BOSTON SPORTS DESK CORRESPONDENT
I think it’s only fitting to write an article on the time that Kevin Youkilis spent with the Boston Red Sox. His 8 years with the team featured 3 All-Star appearances, 2 world championships and he was the recipient of the Hank Aaron Award for the best hitter in his league.
He had a career .287 batting average, to go along with .388 OBP and 133 HR with the Red Sox. Youk brought more to the team than just his stats though. He was a reliable third-basemen who played his heart out. There weren’t many games in Youk’s time with the Sox that he left the field and his uniform wasn’t dirty. Youk was the type of player to never quit on his team and play everything out until the end. Unfortunately Sox fans have seen the end of his career with the team as Youk changes his Sox and heads west to Chicago.
I remember it like yesterday when Youk went deep in just his 2nd career at bat vs. the Toronto Blue Jays on may 15th, 2004. I was sitting on my couch and once it happened I said “Wow this kid is going to be a stud”. That was just the start of many key moments Kevin Youkilis had with the Sox. It seemed like every series vs. the rival Yankee’s he was going at it with someone else and in the middle of controversy.
It is too bad to see Youk go out the way he did. I could never have imagined that Kevin Youkilis would be traded away for a below average utility player and a mediocre pitcher. His trade value is in no way equal to what he has meant to this team over the past 8 years. This was the result of Youkilis’s below average season and his unwillingness to get along with Bobby Valentine. It was clear though that Youk’s future was not with the Red Sox as Will Middlebrooks has continued to play well at third base. With Youk gone it leaves David Ortiz as the only player from the Red Sox 2004 World Series team.
It will be interesting to see how Sox fans react to the trade if Youk starts to heat up and Will Middlebrooks performance declines. Will Sox fans be quick to jump on management for trading away a cornerstone of the Sox success for the past 8 years? Or will the Fenway Faithful ride out the ups and downs associated with a young player? Either way I think that the Youk trade was necessary and will prove to be the right decision in the long run. The absence of Youk frees up some space in the outfield as it allows Adrian Gonzalez to go back to First-Base. It also shows Middlebrooks the confidence that Management has in his ability to be the Sox third basemen of the future.
I wish Kevin Youkilis the best in Chicago with the White Sox until they visit Fenway on July 16th for a 4 games series.