Shipping Out Youk for a Starter, Who are the 7 Sox Trading Partners?


Now that “Home Boy Roy” Oswalt has signed with the Rangers, the Red Sox will now desperately try to trade for a starter.  The Youk has already been fitted for his PRIORITY MAIL box, but, with nearly every MLB team seeking a starting pitcher, what is his most likely destination?

First, with The Youk at 33 and on the downside of his career, the Sox will have to add to the shipping and handling charges by contributing toward his $12 million salary in any trade and may also need to put another player, or two, into the package for a starting pitcher.

The teams currently interested in Youk are the Diamondbacks, Indians, Tigers, and Phillies with the White Sox, Astros, and Rockies possible trade partners as well.

In third place in the NL West with a .440 win percentage and already trailing the Dodgers by 10.5 games, Arizona may be desperate enough to cough up a starter.

Third base, a prime power position, has produced a meek stat line: .221/.287/.370 from Ryan Roberts, Cody Ransom, Josh Bell, John McDonald and Geoff Blum.

With Dan Hudson due back soon from the DL, the ‘Backs may be willing to trade LHP Joe Saunders. His 162-game average is 14-10 with a 4.13 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. And, the Sox would be adding a LHP to balance the rotation.

"DEAL: Youkilis FOR Saunders"

Just a half game behind Chicago and looking at a two-horse race in the AL Central, The Tribe will need much more production from two power positions, 1b and 3b. With a .220/.298/.327 slash line in 42 games with only three HR and 16 RBI, Casey Kotchman, a great glove, has been an offensive disaster.

The veteran Youkilis would also be a match at 3b in a platoon with young lefty-hitting Lonnie Chisenhall.


The Indians might try to foist one of their young, unproven pitchers in the Sox; #4, Josh Tomlin []

or #5 Jeanmar Gomez, []

3-3, who took the loss on Friday against the White Sox after surrendering six runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings, walking four and striking out three.

But, unless Cleveland would trade Lowe for Youk and prospects, there’s no deal here.

Despite the addition of The Prince of Taters, the Tigers are mired in 3rd place in the AL Central with a .469 winning percentage and 4.5 games out of first and  in desperate need of a veteran 2b with the failure of Ryan Raburn, Ramon Santiago, and Danny Worth, who have combined to hit .177 with two HR and 10 RBI.

Enter Nick Punto.

Add The Youk, who could rotate with 3b “Past A Diving” Cabrera and 1b “He Ain’t No” Fielder in the field and at DH and you have the makings of a deal.

While the Tigers will not likely break up their current rotation, they are willing to trade promising prospect, Jacob Turner, who would provide solid #5 starter for the Sox and has the potential to move up to the 3 slot, or higher, in the future. []

GM Ben Cherington may even be able to get LHP reliever Phil Coke in the deal. []

Turner ranks: #10 on MLB RHP list; ETA: 2011; RHP.

“The Tigers will be aggressive with their young starters, so it’s not surprising Turner reached the Class A Advanced Florida State League in his first full season. He’s got the stuff, a feel for pitching and the mound presence to keep moving quickly. Once just a hard thrower, he’s much more of a pitcher now, having made significant progress with his secondary stuff. With improved command, he could hit Detroit with Rick Porcello-like haste. Other Lists: Top 50 Prospects (#7) | Top 10 Tigers Prospects (#1)” []
“I sincerely believe that Jacob Turner is the most likely pitcher in baseball to turn into the next Roy Halladay. Don’t confuse that statement with “I think he will be the next Roy Halladay.” No, he doesn’t have a good chance of that, really. But nobody does–to reach that level is a ludicrously optimistic outcome for even the best of prospects. But chances are someone in the current prospect group will end up as a Halladay sort of pitcher, and if I had to pick one guy to do that, it would be Turner.
But I really see a lot of similarities with Turner and Halladay. Turner is 6’5″ 215 and still filling out; Halladay is 6’6″ 230. Both have clean deliveries and traditional high arm slots.”
[Nathaniel Stoltz, S2S, Seedlings2Stars website; SEE complete analysis here:]

"DEAL: Youkilis and Punto FOR Turner and Coke"

The Phillies need a starting 3b and a solid backup at 1b, until Howard returns. You do not get back to the WS with the likes of P. Polanco, T. Wigginton , M. Fontenot , P. Orr in your 3b power offense position and, until Howard returns, T. Wigginton, H. Luna, and J. Mayberry in your 1b power offense position.

