Are Youk Serious?
This is not the first time the Yankees have sold their souls to bring in a former Boston Red Sox player. The list seems to be getting longer and longer each offseason. Mike Stanley, Wade Boggs, Sparky Lyle, Luis Tiant, Roger Clemens and Johnny Damon, Derek Lowe were all once hated enemies before they put on the pinstripes. Hell, even Babe Ruth was a member of the Sox before he rewrote the baseball record books in the Bronx. I can deal with rooting for an old rival, especially in this day and age where players rarely play their entire careers in one city. Babe Ruth, Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens and Johnny Damon all helped bring World Series titles to the Yankees, and therefore will always be appreciated by the Bronx faithful. The fact that Kevin Youkilis spent most of is career in Boston is not my major concern.
I don’t view yesterday’s acquisition of Kevin Youkilis in high regard because I don’t think it really makes the Yankees a much better team on the field. Youkilis is a 34-year-old ball player who is absolutely on the decline. In 111 games last season with Boston and the Chicago White Sox, Youkilis hit .235 with 19 home runs and 60 RBIs. During the steroid error, it was possible for a 34-year-old player to bounce back and have a good year after such a down year. Now it appears that players are aging as they used to and I’d be shocked to see Youkilis put up any of the same numbers as he used to when he was against the Yankees in his prime.
The Yankees problem is age. The roster last year reflects this issue. Injuries to Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Mark Texeira and others hindered their production all season long. Though the Yanks were able to get through the regular season and into the playoff tournament, the lone feat is not good enough for Yankee fans. Relying year after year on aged players like Ichiro Suzuki, Raul Ibanez and the before mentioned players will not be
enough to return us to glory years. I want the Yankees to build a dynasty like they enjoyed in the 90’s. Piecing a team of aging veterans is not the answer.
Youkilis will be needed to play third base until the aging, billion dollar investment A-Rod recovers from hip surgery. However, who is to say that A-Rod is even able to play an effective third base upon his return. Even when he is healthy, A-Rod only starts about a third of his games at third. Therefore, the Yankees will be relying on Youkilis to play a huge chunk of the season at the hot corner. The problem with that is for the past several years, Youkilis has been
battling a bad back and had only averaged 115 games per year. I’m not sure that backing up your aging, often injured third baseman with another aging, often injured third baseman is the best route. I’m just hoping Brian Cashman knows something that I don’t.
As a Yankee fan, I am prepared to root Kevin Youkilis on and welcome him to the Bronx when I see him at the Stadium. I hope I am wrong in my critique of this signing. Maybe Youkilis rediscovers himself with a new change of scenery and some extra motivation to show the Sox that they made a mistake. From watching him over the year, I know he is a smart, professional player who does all the little things that the Yankees and Red Sox both love. I understand the Yankees are probably thrilled with the fact that he accepted a one year deal, because of
the huge emphasis they have put into cutting their team salary in 2014. However, my frustration as a fan exists in the fact that I can’t see the Yankees long-term plans and the Yankees reduced spending on old players does absolutely nothing to solve this issue. In a world where my Jets are the most dysfunctional organization in the NFL and my Rangers are locked out of work, I am very reliant on the Yankees to bring me some joy in the near and long-term future. As of now, I’m having a hard time figuring out how this will happen…