Sox Youk for Saunders Trade Hitch: Will Fenway Scrooges Pay to Play over .500?

The Red Sox are $12 million away from a .500 record this season.

Our sources say that the remaining glitch in the Kevin Youkilis for Joe Saunders [RHP] trade is the Sox willingness to pay half of Youk’s $12M salary this season.

Both players will be FAs at the end of 2012; Saunders’ contract calls for $6 million and Youk’s $12 million salary for this season.

Recall the Sox have been penurious penny-pinchers since April in their quest for a starting pitcher; this deal is appealing, as it only ties the Sox to Saunders for the remainder of this season—a short term rental.

However, if they accede to the Arizona demand, they will be ponying up $12 million for a starter, when they could have had one for less earlier in the season.  Ahem…About two weeks ago, Oswalt signed a one-year deal with Texas for around $4 million.

The Diamondbacks are backed up with pitchers and want to open a slot for their phenom, Trevor Bauer. Dealing Saunders will also bring a veteran bat and a player who can back-up at 1b and 3b, which are prime power positions, and the latter has produced a meek stat line: .221/.287/.370 [May 30th] from Ryan Roberts, Cody Ransom, Josh Bell, John McDonald and Geoff Blum.

The Sox would get a durable starter with these career stats:

ERA 4.11, WHIP 1.373, K/W % 1.79, 5.1K TO 2.8 W PER 9.

WAR values:

Youkilis:    3.26 WAR avg. /current 0.0/2011, 3. 7.
Saunders: 0.99 WAR avg. /current 0.6/2011 1.4.

The possible deal was noted by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, in his new Full Count video, where he says:

“The Sox pitching staff hasn’t been too stellar this season, and they won’t make the playoffs at the rate they’re going unless they bring in a starting pitcher.

John Lackey is on the disabled list, and he wasn’t very good for the Red Sox when he was taking the mound every fifth day. Daisuke Matsuzaka just came off the disabled list, but Bobby Valentine has no idea what he’s going to get out of him. Clay Buchholz isn’t pitching like the pitcher we thought he was. Josh Beckett is a ticking time bomb. Jon Lester is the only guy in the rotation you’d be comfortable with right now, but his ERA is still 4.64.

Joe Saunders pitched 212 innings last season, so they know he can eat up some innings for them. He’s a lefty, so he’ll be able to get the lefty-heavy lineup of the Yankees out (something that can never hurt a pitcher in Boston). And he’s had playoff experience with the Los Angeles Angels in the past.”

The Sox may opt to soldier on without a trade or a FA pitcher and hope that Dicey-K can can roll back from the operation table with an ERA under 7 point 11, or that Lester will pull out of his uncharacteristic swoon, or that Clay Buchholz will win 20 games, or that Bard will turn into a starter after midnight.  Or, the Fenway Scrooges can settle for a .500 season, no post season slot, and save the $12M for lunch money.


Tags: AL Wild Card Arizona Diamondbacks Ben Cherington Clay Buchholtz Cody Ransom Daniel Bard Dice-K Matsuzaka Geoff Blum Joe Saunders John McDonald Jon Lester Josh Bell Kevin Youkilis Ryan Roberts Theo Epstein

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