After nearly a decade in Boston, Kevin Youkilis is changing his Sox. Ben Cherington and the Red Sox announced that they had dealt the 33-year old corner infielder to the White Sox following Sunday afternoon’s series finale against the Braves at Fenway.
Coming to Boston in exchange for Youk are utilityman Brent Lillibridge and 25-year old pitcher Zach Stewart. Lillibridge will head straight to the major league roster while Stewart has been sent to Triple-A Pawtucket.
The Red Sox have also agreed to eat $5.5 million of the $6.6 million Youkilis has remaining on his contract this season. The White Sox would be responsible for a $1 million buyout on a $13 million team option for 2013.
Stewart, a former third-round pick who was once considered a hot prospect, is 3-8 with a 5.92 earned run average in 31 career appearances, 12 of them starts. This is the third time he has been traded in a span of four years, going from the Reds to Blue Jays and then to the White Sox and now to the Red Sox.
Lillibridge, a 28-year old utilityman who has played every position except pitcher and catcher, is a career .215 hitter with the Braves and White Sox.
This obviously isn’t a great return for a player of Youkilis’ caliber, but the Red Sox really had no other option than to dump the third baseman as soon as possible. The emergence of 23-year old rookie Will Middlebrooks forced Youkilis out of an everyday job and made him expendable.
I’m sad to see the guy go but, like they say, baseball is a business. When you get outperformed at your position by a guy 10 years your junior, you’re probably not gonna be around very long.
Youk was always a fan-favorite in Boston and there’s no doubt that he’ll receive just as big of an ovation when he returns to Fenway with the White Sox from July 16-19 as he did today when he was pulled today from his final game in a Red Sox uniform: