Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Amidst speculation that the Red Sox could use third baseman Kevin Youkilis as a trade chip this offseason, multiple sources inside and outside the Sox organization suggest that it is unlikely that the Sox will deal the 32-year-old.
While the Red Sox will explore the trade market to address offseason needs -- including the need to fill two spots in the rotation -- Youkilis is not expected to be dealt for a number of reasons. While 2011 was a down year for him, he nevertheless remained one of the most productive offensive third basemen in the game. There are few, if any, third basemen available either internally or externally who could match the three-time All-Star’s lineup impact.
Youkilis led major league third basemen in virtually every offensive category in the first half of the season but faded dramatically in the second half, when he struggled with a series of injuries before he was ultimately rendered unable to play by a sports hernia that required offseason surgery.
The "Trade Youk" movement has me torn. I can make just as compelling case to keep Youk as I could to trade him. Both sides of the coin make the same amount of sense for the Sox. But I still think he'll be shipped off at some point this winter for two reasons.
First, our new GM is going to want to place the Ben Cherrington stamp on the franchise. No matter how much the new regime resembles the old regime, he's going to want to do 'something' big to make the team in his own. And if you can't fork over the hundred million dollars it'll take to sign someone like CC (and let's all hold hands and pray that he doesn't) your other option is to trade an established star. And when your team has an attitude problem, and you ship off one of the problem players, others will get the message.
Thanks to the collapse, there are a few candidates that would make sense to be shipped off, but most of the others are on the pitching staff. Which brings me to point number two: With Lackey out, we have two spots in our rotation open. Sure, we could trade Beckett (which some people want for selfish, near-sighted reasons) but that would leave us with 3 open spots. Pretty much the opposite of ideal.
So I fully expect Ben to ship Youk off for some pitching help. With his recent injuries, I'm not exactly sure what Youk is worth on the open market. But when he's healthy, he's one of the best hitting third baseman in the league. And while his glove slipped a bit last year, I imagine he could switch back to first and play at a high level. Or, if healthy, with a little more time at 3rd he should be fine.
The free agent market for pitchers isn't shaping up to be bountiful. We don't need another 'Ace', so we may be able to fill our final two spots that route. But if we can exchange Youk for a pitcher that can help us for the next 3-4 years, and sign a veteran to keep Lackey's spot warm until he's back (or whatever we decide to do with him), I wouldn't argue with that decision.
What we do with thirdbase at that point is another discussion altogether. If Lowrie can stay healthy (and consistent) I'm OK with him at 3rd until Middlebrooks is ready. But it's a be premature for that. First, let's just make sure we have 5 pitchers heading into Spring Training.
Also, in the CSNNE links below it appears as though the Sox may pursue Carlos Beltran. Again. Ugh. The more things change...
Rest of the links:
CSNNE - Mazz: Farrell-to-Sox 'definitely not dead' | Report: Sox could make run at Beltran | WEEI - No time to get chippy: Why Red Sox are unlikely to trade Kevin Youkilis | Sporting News - Red Sox might have to make a trade to upgrade rotation | Globe - It's all behind him | Herald - Job’s more than handful