Kevin Youkilis trade rumors are flying rampant and the new..."/> Kevin Youkilis trade rumors are flying rampant and the new..."/>

Youkilis’ Contract Could Handcuff Red Sox Trade Ability

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The Kevin Youkilis trade rumors are flying rampant and the news that both the Phillies and Diamondbacks were in Toronto to scout the third baseman (courtesy of Nick Cafardo) didn’t help matters any.

If the Red Sox do intend on trying to shop Youkilis, one key element that will needed to be addressed to whom ever shows interest, is his current salary 0f $12M owed for this year.  There is a club option for 2013 worth $13M with a buy-out option of only $1M, something the Red Sox would surely do if he were to stay in Boston.  We’ve heard from mainstream media that one concern in acquiring the three-time all-star, his health aside, is his large contract, something that could restrict smaller market teams like the Diamondbacks. So the key to the Red Sox dealing Youkilis is his contract.  His health is still a major element, but at this rate given Youk has been able to stay healthy since his last DL stint, teams appear to be willing to take a chance on his ailing body, knowing what they could potentially be receiving.

The San Francisco Giants or Los Angeles Dodgers could have the money to spend on Youkilis and both have been said to be interested in acquiring him. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com recently reported that a source who is very familiar with this situation informed him the Red Sox are looking for value in exchange for Youk, but would be willing to take less in return if the other party will take on the $9M or so that is currently still owed on his contract.

Last week we heard that teams like the Phillies or Diamondbacks have lukewarm interest and that the money still owed would have to be eaten by the Red Sox, at least a majority of it. Given the value that Ben Cherington will look to receive in return that player(s) would likely have a hefty enough salary owing to him.  So the Red Sox, if they did decide to absorb part of Youkilis’ owed salary, could be further over the luxury tax threshold if they acquire more salary.

Of course this won’t matter much if the Red Sox can maintain their current winning pace and continue to gain ground on the other AL East clubs.  Red Sox management has said they will spend the money if they need to in order to field a winning/competitive team even if it means going over the threshold ceiling.

If it came down to minutes from the July deadline and Cherington still had Youkilis, it would not be a surprise to hear Boston take on a bulk of his owed money.  But if Cherington doesn’t like what he’s hearing in terms of return assets then perhaps Youkilis will remain with the Red Sox through the end of the 2012 season.  Cherington recently denied any reports that Youkilis was on the trading block and that they are not looking to move Youkilis.  Either way, this one is not going to disappear anytime soon.

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