The Youk would fill both needs and have value as a pinch hitter.

The Phillies have floated veteran RHP Joe Blanton


on the trade waters, as they could get by with Kyle Kendrick


or dip down for prospect Trevor May []
to fill the 5 slot in the rotation.

"DEAL: Youkilis FOR Blanton"

Kenny Williams knows that his job is on the line, so he will be returning trade offers by speed dial.
Brent Morel was hitting .177 with no homers and just five RBI at the time of his injury.

Orlando Hudson was signed as a replacement, but considering his weak offensive production over the last two years or so, he’s not really an everyday 3b.

As we noted in a recent post:

White Sox GM Kenny Williams was dangling lefty John Danks and righty Gavin Floyd, but says it would take “at least two A-level prospects and a third that’s a notch below.”

Williams won’t admit it, but his minor league prospect cupboard is bare; in the latest organizational review coming from Baseball Prospectus, the White Sox were placed 30th out of a possible 30. And the comment from Kevin Goldstein to go with the placement — “It really is that bad.”

With his GM job in a tenuous status, Williams will be willing to wheel and deal to try to improve his sorry Sox. While it is not a “blockbuster” type of trade, the Red Sox could target Gavin Floyd and LHP Matt Thornton [think bullpen] and offer Youkilis and Lars Anderson.

With Morel, Lillibridge and Escobar on their hot corner depth chart, Youkilis would be an offensive upgrade for Chicago and he could also move into the DH, where K-Kings Dunn and Viciedo fill that hole.

With aging Konerko, Dunn “Struck Out”, UT Lillibridge and “Iron Glove” Viciedo at 1b, adding Lars Anderson a solid, mobile defender, lefty hitter to the mix, as a replacement for Konerko could be attractive to Chicago.

In sum, the White Sox get a veteran hitter at DH with Youkilis, who could also spot start at 3b and 1b and a next generation lefty First baseman in Anderson and the Red Sox get a rotation starter and another solid LHP for the pen.

If needed, Boston could add young [20] catching prospect Blake Swihart [Sox #12 prospect MLB] to the deal, as Williams has two aging catchers and no prospects in sight.

"DEAL: Youkilis AND Anderson AND Swihart FOR Gavin Floyd AND Matt Thornton"

As we suggested in our post on January 5th,  trade for Wandy Fulton Rodriguez.

2012 Contract Status: Signed thru 2013, 3 yrs. /$34M (11-13) & 14 team option (details) [*]
Let’s look at the chart:
2005-2011: 73-75 .493 4.07 206 [G] 1176 [IP]
162 Game Avg: 12-13 .493 4.07 35 [G] 198 [IP]
2.38 Ks to every W. W/9 3.2, K/9 7.7
WHIP: 1.346

Considering this was on a terrible Houston team and I rest my case.
Q: What does Houston need?
A: Everything!

Remove aging Carlos Lee, Brett Myers, and starting SS, Jed Lowrie from the 40-man roster and you are left with a AA roster, who would regularly lose to the Portland Sea Dogs.

Add these Sea Dogs, Lars Anderson, 1b Oscar Tejeda, 2b, Kolbrin Vitek, 3b, to Jed Lowrie and the Astros would have a complete “former Sox prospects” infield.
[NOTE: To make the deal work, you could allow Houston a substitute for one of the above for Blake Swihart, Rank: 12 Sox Prospect, Greenville Drive (A), ETA: 2015, C, Age: 20, Bats: S, Throws:: R, 6′ 1″, 175, Drafted: 2011, 1st (26).]

Sure, the Astros are in re-build mode, so they could flip Youk for a few prospects.

"DEAL: Youkilis AND Anderson AND Tejada FOR Wandy Rodriguez"

The Rockies are showing some interest in Kevin Youkilis, since they are weak at 3b [C. Nelson, J. Herrera, J. Pacheco] and aging at 1b [Helton and Giambi] and desperately in need of a jolt to improve their record of 13-21, already 10 1/2 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West.

In return for Youk, and Lars Anderson, the Sox might get three LHPs; two rotation starters and a former #1 Draft pick.

Middlebrooks, the Sox 3b future star has resolved any question about his readiness to take over at the Hot Corner and the timing seems right for a Youth Movement to start at 3b with a Youk movement to Colorado and for the Rockies to make room for their rotation starter returning to the roster.

