Tag: Kevin Youkilis

Kevin Youkilis Reportedly Agrees to Deal with Japan’s Rakuten Golden Eagles

Kevin Youkilis is heading to Japan to continue his baseball career. The veteran infielder has reportedly reached an agreement with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles for the 2014 season.

Alex Speier of WEEI passed along word of the deal:

According to an industry source, free agent Kevin Youkilis has reached an agreement to play for the Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan in 2014. The 34-year-old spent the 2013 season playing for the Yankees, but injuries limited him to just 28 games in which he hit .219 with a .305 OBP and .343 slugging mark along with two homers.

The report states that Japanese outlet Nikkan Sports has also confirmed the signing.

FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi confirmed the details:

If the team name sounds familiar, that’s because the Golden Eagles feature coveted starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports there’s still no word as to whether the club will post him for bids from Major League Baseball, though:

The signing comes as a minor surprise due to earlier reports about Youkilis’ desires.

The longtime member of the Boston Red Sox, who also made stops with the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees, was looking to stay close to his California home. Jack Curry of the YES Network reported that’s what he told the Yankees when they called looking to potentially re-sign him:

It’s unclear if he wasn’t able to get the right offer from a team in one of the MLB‘s western divisions or if he simply felt Japan was a perfect fit. Regardless, he’ll travel across the Pacific Ocean for 2014 and see if he can rediscover his hitting stroke.

Youkilis has a career on-base percentage of .382, but that dropped all the way down to .305 in 28 games with the Yankees last season. It was the second straight year his on-base numbers took a major hit, which might have scared away MLB teams.

At 34, Youkilis will attempt to show he can still produce with Rakuten and then reevaluate his situation before 2015.


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Best Available First-Base Options After James Loney Deal with Rays

And then there was one.

With news Friday that James Loney has re-upped with the Tampa Bay Rays for $21 million over three years, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, there aren’t many first basemen of note left on the free-agent market.

In fact, it’s pretty much just Kendrys Morales, the former Seattle Mariners slugger, who hit .277 with 23 homers and 80 RBI last year.

Recently, other free agents like Mike Napoli (Boston Red Sox), Justin Morneau (Colorado Rockies), Corey Hart (Seattle Mariners), Garrett Jones (Miami Marlins) all inked new deals, leaving the pickings rather slim.

And yet, there are still teams searching for and in need of help at first base, including the Pittsburgh Pirates, Oakland Athletics, New York Mets, Milwaukee Brewers and Houston Astros.

That’s why aside from Morales and the few other bottom-of-the-barrel free agents, there’s also a trade market developing at the position. Here, then, are some names to follow among readily available first basemen.

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Kevin Youkilis Will Miss 10-12 Weeks After Undergoing Back Surgery

It may be a while before the New York Yankees receive any contributions from third baseman Kevin Youkilis.

Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reported on Monday that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was concerned over Youkilis’ status following a lumbar strain the veteran sustained in the team’s 18-inning loss to the Oakland Athletics on Thursday.

Instead of good news, however, the Yankees learned Youkilis will need back surgery to repair a herniated disc and is expected to miss 10-to-12 weeks of action, as reported by Aaron Gleeman of NBC Sports:

Given the initial timetable for his return, Youkilis could face missing the remainder of the season after batting just .219 in 28 games with the Yankees thus far in 2013. Considering the team’s mounting list of injuries, even that subpar production will be missed from the lineup.   

Mark Teixeira is back on the disabled list, as reported by Feinsand, joining Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Eduardo Nunez and Francisco Cervelli. If the Yankees’ injury problems continue to pile up, they could be entering dangerous territory in a tight AL East race.

At 38-31, New York is three games back of the Boston Red Sox and just two games ahead of the fourth-place Tampa Bay Rays. In the middle of a recent 4-6 skid and with even more uncertainty at key positions, New York is facing an uphill battle to stay afloat in the division.

Youkilis signed with the Yankees last offseason on a one-year, $12 million contract in hopes of replacing some of Rodriguez’s production as he tries to get back into playing shape. Instead, the former Red Sox slugger tallied just two home runs and eight RBI this season.

His injury now leaves the Yankees with yet another hole to fill.

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Kevin Youkilis out 10-12 Weeks, David Adams’ Time to Shine

Sweeny Murti of WFAN New York reports that New York Yankees third baseman Kevin Youkilis will miss 10-12 weeks after recovering from surgery to repair a herniated disc on Thursday.

