Kevin Youkilis Changes his Sox
Jewish MLB Slugger Traded by Red Sox to White Sox
Chicago’s Jewish population of 260,000 increased by at least one Sunday evening when word came that long-time Boston Red Sox first baseman, and a Member of the Tribe, Kevin Youkilis, had been traded by the Sox to the Sox. That is to say, the Red Sox traded “Youk” to the Chicago White Sox.
In return for the “Hammerin’ Hebrew”, the Red Sox picked up 25-year-old right-handed pitcher Zach Stewart and utility player Brent Lillibridge.
The Bostonians also will be responsible for more than $5 million of the $6.6 million Youkilis is still owed on this year’s contract. The White Sox are now responsible for a $1 million buyout on a $13 million team option for 2013.
That this day would come, and that it was just a matter of time before Youkilis would be hitting homeruns for another team, was hardly a surprise. It was clear from the get-go this season that new Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine and Youkilis did not see eye to eye.
In fact, early this season, Valentine told a TV reporter that Youkilis was not "as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past."
Later that same day, the Red Sox General Manager was told that Youkilis would be okay with a trade, if that's what the team felt was best.
A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Youkilis was drafted by the Red Sox in 2001, after playing college baseball at the University of Cincinatti.
An intense, never say die infielder, Youkilis, a Gold Glove Award-winning first baseman, once held baseball's record for most consecutive errorless games at first base. He is also a three-time MLB All-Star, two-time World Series Champion, and winner of the 2008 Hank Aaron Award. Arguably one of the best all-round Jewish Major Leaguers to ever play, Youkilis was named to the Sporting News' list of the 50 greatest current players in baseball, ranking No. 36 on the list in 2009, No. 38 in 2010, and No. 35 in 2011.
Stewart, a 25-year-old, is an unimpressive 3 and 8 with an earned run average of slightly under 6. Lillibridge, 28, is a career .215 hitter with the Braves and White Sox. So, on the surface, it looks like the White Sox got the better of this deal, unless there’s a problem with Youkilis that has yet to be uncovered. But to me, it appears that the only problem with Youkilis, was Valentine.
As fate would have it, Youkilis hit a triple in his last at-bat as a Red Sox on Sunday night, before being pulled for a pinch runner. He left the game to a rousing and emotional standing ovation, and heard the crowd at Fenway shout, in unison, “YOUUUUUKKKKKK!”
Good luck in the Windy City, Youk, I’m sure you’ll blow them all away!