With Jeremy Guthrie off the DL, the Rocks would be able to deal LHP Christian Friedrich and LHP Drew Pomeranz, former Cleveland pitcher in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade and LHP Tyler Matzek [#1 Draft pick, 2009] could also be part of the 3 for 2 deal.

LHP Friedrich is 6’4” and threw in the low-90s in college, but his velocity sagged into the 80s in ’10 and ’11, concurrent with the elbow problems and weight gain.
“With better health, he’s back up into the 90s now, topping out at 94 MPH on Wednesday and averaging 92. He has two breaking pitches, a curve and a slider, and both offerings appear sharper this year. Better velocity separation with the revived fastball helps, but his secondary pitches just look better in general. He also has a solid changeup. His command and control improved this spring…”

“This kid has worked really hard and gotten himself into a really good place,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. “He did exactly what I thought he was going to do from what I thought in Spring Training — establish his fastball, pitch with his fastball and mix in his breaking stuff.”

Lefty Drew Pomeranz, was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 1st round (5th) of the 2010 MLB June Amateur Draft.

On May 13, 2012, he tossed six scoreless innings Sunday afternoon at Triple-A Colorado Springs. Pomeranz struck out five and walked none while touching 93 mph with his fastball. The 23-year-old left-hander was optioned to the Triple-A level last week after going 0-2 with a 4.70 ERA and 1.74 in five starts for the Rockies, but he should be back up in the bigs soon. [Denver Post]
“Strongly-built at 6-5, 230, Pomeranz works consistently at 92-94 MPH and hits 95 on his best days. His velocity was down late last year, as low as 87-88 at times, but he wasn’t at full strength after the appendix incident and has his stuff back this spring. Even at lower velocity, his heater has good movement. He combines it with a knee-buckling breaking ball. His changeup is still a work in progress, but has improved enough to the point that the Rockies don’t think he needs additional minor league seasoning. Tuesday’s start was just a tune-up to keep him in shape until his spot in the rotation comes around on the 15th. He did have a minor glute injury this spring but hasn’t shown significant ill-effects.
Pomeranz has made substantial improvements with his control over the last year. He has just 28 innings in Double-A/Triple-A, which from an analytical standpoint is the only real caution flag here. Although some inconsistency seems plausible (he is a young pitcher, after all), Pomeranz has the stuff and command to be an anchor at the top of the rotation once he settles in.” []
“Pomeranz has a deceptive wraparound delivery that hides the ball extraordinarily well. He features an average fastball with some sink and a plus curveball, and his delivery and curveball help him maintain effectiveness against righties as well as lefties.
Thanks to the sink on his pitches, Pomeranz does a nice job getting ground balls, and he did a nice job keeping the ball in the park, just allowing three homers in the minors and none in the majors.” []
“Pomeranz certainly has some good things going for him, and he could break camp in a big league rotation in 2012, never to look back. However, his arsenal isn’t deep and he lacks premium velocity, so I’m finding it quite difficult to envision him as a front-of-the-rotation starter.”
The Sox may also be able to get the Rockies’ #1 pick in 2009, LHP, Tyler Matzek, who has struggled making the leap from HS ace to professional pitcher.
“There may not have been a prospect in baseball who saw the wheels fall off more than Matzek in 2011. Credit goes to the Rockies for allowing the lefty to go home to work with his old pitching coach, and Matzek deserves credit for coming back and throwing better upon his return. He still has the makings of three plus pitches in his fastball, curve and changeup, but to say he struggled with command would be a vast understatement. If he can find the strike zone consistently, he’s still more than young enough to get back on the right track toward the Rockies’ rotation.” []

"DEAL: Kevin Youkilis and Lars Anderson FOR Christian Friedrich [LHP], Drew Pomeranz [LHP], Tyler Matzek [LHP]"

The Sox would be giving up a top tier batter on the downside of his career and has had nagging injuries and a 1b prospect with a high-ceiling, who is blocked by Adrian Gonzalez, and getting three LHP prospects with good odds that at least one will crack the 2012 Sox rotation.

To review, if they can pull the trigger on one of these deals, the Sox would add one of these starters to their rotation:

Joe Saunders
Jacob Turner
Joe Blanton
Gavin Floyd
Wandy Rodriguez
Christian Friederich

If you are a gambler, take Blanton and Saunders and Floyd in that order.