May 26, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox infielder Kevin Youkilis (20) catches a line drive against the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE

Kevin Youkilis Rumors: Three Teams Interested

Boston Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis is one of the biggest names on the trading block, and it is becoming clearer to fans that Youk could be gone before the deadline. Three teams with early interest in Youkilis are the Los Angeles Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Philadelphia Phillies per CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman.

All of those three teams have a need at the position, with the Phillies being a team constantly circulating around rumors for the slugger. The Sox won’t part with Youklis unless they get something significant in return, but those “demands” will be cut down if a team is willing to pay for his entire salary.

Heyman also notes that the Chicago White Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, San Francisco Giants (also involved in trade rumors for Youkilis), Cleveland Indians, Texas Rangers, and Cincinnati Reds are all logical fits (most of them are not in rumors) for the veteran 1B/3B.

Of those teams above, the Giants, Sox, Indians, and Reds are the four teams with the best chance of making a move. The Giants are an obvious choice, because they have the pitching but are still looking for some more offense and are in rumors for Youk. The problem is that the Giants have bigger positions of need than third or first.

The Brew Crew have Aramis Ramirez and the Rangers have a pretty settled infield situation as well, so making a move isn’t as logical for those two teams.

The Cincinnati Reds have Scott Rolen and a great situation at first base with Joey Votto, so count them as “eh” in this race. The Indians aren’t usually buyers, but they could be if they feel they have a chance at winning the division by making a serious upgrade.

The Chicago White Sox are clearly the best choice of those teams, and Heyman notes this by placing them fourth; the highest ranking of the teams that aren’t showing “early” interest. The Sox, as Heyman notes, have the lowest OPS in the league from third base thus far. Brent Morel is injured right now, but Kevin Youkilis would still be a definite upgrade when he comes back.

At this point, the teams with early interest look like the best bets to land Kevin Youkilis. The Phillies look like an interesting candidate, because starting pitcher Joe Blanton is also in trade rumors. The Sox might want another starter, and Blanton has value and a Youk-Blanton swap has been a topic of discussion that has been brought up by writers.

The Phillies do not have as big of a need as the Dodgers, and it can be argued that there isn’t a big need for them. Still, they are interested and Youkilis would constitute an upgrade for a team with an offense that will still be mediocre even when everyone returns to health. The Phillies could turn into buyers and hold onto Cole Hamels if a Blanton-Youkilis (or any other trade) takes place.

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Tags: Aramis Ramirez Arizona Diamondbacks Boston Red Sox Brent Morel Chicago White Sox Cincinnati Reds Cleveland Indians Cole Hamels Joe Blanton Joey Votto Jon Heyman Kevin Youkilis Los Angeles Dodgers Philadelphia Phillies San Francisco Giants Scott Rolen Texas Rangers

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