Amidst speculation that the Red Sox could use third baseman Kevin Youkilis as a trade chip this offseason, multiple sources inside and outside the Sox organization suggest that it is unlikely that the Sox will deal the 32-year-old.
While the Red Sox will explore the trade market to address offseason needs -- including the need to fill two spots in the rotation -- Youkilis is not expected to be dealt for a number of reasons. While 2011 was a down year for him, he nevertheless remained one of the most productive offensive third basemen in the game. There are few, if any, third basemen available either internally or externally who could match the three-time All-Star’s lineup impact.
Moreover, Youkilis has a contract that permits the Sox to maintain payroll flexibility. He will receive a $12 million salary in 2012, with a team option for $13 million for 2013 (and a $1 million buyout).
Youkilis led major league third basemen in virtually every offensive category in the first half of the season but faded dramatically in the second half, when he struggled with a series of injuries before he was ultimately rendered unable to play by a sports hernia that required offseason surgery. He ended the year hitting .258 with a .373 OBP, a .459 slugging mark, an .833 OPS, 17 homers and 80 RBI in 120 games. It was the second straight year in which he missed significant time due to injuries.