In my opinion, the Boston Red Sox suffered the death blow to their season when they learned on Friday that first baseman Kevin Youkilis would be out for the season. It’s going to be really hard to lose someone of Youkilis’ caliber and still try to make up five or six games on the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays in the competitive American League East.

Regardless of whether or not I think they are done, the Red Sox don’t believe they are done. They are still trying to improve their team to earn a playoff spot. On Saturday, the Red Sox signed first baseman Carlos Delgado to a minor-league contract to see if he can help out at first. The deal includes a stipulation that if Delgado isn’t on the major league roster by Sept. 1, then he can opt out of his contract and become a free agent.

Delgado, 38, last played in the major leagues in May of 2009 as a member of the New York Mets. He was hitting an impressive .298 with four home runs in 26 games before going down with a hip injury.

That .298 was more than a year and a half ago, and I really have my doubts as to how much Delgado can help the Red Sox both offensively and, most importantly, defensively. That is the thing people don’t realize about the loss of Youkilis. Losing him for his defensive abilities might hurt the Red Sox more than losing him for his offensive prowess.

Delgado was a poor defensive first baseman before his hip injury. I could only imagine his limited range now at first. Delgado should be relegated to designated htiter duties, but he won’t be taking the place of David Ortiz anytime soon.

Dustin Pedroia’s injury means Bill Hall and Jed Lowrie getting the majority of the starts at second base (both have limited range). If the Red Sox have Delgado at first, a lot of balls would be getting through the right side of that infield that normally wouldn’t if Pedroia or Youkilis were around. I don’t think a Hall-and-Delgado right side of the infield is what general manager Theo Epstein had in mind when he building the Red Sox around defense in the off-season.

Maybe Delgado has something left in the tank, but I doubt it. I would be very surprised if Delgado was able to contribute to the Red Sox in 2010.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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