Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 6/1/12

Kevin Youkilis has been the subject of trade rumors ever since starting off the season slowly, going on the disabled list, and seeing his replacement tear it up.

Will Middlebrooks is a top prospect in the Red Sox organization and has crushed the ball since being called up in May. The 23-year-old has hit .316 with six home runs, 21 RBIs and delivered a .922 OPS. His emergence has led to speculation that the Red Sox could deal Youkilis, who is making $12 million this season and due $13 million next year.

CBS Sports’ Danny Knobler tweeted on Friday that the “Red Sox are telling teams they definitely intend to trade Youkilis.” He also wrote that the Dodgers could be interested in making a play for Youk.

Sox GM Ben Cherington denied Knobler’s report.

“That’s inaccurate,” he told WEEI.com via email Friday afternoon. “Some teams have checked in on him. We haven’t told any teams we plan to trade him. It’s our job to listen if teams have interest. He’s swinging the bat well since coming off the DL and [is] a big part of our team and lineup.”

You would expect Cherington to deny the report for a few reasons. One, you don’t want your players being distracted by rumors. Two, if he says they’re not dealing Youk, it could persuade teams interested in acquiring the third baseman to offer more than normal.

If the Red Sox are planning to trade Youkilis, I imagine it won’t be for at least another month until teams are more aware of their standing relative to the trade deadline. Meanwhile, Youkilis has been hitting the ball well since being activated by the team and is boosting his value. Both SoCal teams should be interested.

H/T Hardball Talk
Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

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