Youkilis has not played since the 18-inning marathon in Oakland against the Athletics, as he woke up the following morning feeling numbness in his right leg. Whether manager Joe Girardi mishandled Youkilis in that situation will likely be a much-debated topic over the next few weeks, but the fact remains that the team will be without Youkilis for quite some time.

The surgery will all but ensure that Youkilis will be without any back issues when he’s ready to return, but don’t expect the Yankees to rush him back.

No matter how well he performs upon returning, his 2013 season with the Yankees will still be considered a disappointment. After signing a one-year, $12 million contract during the offseason, Youkilis has hit just two home runs and driven in just eight while hitting .219/.305/.343 in 105 at-bats.

Youkilis was expected to replace Alex Rodriguez at the hot corner while he nursed an injury of his own. Rodriguez could very well be on his way back at the same time Youkilis is ready to make his return, but Youkilis could still find time at first base if Mark Teixeira’s injury ends up being worse than originally thought.

In Youkilis’ stead, both David Adams and Reid Brignac will likely see time at third with Jayson Nix taking over full-time shortstop duties. Brignac is hitting just .100 over 40 at-bats, however, so Adams should be the favorite to start at the hot corner.

Adams has seen varying levels of success in his first career season in the bigs. He has two home runs and seven RBI, but his .213/.234/.333 line needs to improve. Luckily for him, he should have plenty of opportunities to do so.

Adams has always been a highly regarded prospect in the Yankees system and carries a big stick to go along with the team’s expectations of him. It’s unfair to call him the third baseman of the future with so little service time under his belt, but a strong showing the remainder of the season could put him in the discussion.

Having a healthy option at third base will be just what the Yankees need to jumpstart their stagnant offense and spark some life into the team. New York has been forced to infuse young stars into the roster because of injuries this season; it may end up working in their favor presently and for the future.

Adams’ play over the next three or four months will have major implications on his role with the club moving forward.

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Report: Kevin Youkilis to Disabled List and Corban Joseph Up from the Minors

The inevitable has finally happened.

The New York Yankees have decided to place third baseman Kevin Youkilis on the disabled list with a stiff lower back that has been bothering him for over a week, reports Mike Axisa of CBSSports.com. In his place, Corban Joseph has been called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. It will be his first stint with a major league team.

Because Youkilis was able to play on Saturday (he missed seven games before that date and missed two more afterwards), the Yankees will only be able to set his disabled list retroactive to the last game he played. This makes him eligible to return on Saturday, May 11 when the Yankees play the second game of a three-game series in Kansas City against the Royals.

Youkilis had been hitting well in his first season with the Yankees. Signed as a free agent during the offseason, he’s compiled a line of .279/.353/.443 with two home runs and seven RBI.

Joseph will get his first taste of the big leagues with the call-up. He was off to a solid start in Triple-A, hitting .273/.347/.477 with four home runs and nine RBI. For his career in the minors, he’s a .282/.365/.430 hitter.

Primarily a second baseman, Joseph has played 43 career games at third base. He’s made 10 errors in that small sample size, and the last appearance he made there was in 2010 with the Low-A Tampa Yankees.

He may be asked to play some third base in Youkilis’ absence. With Robinson Cano firmly entrenched at second, at-bats for Joseph at that position will be few and far between. He’s never played an inning at shortstop, so Joe Girardi would likely not even consider putting the youngster there.

While Youkilis will obviously be back at his spot when he’s healthy, Joseph could stick around with the big club if he proves he can handle the majors. Jayson Nix currently occupies the reserve infielder’s role, but he provides little offensively.

If Joseph’s success at the plate in the minors can translate to major league pitching, then he could take Nix’s spot on the roster.

Youkilis’ injury isn’t great news for the Yankees, but I know I’m happy to see another young kid get a shot. Joseph looked like he had promise in spring training, so it should be interesting to see what he can provide when the games count.

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Report: Disabled List a Possibility for Kevin Youkilis

New York Yankees third baseman Kevin Youkilis has been out since last Saturday against the Toronto Blue Jays (in Toronto) with a sore lower back. There were no initial plans to place him on the 15-day disabled list, though that could now become an option.

Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports that manager Joe Girardi would consider placing Youkilis on the DL if he does not play by this Saturday’s home game against the Blue Jays. Youkilis took swings in the batting cage Thursday, but the results did not warrant a comeback for that night’s game.

When asked about Youkilis’ status, Girardi said: “He’s not rotating the way he wants to rotate, which is kind of important for a hitter. He’s just not ready to go.”

If Youkilis were to be placed on the disabled list this Saturday, then it would likely be retroactive to last Saturday’s contest. This would already put him seven days through the 15-day timetable, allowing the Yankees to carry an extra position player for eight more days until Youkilis could return on May 5 at home against the Oakland Athletics.

The Yankees could also choose to give Youkilis that game off as well, as the following is an off day for the team. This would make Youkilis’ likely return May 7 at Colorado against the Rockies.

Rushing Youkilis back into the lineup is in nobody’s best interest. With little depth at the hot corner and first base, a healthy Youkilis is extremely important. Throw in his early-season numbers, and losing him for an extended period of time is out of the question.

Through 16 games (61 at-bats), Youkilis is hitting .279/.353/.443 with two home runs, seven RBI and four doubles. He also leads the league with four hit-by-pitches.

Getting Youkilis back healthy as quickly as possible should be a high priority for Girardi and the Yankees. The best-case scenario would be for him to be back in time to face left-hander J.A. Happ on Saturday, but putting him on the DL for another week would be a much safer option.

Regardless, don’t expect Youkilis to miss much time.

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5 Things Red Sox Manager Farrell Must Do Differently Than Valentine

New Red Sox manager John Farrell has his work cut out for him as he tries to pick up the pieces from last year’s horrendous showing under Bobby Valentine. He’s been tasked with patching up the leaking holes that led to the Red Sox’ worst season in nearly 50 years—and then some.

If he can take anything away from his predecessor, it’s a long list of don’ts.

When thinking about all of the things Farrell should approach differently this year than Valentine, the short answer is everything. But here are five crucial lessons to be learned for a guaranteed turnaround in 2013.

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Michael Morse: The Smartest Move the New York Yankees Can Make Before the Season

The American League East is the most competitive division in baseball. From this division, the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles made the playoffs last October. The Tampa Bay Rays came up just short in their playoff push, but have competed for the division crown in each of the past five seasons. With the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox improving their rosters dramatically this offseason, there’s an argument that any of these five teams can win the division this season. 

The Yankees enter the 2013 MLB season with a bunch of question marks. Amazingly, it’s not just their pitching that should make them worried. It’s the bottom of the lineup. Derek Jeter, Ichiro Suzuki, Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson taking up the first five spots in the lineup is still an elite top of the order. After that, it gets ugly rather quickly. 

Their biggest offseason acquisition, Kevin Youkilis, is expected to bat sixth. Sure, everyone remembers Youk’s abysmal start to last season with the Red Sox that got him traded. However, people don’t realize that he wasn’t much better with the Chicago White Sox. His batting average improved by three points (.236 from .233 as a member of the Red Sox) during his time in Chicago. His on-base percentage last season was .336 (.346 with the White Sox), which was by far Youk’s worst output in his career. Let’s also not forget that he hasn’t played more than 125 games in a season since 2009. 

Infielder Eduardo Nunez, rookie catcher Austin Romine and left fielder Brett Gardner are the final three spots in the lineup. Nunez and Gardner are good for steals, but those three guys will not intimidate pitchers at all. And Nunez is the Yankees designated hitter! I don’t think the Yanks will be able to win the AL East this season with a bottom of the lineup as inexperienced and offensively limited as this one. 

So what should the Yankees do? The smart and obvious answer is to acquire Michael Morse from the Washington Nationals.

After signing Adam LaRoche to a two-year deal, the Nationals have a logjam of position players. They have LaRoche as their starting first baseman, along with Bryce Harper, Denard Span and Jason Werth roaming the outfield. This means that they have no room for Morse in the lineup. 

Morse is a great fit for the Yankees for several reasons. One of them is because of his weak glove. Teams love Morse’s bat, but they will shy away because of his fielding. Morse is not a strong outfielder, as proven by his advanced defensive stats. 

However, he would be a huge improvement over Nunez as the Yankees designated hitter. The past three seasons, Morse has accumulated 1,194 at-bats for the Nationals. His .296 batting average, .516 slugging percentage and .861 on-base plus slugging percentage would give the Yankees a huge boost in their lineup. This guy has a plethora of natural power, and he would give the Yankees another offensive threat that they really could use. 

