Sports Commentary 12/12/12
So, the thought of Kevin Youkilis in Pinstripes is ??
If history holds true this deal could fit like a glove, a third baseman’s glove. Former Red Sox infielder Kevin Youkilis has agreed to a one year, $12 million deal with the Yankees. His primary purpose is to provide the buffer between the start of the season and the return of Alex Rodriquez. Major League Baseball history is littered with players who have spent time on both sides of the game’s greatest rivalry, but Youkilis’ primary goal will be to join one of the truly elite circles. Only three players have won World Series championships with both teams. He’ll attempt to become the fourth. For whatever reason the Yankees seem to have gotten the best of the two timing players. Babe Ruth was a star pitcher for the Red Sox, but it was with the Yankees that he became the most legendary figure in baseball history. Just ask any Red Sox fan how that Sparky Lyle-Danny Cater trade worked out for them. Yankees fans certainly have much fonder memories of Mike Torrez than Red Sox fans do, and Johnny Damon, in 2009, became one of the elite three, when he hit .282 with 24 homers and 82 ribbies in his fourth season with the Yankees, when he was considered on the downslope after four seasons with the Red Sox. With the Yanks he averaged 24 homers and 75 ribbies while hitting over .280 three times, over .300 once. There’s something about the greatest rivalry in sports that brings out the best in the most competitive players to take part. In eight full seasons with the Red Sox Youkilis was a .287 hitter with a 133 homers and 564 ribbies, always saving his most ferocious efforts for the games with the Yankees. It will be interesting to see if he’ll ever be able to embrace new teammate Joba Chamberlain. But that’s just the history of the thing. History does not always repeat itself and Youkilis could turn out to be a Bronx bust. He only hit .236 with the White Sox last season, and while he did nearly match his season home run average with 15, he had only 46 runs batted in. It’s the other dimensions of this signing that make Youkilis the right fit for the Yankees at the right time. He was willing to sign a one year deal, which will then determine his value for 2014, when the Yankees are committed to putting the right pieces together while staying under the salary cap limit. While he fills an immediate need, getting to June or July and the return of A-Rod, after that he then becomes the guy who makes the rounds from third to first to DH, spelling A-Rod and Mark Texiera as he goes, all the while giving the Yankees batting order, top heavy with lefties, a much needed, very pesky, right handed bat. If it turns out that A-Rod doesn’t play at all in 2013, Youk becomes that much more valuable. More importantly, because the Yankees were able to deal with the A-Rod speed bump on the road to 2013 so expeditiously, they barely skip a beat between solidifying their rotation and putting Ichiro Suzuki back in a corner outfield spot, which should happen later this week. All in all, a pretty good fit for a lot of reasons. With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.