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Monday, July 16, 2012

How The Tables Have Turned on Youkilis Trade

CHICAGO, IL- JULY 3:  Kevin Youkilis #20 of th...
CHICAGO, IL- JULY 3: Kevin Youkilis #20 of the Chicago White Sox rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run scoring teammate Alejandro De Aza #30 during the first inning against the Texas Rangers on July 3, 2012 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
On Sunday, Kevin Youkilis sent a heartfelt letter to all of Red Sox Nation through ESPNBoston.com, thanking them for support and reiterating how blessed he was to play and learn in the Boston organization. After reading the letter and reading the many fans comments underneath it, I realized how much the tables have turned since his being traded to the White Sox.

When Ben Cherington was secretly shopping the 33 year old third baseman and Will Middlebrooks was raking, the consensus was Youk needed to be traded in order for the rookie to flourish and for the veteran to get a chance to play and get his career back on track. Now that he's gone and he is producing in Chicago, there are a good number of fans bitter about the deal that sent him away.

Some of the vitriol aimed mostly toward Bobby Valentine is expected, but it's not really warranted. Youkilis was not going to produce here in Boston and Valentine was not the only reason for that. There were many, dating back to September's collapse and the beer and chicken story.

There were reports of disconnect's between Youkilis and Josh Beckett regarding the source for the Bob Hohler story that the infielder didn't exactly deny back when the media approached him about the issue. Bobby V or no Bobby V, Kevin Youkilis' productive years in Boston were probably coming to a close.

Obviously, the issue with the manager early this season didn't help anything. When your skipper questions how committed you are to the game, it doesn't exactly do wonders for motivation, but the situation here seemed to have soured even before Bobby entered the picture. His presence just stirred the pot.

It was inevitable that fans would turn their frustrations somewhere if Youkilis went to Chicago and revived his career with the White Sox, which is exactly what he's done in the short period since the trade. It didn't help that Middlebrooks ended up fighting a hamstring issue that landed him on the DL shortly after the deal. It was one of those things that always seems to happen on occasion.

Middlebrooks is back to action though, and he had a pair of hits yesterday as well as a homer on Saturday, so the vitriol should be deflected for a bit. The fact that Youk is hitting .333 in July (13-39) with 3 HR and 12 RBI makes it a perfect situation to bag the Red Sox, but it wasn't going to happen here.

Will Middlebrooks is the future at third base. We've seen it for the most part of this season. The tables have turned for the moment and Youkilis is making it look like a bad trade, but it was the right thing to do. Blame Bobby V if you'd like, I agree he ran him out of town early, but just remember it was bound to happen eventually.



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