For the Red Sox:
They had to get Youkilis out of Boston in part because they had nowhere to play him and in part because his time as a centerpiece in the lineup had passed.
Bobby Valentine has gotten the bulk of the blame for Youkilis falling out of favor, but he’s the lightning rod. In truth this became inevitable last September and should’ve been done over the winter.
As GM Ben Cherington said, Will Middlebrooks needs to be in the lineup. He’s injected a desperately needed freshness and enthusiasm into a stagnant atmosphere.
Last season Lillibridge played all over the field defensively making memorable plays and broke out offensively with 13 homers; this season he’s reverted back to normal and his normal—a career slash line of .215/.283/.358—isn’t good.
Stewart has an average fastball and is a 4-A pitcher who the Red Sox can use as an emergency starter or long-man out of the bullpen. He’s going to Triple A Pawtucket.
The Red Sox paid $5.5 million of the $7.6 million Youkilis is guaranteed.
For the White Sox:
The disappointing Tigers have left the AL Central wide open and the White Sox are in surprising contention.
They needed a third baseman and got a good one for nothing.
If he’s healthy, Youkilis can still play. He was stale in Boston, wasn’t in the lineup enough to gain a rhythm and the relationship with Valentine was beyond repair. At age 33, he still has something left. The change-of-scenery plus desire to shove it to the Red Sox will rejuvenate his bat.
Players like Youkilis are judged on the now. When he was hitting, his sour faces were viewed as an intense player hating to fail. When he wasn’t hitting for a losing team and there was a replacement in the wings, he was viewed as an annoying baby.
One year ago today, Youkilis had an .890 OPS, 11 homers and 33 extra base hits. He was an All-Star. The idea that 365 days later the Red Sox would get two journeymen for him and pay him to leave was unthinkable.
But it happened.
It’s best for everyone involved.