Youkilis, as in Kevin.
The Red Sox have had a surprisingly large number of players with a last name starting with “Y”, including a couple Hall of Famers. But, Youkilis gets the nod in this case because he is on just about everyone’s mind at the moment. The Red Sox have had an enormous off-season this year. Everyone is beyond excited about the additions of Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez. Of course, a very important part of the signings is Kevin Youkilis.
Youkilis is a gold-glove first baseman. Youkilis is a two-time all-star at first base. He is the heart of the Boston Red Sox batting order. How could the Red Sox trade for another superstar first baseman with Youkilis on the roster? Because Youkilis can also play third base. That versatility is a huge asset for the Sox. Hopefully it doesn’t become a detriment to Youkilis’s career. That’s really what happened to Tim Wakefield. Because he could start or relieve, the Sox had him to both. So, he never really stuck at one position. He was never able to add up the stats the way he could at a dedicated position. It wasn’t his fault he was so good at starting that they stopped having him close. It wasn’t his fault that because he could come out of the pen they made other people starters. So, Wakefield has neither impressive career starter or reliever numbers. The same could happen to Youkilis. While it certainly looks like he’ll be at third from here on out, I’m sure they’ll flip him if they need to. So, he’ll miss the chance at being an all-time great first baseman, and third baseman. He’ll just have to shoot for great player.
To be honest, I’m not really a Youkilis fan. It’s nothing against him. He’s a great player. He’s a wonderful addition to the Red Sox (or any) line-up. But, he just doesn’t do anything for me. He doesn’t have Jacoby’s amazing speed. He doesn’t have the imposing fear of Manny. He reminds me of Tim Duncan. When you just do everything very well, without flair, it hurts your image. Sometimes I’d be at a Red Sox game, and wait an inning before going under the stands because Nomar was coming up. Or Manny was due. I don’t do that with Youkilis. He’s just another fine player on the team.
The first time I saw Youkilis play was on June 18, 2005. He was a pinch-hitter, interestingly enough, for Manny Ramirez. Manny had been hit by a pitch in his previous at-bat, so I wonder if that had something to do with it. Youkilis struck out in his only two at-bats that game. It got better from there.
So, as we start the 2011 season for the Red Sox, they have a new old first baseman. Hopefully the switch across the diamond will go as smoothly as it did the first time for Youkilis and the Red Sox. After all, if Youk is the Sox third baseman for the next six years, the Red Sox will be quite the team.
Y is for Youkilis, Kevin.