Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 12/12/12
Picimg_mlb_apr_10_dd55
In at least one way, Kevin Youkilis is a perfect fit for the Yankees. They’re trying to stay under the luxury tax threshold in 2014 in order to reset their tax rate and there aren’t many other third basemen willing to take one-year deals on the market. Beats trying to coax Chipper Jones out of retirement, probably, and Youkilis has retained enough of his skill to be an asset, even coming off his worst year. In at least one other way, Youkilis is less than an ideal fit. The good news first. Though Youkilis is coming off his career-worst season, not all of his peripherals tell the same story. His power has been in decline for two straight years by isolated power and that can happen to older hitters. His home run per fly ball rate has held steady, but he’s hitting more ground balls recently and that has led to fewer home runs. He’s definitively past his power peak. Hold on, the good news is still coming. The thirty-three year old also just showed the second-worst strikeout rate of his career, which jives with aging curves as well. On the other hand, he’s not showing any more swinging strikes than he used to, and he hasn’t run into the extra swings — outside and inside the zone — that start appearing around his age. Given the fact that he just put up the best reach rate of his career, and the fact that his walk rate has stayed in the double-digits his whole career, it’s likely that Youkilis still has that skill that gave him the Grecian divinity moniker. This might all sound like luke-warm praise, but it’s hard to find a guy with patience, better than league-average power, and a league-average strikeout rate that will play third base, let alone one that will do so on a one-year contract. Only six third baseman managed the feat last season, and none of them were even free agents. One of the six was Alex Rodriguez, and his second hip surgery created the need for Kevin Youkilis to switch sides in the age-old turf war in the Northeast. Remarkably, the Yankees found an almost exact offensive replacement in Youkilis. Check out their last three years: BB% K% ISO Alex Rodriguez 10.1% 18.9% 0.196 Kevin Youkilis 12.1% 18.8% 0.208 So despite being post-peak, Youkilis has retained enough of his power and patience to be a near doppelganger to the man he needs to replace. Because he was coming off his worst year, he was available on a one-year deal that fit the Yankees needs. He didn’t cost prospects like a Michael Young, either. Doesn’t really look like there are any problems here that a quick shave can’t save. The problem does not stem from Youkilis’ talent, instead it comes from his age and that same contract that seems to fit so well. It’s a one-year deal to a 34-year-old third baseman, and it has two outcomes — either Youkilis rebounds and gets a longer-term contract from a team other than the Yankees, or he doesn’t live up to his short-term contract and he won’t be much of an asset to the Yankees next year. Even if the Yankees’ only goal is to get under the $189 million threshold once in 2014, it doesn’t seem likely that either of those Youuk outcomes helps solve what might be a developing long-term need at third base. Alex Rodriguez has managed to remain above average with the bat even as he has declined, but minus a one-year blip in 2011, his glove has begun to become a drag on his value. It’s not a direct line from his position to his age (37) to the myriad injuries that have kept him from 600 plate appearances since 2007, and averaging under 500 since 2010, but it’s likely that a trip down the defensive spectrum would help him stay healthier and help the team defense. And, after two years that ended in hip injuries, the departure date for that trip is approaching rapidly. Despite having the highest-paid third baseman in the league, it looks like the Yankees are developing a long-term need at the position. The fact that Kevin Youkilis will not solve that problem is the only thing standing between this signing and a perfect rating.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Top 10 storylines for Week 1 of college football season

Jim Tressel once sent touching note to family of Michigan OL

Sony cut 'Concussion' scenes to avoid angering NFL

Ryan Clark: Trent Richardson is 'worst RB of all time'

Report: David Feherty won't be back at CBS Sports

Warren Moon: RG3 needs to start taking the blame

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Lovullo: I don’t see Hanley Ramirez playing left field again in 2015

Judge Berman’s one-sentence order repeats Deflategate decision timeline

Ishmael Adams suspended indefinitely following arrest

McNair: Pats caused problem by not cooperating with Deflategate

Browns terminate contract of Phil Taylor

WWE’s 'Superfly' Jimmy Snuka charged in 30-year-old murder

Jack Eichel plans to move in with teammate Matt Moulson

Report: Bills GM 'went rogue’ in cutting Fred Jackson

Terrance Knighton irked by Redskins-Kardsashians comparison

Connor Cook on not being named Michigan State captain: 'It stinks'

Danny Amendola’s advice to those on roster bubble? ‘Control what you can’

Dallas Cowboys: Rookies to watch

Apple reportedly sought exclusive rights to new Bill Simmons podcast

One of Clemson’s 1981 national championship trophies broke

Milan Lucic says playing with Canucks is ‘dream of mine’

Underdogs: Hopefuls that can shock in the World Cup

WATCH: Victoria Azarenka rips chair umpire at US Open

Bill O’Brien starts charity swear jar for cursing on ‘Hard Knocks’

Dikembe Mutombo teared up when Hawks announced franchise will retire his jersey

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Top 10 storylines for Week 1 of college football season

Underdogs: Hopefuls that can shock in the World Cup

Manfred digs Shoeless Joe a deeper grave

Why Mike Trout ain't right

The Opening Drive: Jamal Anderson warns UM fans before heading to Salt Lake City

Best and worst MLB players in August

RG3 blames intern for liking Instagram post trashing owner

Four most surprising roster cuts from NFL teams

Raiders cut Trent Richardson

Caroline Wozniacki smoking cover of ‘Rhapsody’

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker