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Home » June 2012 Game CommentsJune 2012 » Swapping Sox

Swapping Sox

Even before he was a star on the diamond Kevin Youkilis captured the attention of baseball executives, so much so he was mentioned in Michael Lewis’s Moneyball as one of Billy Beane’s obsessions because of his walk rate and ability to get on base.

Today a much different general manager from Beane acquired Youkilis in a trade. Kenny Williams, in many ways the antithesis of the statistical front office breed, sent right-handed reliever Zach Stewart and utility man Brent Lillibridge for the three-time All-Star, two-time World Champion, and Gold Glover (for his defense at first base, not his natural position).

Youkilis was a rookie when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004. He was a card-carrying frequent miles member of the Pawtucket shuttle that season but got his share of champagne showers. Because he was a witness of the unthinkable comeback from 0-3 he must have seen the challenge of battling back against the Cleveland Indians in the 2007 ALCS as just another postseason miracle to accomplish. In the 14 games he played in the 2007 postseason he had a .388 batting average, .475 on-base percentage, and .755 slugging percentage with four home runs.

In his last at bat as a Red Sox player he arced a fly ball to right-center. It dropped between Jason Heyward and Michael Bourn and Youkilis didn’t take his foot off the gas until he slid hard into third. Fittingly, he ended his run at the hot corner. Bobby Valentine had Nick Punto run for him and the fans got to say farewell to the much-loved “Youuuuuk.” I hope the Red Sox saved that base and present it to him when the White Sox come to Fenway in July.

Youkilis is a player that looks good on spreadsheets and when evaluated by traditional scouts who look for intangibles like “makeup” and “work ethic.” His numbers can dazzle and his uniform is dirty.

Game 72: June 24, 2012
Atlanta Braves
L: Mike Minor (3-6)
2B: Jason Heyward (15), Erick Hinske (3)
3B: Hinske (1)
WinBoston Red Sox
W: Aaron Cook (1-1)
2B: Daniel Nava (15)
3B: Kevin Youkilis (1)
HR: Cody Ross – 2 (11), Adrian Gonzalez (6)

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