11 Dec 2012
Ken Rosenthal is reporting that Kevin Youkilis has agreed to a $12-million/one-year deal with the Yankees.
Youkilis gives the Yankees someone who can play third in A-Rod’s absence and also provide some righty power, two things they really need. Furthermore, he is only signed for one year which won’t affect the 2014 payroll and he will certainly be motivated to play for his next contract. But, he is very brittle. He hasn’t played over 140 games since 2008.
It’s hard to judge this move without seeing how the other pieces of the Yankees offseason will work. Youkilis looks like a solid bet for a rebound year as his BABIP last year was .268 compared to .322 for his career and his line drive rate was right in line with his career average. But, I have to ask, why wasn’t Eduardo Nunez given a chance at playing third? In fact, what is the Yankees’ plan with Nunez?
If the Yankees are not planning on giving Nunez a lot of playing time next year, they need to trade him. Nunez is 25, his prospect clock is essentially up, its time to see what he can do. Unless Derek Jeter’s ankle keeps him out at the beginning of the season, it is hard to see how Nunez will get a lot of playing time since the Yankees are insisting he is a shortstop only. And, with the signing of Youkilis and his injury history, the Yankees probably won’t be able to carry Nunez on the roster because of his positional flexibility.
Assuming Ichiro is next, as rumored, the Yankees still have some heavy lifting to do. They need another righty bat, to balance the lineup and it isn’t clear who the DH will be. The Yankees can’t count on A-Rod in 2013. Youkilis protects them at third, but they will need more oomph in the lineup.