Kevin Youkilis spent eight and a half years with the Boston Red Sox, and just because he signed a one-year/$12 million deal to join the Yankees for 2013, doesn’t mean he’ll forget about where he came from.
“I’ll always be a Red Sock; to negate all the years I played for the Boston Red Sox, and all the tradition, you look at all the stuff I have piled up at my house and to say I’d just throw it out the window, it’s not true. Those were great years in Boston. One bad half-year doesn’t take away from all the great years I had there.”
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Youkilis quickly endeared himself to Red Sox Nation, as he appeared in three All-Star games while with the organization, won a Gold Glove award, as well as two World Series titles. Despite struggling in 2012 before getting traded to the Chicago White Sox (.233/.315/.377), his overall time in Boston was a successful one, as he put together a triple slash line of .287/.388/.487 in 3,352 at-bats, including 133 homers and 564 RBI. His style of play and passion for the game made him a fan favorite at Fenway, but Bobby Valentine and him weren’t on the same page last season, which led to the end of his tenure there.
However, I like how Youkilis is being up front with how he feels about his time in Boston, as there have been plenty of Red Sox fans that were disappointed to see him go to the “dark side” this winter when he agreed to a deal with the Yankees. He approached it the right way; he will always remember where he came from, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to live in the past, and he’ll do everything he can to help his current team win.
Although he won’t put up numbers like Alex Rodriguez when he was healthy and productive, Youkilis can provide a boost for the New York lineup. As he was referred to in the movie, Moneyball, he’s the Greek God of Walks, and his career .384 on-base percentage is proof of that. With hitters like Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira, and Travis Hafner in the lineup, he doesn’t need to be a 30-HR threat. I anticipate Youk to hit 20 bombs in the hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium, driving in about 80, while compiling an OBP of about .350. He’s a motivated player that loves playing in a big city and has an incredible desire to win, which will only be magnified on a one-year contract.
So, it won’t be A-Rod production, but the Yankees aren’t asking for that from their new third baseman; he knows he just has to play his brand of baseball, and he’ll fit nicely into a Yankee lineup that has a good mix of power and speed now with Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki complimenting the aforementioned big boppers.
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