The Chicago White Sox might be starting off the 2013 MLB rumors a little early this year. There are reports circulating already that the White Sox do not plan on exercising Kevin Youkilis’ $12 million player option at the end of the season.
In his 33 games since joining the White Sox in a trade with the Boston Red Sox, Youkilis has hit 8 home runs and driven in 25 runs while posting a slash line of .256/.377/.488. He has hit twice as many homers with the White Sox in nine less games than he did with the Red Sox and has raised his batting average ten points from .233 to .243 on the season.
Youkilis was acquired from the Red Sox for minor league pitcher Zach Stewart and outfielder Brent Lillibridge after Youkilis and Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine had a very public falling out. The only option for the Red Sox was to deal Youkilis away and try to restore order to the clubhouse. As for the Red Sox return in the trade, Stewart is in AAA Pawtucket and Lillibridge was traded to the Cleveland Indians shortly after his acquisition. Given the fact that the White Sox gave up nothing of value, the White Sox could use the $12 million on several key areas, including their pitching staff which is in need of reinforcements.
Youkilis has seemed to be content in Chicago and there is a small chance the White Sox brings Youkilis back on a long-term deal that is more team friendly than $12 million. The free agent market hasn’t exactly been kind to players like Youkilis over the past year and it is doubtful things will change as the new Collective Bargaining Agreement levies heavy taxes on teams going over the luxury tax multiple seasons in a row.
Given how things ended in Boston after Youkilis felt like he wasn’t wanted, it will be interesting to see how he handles his latest team letting it be known that he is not wanted beyond this season. Let the 2013 MLB rumors begin.