The final act of Brian Cashman’s dormant week at the winter meetings was to assure the baseball world, through his words and a $12 million contract offer to Kevin Youkilis, that the Yankees were still capable of George Steinbrenner-style spending.
But those assertions did not speak as loudly as what emerged later — a one-year, $12 million offer to Kevin Youkilis, the former Boston third baseman and first baseman, and a key part of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry for many seasons. A few seasons ago, Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain more than once threw in the direction of Youkilis’s head for no apparent reason other than that Youkilis was being Youkilis, a tough, determined competitor with an unusual way of holding his bat, a great ability to foul off pitches and, more than anything, an ability to hit for both average and power.
If he is healthy, he would be an acceptable solution at third base until the injured Alex Rodriguez is ready to return. And if he accepts the Yankees’ offer, it will no doubt dismay Red Sox fans, who devotedly bellowed “Youk” year after year and still have not forgiven Johnny Damon for bolting Fenway Park for the Bronx in 2006.
A very large part of me (let's call it my brain) is actually hoping Youkilis does sign with the Yankees. A smaller part of me (heart) wants to see Youk reunited with Tito in Cleveland. That would be fun to watch.
But I want him in pinstripes. Even with the addition of Napoli and Victorino, I look at the Sox roster and don't see a contender. I'm fully prepared to sit out the next two post-seasons. So if I can't enjoy the Sox winning, I certainly will be able to enjoy further implosions in New York. Youkilis can make that happen.
First and foremost, as a resident of the great state of New York, I have many many friends who happen to be Yankee fans. Unfortunate, but unavoidable. These friends have nearly unanimously declared Kevin Youkilis as the most-hated Red Sox for the better part of a decade. Now he may be their third baseman. Now they have to root for him. It's going to be awkward. And I'm going to love every single second of it.
Also in the 'burn it down' department, I hope Youkilis has a fantastic start to the season. I want to see him ripping the cover off the ball. Because when A-Rod comes back, and wants to take his rightful place at third (well, rightful except when it matters, like the post-season), I want to see confusion, chaos, and panic at Yankee Stadium. I want to see Yankee fans demand that Youkilis keep his job. I want the already-scorned A-Rod to be pushed even further down the Yankees totem pole. I want to see Yankee fans donning glued-on goatees and holding paper syringes while A-Rod is in the on-deck circle.
I just want to sit back and laugh.
Of course, New York will just end up rotating players at third and DH. There won't be any metaphoric mushroom clouds rising above the Bronx. But if Youkilis goes become a Yankee, I won't hold a grudge. I won't boo him. I will sincerely hope him nothing but success.
Because the side-effects of Youkilis succeeding as a Yankee, at least in my imagination, are going to make for one hell of a fun Spring. Especially if he punches Joba Chamberlain in his stupid fat neck. If nothing else, this needs to happen.
On Page 2, Papi likes the Sox new additions.
“Yeah, man, we’re getting good players,” said Ortiz, the recipient of a two-year, $26 million contract extension last month. “That’s what it’s all about. That’s how you win games.”
“Power is hard to find right now,” Ortiz said. “Whenever you get a power hitter, you’ve got to keep him. In today’s day, Napoli is one of those guys. And of course, you need guys that are game-changers, and he’s one of them. It’s going to be fun to watch. It’s going to be fun watching Napoli hit balls over the Monster.”
“I think the American League is overran with good left-handed pitching,” Ortiz said. “I think we’re going to have a lot of lefties coming in. Even before last year, when we went and got (lefty-hitting Carl Crawford) and (Adrian Gonzalez), we had a lot of left-handers in the lineup. Teams won’t be putting that many lefties against us now.”
“He’s my boy,” Ortiz said of Victorino. “He’s going to be a guy that people are going to love in Boston. He goes at it hard. And he’s got a lot of adrenaline going on. I love that. That gets me going.”
If it's good enough for Papi, it's good enough for me.
OK, except maybe for Victorino. That one still has me scratching my head. Even if he does "go at it hard" which "gets Papi going".
Rest of the links:
Herald - Plenty on Sox’ to-do list | Kevin Youkilis happy to be free | Rule 5 draft scores Roxbury Latin alum | Globe - Winners, Losers from MLB Winter Meetings | Red Sox like their moves, but not everyone does | WEEI - Hazen: Sox still engaged on Hamilton | Sox get Kaminska to complete Stewart deal | Now what do they do? | Stacking chips: Still in need of pitching, Red Sox positioned to deal | CSNNE - The right approach | Francona: '08 was the best team I had in Boston | Wakeup Call: Are the Yankees knocking on Hamilton's door?