|Kevin Youkilis , Will Middlebrooks (Photo credit: Keith Allison)|
The first thing that I look at when examining the situation is Youk's replacement, Will Middlebrooks. If the Red Sox are entertaining the idea of trading Kevin Youkilis, they have to look closely at Middlebrooks and be sure he's ready to play the rest of '12 in the big leagues.
Over his first 20 games (77 AB), the 23 year old has certainly displayed the tools that made him the top prospect in the Red Sox organization. He's hit at a .296 clip with 5 HR, 17 RBI and an .889 OPS while also showing he can handle himself on the defensive end. Whether or not he can be consistent over the remainder of the season, nobody knows but let's be honest, the kid looks like the real deal.
The second thing I look at is what the Red Sox could potentially receive for a veteran player like Youk, who's been increasingly susceptible to injury over the last several seasons.
If the Sox could get a couple mid-level pitching prospects for him would it be worth it to shed him from the roster? Or what about a rental pitcher, say Joe Blanton, who would likely get chewed up and spit out in the AL East?
In my opinion, if Ben Cherington could get two Double-A pitchers with a relatively high ceiling for Youkilis, he should take that offer and run with it.
There's almost no chance that the team picks up its option for 2013, so essentially you're giving up four months of his services for a chance at several years of one or two quality pitchers.
Another thing I would look at, but honestly can't give much of an opinion on, is his presence in the clubhouse. The reason I can't and won't offer my insight is quite simple, I don't know what Youk's like in the clubhouse.
I know he works his ass off on the field, he gives 110% to each and every play he's involved in, but I just don't know what he's like when the lights go out at Fenway. Bobby V knows, Ben Cherington knows, the rest of the team knows and he knows, but I don't.
The last thing that I would ponder is whether or not it's worth keeping him on the roster as a back up if he's not going to play every day.
The $13 million he will receive in 2012 is a hefty paycheck for a backup infielder but he's on the payroll already, so would it be worth it to keep him there?
Right now it looks like Youkilis will remain on the field for the Sox whether it be at first or third. A rival GM recently said the 33 year old would need to put together atleast 3 weeks of solid playing time and production before he gains any value.
If he gets to that point with no injuries and he's back to some form of the Kevin Youkilis we know, it's a real possibility that Ben Cherington's phone starts to ring. If the right deal comes his way, he'll take it.
The injuries have just become too much to handle. There's likely something left in the bat, we found that out yesterday, but it's only a matter of time before the injuries mount back up for the veteran infielder we know as Youk.