Should the Philadelphia Phillies Have Pursued Kevin Youkilis?

Should the Philadelphia Phillies have signed Kevin Youkilis over the offseason? It comes down to the difference between Michael Young and Kevin Youkilis, and in that discussion I believe that the Phillies picked the superior player. Lets look at why.

First, lets look at batting. Kevin Youkilis built a reputation as a reliable power hitter in the Boston Red Sox lineup, but upon analysis I do not believe his statistics hold up against Young’s. In Young’s 11 full seasons he hit 20+ HRs four times. Youkilis hit 20+ only twice in his nine seasons. In terms of batting average Youkilis bats a career .283, and has batted over .300 three times (one of those times he only played in 102 games), whereas Young owns one of the steadiest pieces of lumber in the majors, with a career .301 average, batting over .300 7 of his 11 seasons.

As far as durability is concerned there is no competition. Michael Young has failed to play in 155 or more games only twice: 2001 the year he won his job (106 G) and 2009 (135 G). Youkilis has never played in 150 games, and has only played 145+ three times. Youk averages 114 games a year to Young’s 151.

Young proved himself to be one of the most consistent hitters in the game for a decade. Youkilis proved himself to be injury prone, but solid when available.

Where Kevin Youkilis gains an edge is in the field. Young played in 156 G last year, but only 82 of those in the field, and exactly half those games (41) at third base where he will be stationed every day in Philly. The last time Young played a sizable amount at third was 2010 where he shouldered the load with 155 games. Youk has gotten to 112 and 111 games in each of 2011 and 2012 at third. In terms of fielding statistics Youkilis has been better over the last three years, but not significantly enough to justify choosing him over Young.

Finally the finances are a no brainer, Young had $10M of his $16M eaten by the Texas Rangers before trading him, so the Phils are only on the line for $6M. Youkilis signed a one-year $12M contract with the New York Yankees.

Neither player is in their prime anymore, and asking either to man third base all season is unrealistic, but given the choice between the two I’d choose Young everyday of the week, and twice on Sunday, especially when you look at the headlines and see that Kevin Youkilis will always be a Red Sock.

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