Kevin Youkilis to the Yankees: A Good Fit for an Unexpected Situation
Youkilis, although coming off a season that has many doubtful for a Red Sox'esque production from him ever again, should make for a good fill-in while A-Rod recovers from hip surgery. And who knows? He may even be the solid player—for at least one season—that puts a little fight and (dare I say) grit in an aging Yankees squad.
Sure, at 33 his numbers may not reach the 2008-2010 range, where he consistently hit over .300, but then again, it wouldn't be a shock if he did regain his form. After all, it's never a safe bet to doubt an ex-Red Sox player once they put on the pinstripes—Tell 'em, Babe.
But is he too much of a risk, regardless of past omens?
Like many of the Red Sox-excused roster from 2012, the idea of a bad clubhouse vibe under Bobby Valentine—which was publicly feuded between he and Youkilis—was blamed for a portion of the drop in Youkilis' numbers. However, to that scenario I would ask what the excuse was for 2011, but the answer doesn't really matter; at least for what the Yankees need him to provide towards a success next year.
While any statistical improvement in hitting will certainly assist the Yankees, Youkilis will best help the club by not swinging the lumber, working the counts and pitchers' arms he became known for in Boston. That ability—which oddly enough rendered a lower OPS in 2012 than A-Rod's—will help set the table, most likely at the bottom of the lineup, for the power and talented bat-controllers at the top.
Mix all that in with a little defense—which also is on par with A-Rod's at third base—and the Yankees have the answer to an emergency situation.
At the very least, other than seeing what NY news publication first pokes fun at a facial hairless-Youkilis—and you know that will happen—it should make for an interesting story when the Yankees open with the Red Sox in April.