A Warrior Trades Shields. Youkilis Dealt to the White Sox.


Baseball breakups are never pretty. In the case of Kevin Youkilis, this one has been especially painful. Youkilis, always a centerpiece of Boston’s baseball world since his rookie season in 2004, was dealt today to the Chicago White Sox. Fox Sports reported that the Red Sox will be paying $5.5 million of what remains on Youkilis’ $12.5 million contract for ’12.

So undervalued was Yuokilis after a banged up and unproductive 2012 that the Red Sox sent him to Chicago and in return received minor league pitcher Zach Stewart and infielder Brent Lillibridge. Straight up. That’s it. End of story.

After a long and steady drumbeat that started in the spring and only became louder and more incessant as Youk succumbed to both injury and front office and fan disillusionment the organization was compelled to react.

In the end, Youk was hobbled and psychologically battered in 2012 after years of giving mind, body and soul to his team and the Red Sox organization. As is typified and inevitable in pro sports, a younger, better player – Will Middlebrooks – emerged and pressured Youkilis beyond his ability to compete. The King is dead. Long live the king. Survival of the fittest in the jungle that is Major League Baseball.

"In almost nine years with the Red Sox Youk was a pivotal player during two World Series championships in 2004 and 2007. He was a leader on a team renowned for a grinding, selective, pitcher exhausting wear ’em down and tear ’em down brand of baseball. Ask the St. Louis Cardinals and Colorado Rockies, who were overwhelmed by two clearly superior Red Sox teams, just how important Youkilis was to Boston’s success."

Through 2012 Youkilis’ numbers in virtually every statistically significant category were way down. Conversely, Will Middlebrooks was lights out in nearly every offensive and defensive category, so much so that the situation could no longer be ignored.

I’m sure Red Sox fans hated to see it end like this but indeed it had to end. That’s the business of baseball. My belief is that Youk will find new life in Chicago as he adjusts to third and first base platooning mixed with DH work. He’s versatile and the change of scenery may reignite a career worn thin. In Boston he was at the end of the road. In Chicago he may well find a road less traveled.

In his last at bat on Sunday Youkilis fittingly scorched a two-out triple in the seventh inning and was pulled from the game. He and replacement Nick Punto embraced in the middle of the diamond and many teammates hugged Youk in front of the Red Sox dugout before allowing him off the field.

Red Sox Nation thanks you Youk. You are still a Sox player. You just have to wear white ones now instead of red ones.

Never thought I’d be alone like this
Guess I should have been a realist
That’s the trouble with relationships
They end too soon
– The Heartache, Warren Zevon