The Cleveland Indians hired Terry Francona to take over a young team with playoff aspirations in 2013. Could the Indians sign Kevin Youkilis as a veteran infielder and reunite him with his former manager with the Boston Red Sox? It may make sense on multiple fronts.
Youkilis is the not the same player he was when he and Francona were winning World Series championships in Boston. Not even close. While he was rejuvenated briefly following his trade to the Chicago White Sox last season, Youkilis is no longer an All-Star caliber first or third baseman. His power numbers – although limited from the beginning – are all but gone. His batting average may never reach .300 again, and he seems to have lost a bit of the great eye that used to lead to so many walks.
Still, Cleveland is reportedly hot after Youkilis to take over the first base responsibilities in 2013. He could also play the hot corner at third, but the Indians would prefer to use him at first, according to multiple reports. As of now, Cleveland does not have an attractive option at either corner, as the current choices include Mike Aviles, Lonnie Chisenhall, Jason Donald and Jake Hannahan. Whereas the Indians are also said to be shopping shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, they could shift Aviles to short and sign Youkilis to play first.
The flexibility of being able to utilize Youkilis as a first baseman, third baseman or designated hitter is likely appealing. As is the fact that he got along quite well with Francona. Cleveland would bank on that in terms of having him mentor some of the younger players on the team as he reaches the twilight of his career.
Then again, Youkilis did not always have the best reputation as an ideal teammate in Boston over the final year and a half, so it remains to be seen just how much he could truly offer the Indians on or off the field in 2013.
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