Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Youk a Yank, Ichiro Getting Close

The mere thought of Kevin Youkilis donning the Pinstripes has made many a Yankees fan shudder over the years. Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, and Josh Beckett probably topped the list (in no particular order) of the most hated Red Sox in Yankeedom the last few years.

Beckett is now in LA, Pedroia is still covered in mud in Boston, and Youkilis, well, Youkilis is a Yankee (pending a physical). With Alex Rodriguez missing anywhere from four months to eternity with off-season hip surgery, Youkilis and the Yankees have agrreed to the one year, $12MM deal that was bandied about last week.

Youkilis probably could have gotten a two year deal elsewhere, but it wasn't apparent that any of the rumored teams had a better or as good a chance of making the post-season as the Yankees do year in and year out.

I wrote last week that Youkilis can turn Yankees fans around just like Wade Boggs did when he came to New York and I still maintain that opinion. (Roger Clemens did so to some degree as well though he then turned just about all teams' fans against him in recent years.) On the other hand, Youkilis' return to Boston may not be so happy since he'll be returning in the New York road greys. He got a nice ovation last year when the White Sox traveled to Boston after Youkilis changed Sox.

Youkilis has shown some decline the last few seasons, primarily because of nagging injuries. His best stretch as a pro was from 2006-2008 when he played more than 140 games for the only time in his career. He'll turn 33 shortly before the start of the 2013 season.
 Be sure to check out Jack Curry's Youkilis-Paul O'Neill comparison.
The Yankees are also said to be closing in on bringing back Ichiro Suzuki in what would likely be part of an outfield platoon. After he posted the worst numbers of his career in Seattle last season, Ichiro got red hot down the stretch after being acquired at the trade deadline. He finished with a .322 average and .794 OPS as a Yankee and finished the season with a solid performance in the ALCS. According to CBS' Jon Heyman, the deal could include an option for 2014.

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