their third baseman of the future on their roster in Will Middlebrooks, and the Red Sox have several areas of need they could address by trading Youkilis. Though their bullpen has shown improvement, Boston’s starting pitching still ranks near the bottom of the majors in ERA.
While Knobler admits Youkilis isn’t the player he once was, he believes that there are still likely to be teams interested in the 33-year-old. Youkilis can provide clubs pop and the ability to get on base from either corner infield position, as the veteran owns a career line of .288/.389/.489.
Youkilis is set to make $12 million this season, and the final year of his contract can be bought out this winter for $1 million. If the Red Sox do decide to trade Youkilis, Knobler expects them to have to eat a bit of his remaining salary.
The presence of Middlebrooks, who’s started his Red Sox career by hitting at a clip of .308/.337/.549, has made Youkilis expendable. At this point, due to their laundry list of disabled players, the Red Sox can keep both Youkilis and Middlebrooks in their regular lineup. However, this isn’t something that will be sustainable as outfielders such as Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford and Cody Ross return from injury.
Boston will have to decide if they want to ride out the season with Youkilis or deal him sooner than later to help address other areas of need.
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