Kevin Youkilis will be forever remembered by the Fenway Faithful with fond memories. He was a prototypical lunchpale player. His biggest moment was the 2007 postseason where he hit .388, and of course, won a ring. He showed up, produced, and for the most part, didn't make big headlines. Until this year. Which is one reason it was time for Youk to go.
Earlier in the season, Youkilis and new Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine took to the media to air some clubhouse laundry. And if you want to say it was Bobby V airing it out, I'll allow that. Certainly, Valentine was to blame for most of the early season acrimony. But for the Red Sox, it was about production. And age.
At 33, Youkilis is on the downward slope of his career, and his numbers are starting to reflect that. Last season, The Greek God of Walks (hey, I've seen Moneyball, too) hit .258, his lowest average since coming to the bigs. This season, he's off to a .233 clip. Not exactly what the Red Sox are looking for in a contract year. He has a club option for 2013 which the White Sox are now on the hook for. The buyout is $1 million. The Red Sox will pick up $5.5 of the $6.6 million remaining on Youk's contract for this season.
In other words, they weren't renewing his contract, and wanted something in return.
That something is hardly anything, though.
The Red Sox are receiving two journeyman players. Zach Stewart is a 25-year old pitcher that has been on four teams in five years. His 3-8 record and 5.92 career ERA don't exactly get you excited. The other piece is 28-year old utility player, Brent Lillibridge. He is hitting .215 this season splitting time with the Braves and White Sox.
If this were a trade proposal in a fantasy league, most owners would be up in arms about this. But most fantasy leagues aren't salary based. And that's why this is nothing more than a salary dump by the Red Sox. I'd be surprised if Stewart and Lillibridge are even around at seasons end.
Could the Red Sox have gotten more out of Youk? Possibly. But at 33 years old, and sliding numbers, maybe not. The Red Sox got an offer, and they jumped on it. Like any trade though, time will ultimately tell the story.