Another reason why Morse makes sense for the Yankees is his contract. As evidenced by their lack of spending this offseason, the Yankees have made it a priority to be under the luxury tax by the start of next season. Morse is a free agent after the 2013 season, so he would actually would not hurt the Yankees’ monetary restrictions.

Now, how can the Yankees acquire Morse? The Nationals lineup and starting rotation is loaded, so they won’t have any interest there. But, their bullpen is lacking left-handed relievers. The Nationals lost three of them this offseason, including late-inning lefty Sean Burnett and long reliever Tom Gorzelanny. In fact, the only lefty reliever they currently have on their roster is Zach Duke. Not the guy I would want to face left-handed batters in tight situations.

The Yankees have two lefties in their bullpen, Boone Logan and Clay Rapada. Now, I doubt the Nationals would accept either of these guys straight up for Morse in a trade. But, if the Yankees add a middle-tier prospect, I think the Nationals pull the trigger. Washington will not re-sign Morse after this season, so why not get value for him that will help the team in the short-term and long-term? 

Trading for Morse is the type of move that could enhance the Yankees’ playoff hopes significantly. It helps the bottom of the Yankees order and it gives them a legitimate designated hitter. He can even play first base whenever Mark Teixeira needs a day off. All I know is, Morse is probably the lowest valued impact bat that the Yankees can acquire. But that bat would make the Yankees the favorites in the AL East again. 

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4 Ways for Kevin Youkilis to Instantly Endear Himself to New York Yankees Fans

It’s been a quiet offseason so far for the New York Yankees. Brian Cashman and the front office only gave fans one new present for the holiday season in Kevin Youkilis (the rest, re-signing Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda and Ichiro Suzuki, were recycled gifts).

Yankees fans are going to have difficulty accepting the “Greek God of Walks” as part of Yankees Universe after his years as a member of Red Sox Nation. Here are three things Youk can do to endear himself to Yankees fans.


1. Come Up with a Good Roll Call Greeting

One of this Yankees fan’s favorite parts of going to a game at the Stadium is participating or watching the Bleacher Creature’s roll call of each player during the first inning. When Nick Swisher signed with the Indians over the weekend, the team lost the most enthusiastic roll call.

The more flamboyant greetings generally come from outfielders, but if Youkilis can come up with something clever from the infield, he can become an instant fan favorite. It worked for Swisher.


2. Call out the Red Sox in Spring Training

Even though the Red Sox have not been competitive on the field for the last year and one month of play, they’re still the Yankees’ biggest rival, and Youkilis needs to make it clear which side he’s on.

He’ll be asked on a daily basis about switching sides, and while the safest answer would be to deflect the question, Youkilis would instantly gain the respect of Yankees fans by calling out Red Sox players, staff and/or fans. 

Didn’t like the way Josh Beckett, John Lackey and Jon Lester ate fried chicken and drank beer during the Sox’s epic collapse? Still upset about Bobby Valentine’s comments from early last season? Tired of the booing from Red Sox fans? Let Yankees fans hear it.


3. Make a Clutch Play Against the Red Sox

The Yankees open the season at home against the Red Sox this season, giving Youkilis an immediate opportunity to “earn his pinstripes” by having a big hit in a big moment. Hit a big home run and get a walk-off hit, for example, and Yankees fans will immediately embrace him.


4. Play Well

The most important thing to Yankees fans is winning. If Kevin Youkilis helps the team win, they’ll forget about his past and embrace his present.

It worked for Johnny Damon, who earned the love of fans by hustling on the field and helping them win the 2009 World Series.


Merry Christmas to all.

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Full Predictions for Kevin Youkilis’ 2013 Stats with the New York Yankees

The New York Yankees have filled their void at third base—left by the ailing Alex Rodriguez—by signing free-agent infielder Kevin Youkilis on Tuesday, reported first by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

Youkilis hit .235/.336/.409 with 19 home runs and 72 RBI last season between the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago White Sox, but how will he fare in New York in 2013?

The 33-year-old corner infielder has been a solid power option in the middle of the lineup in Boston and Chicago over the course of his career, hitting at least 17 home runs in each of the last six seasons. Youkilis will be going from two of the most hitter-friendly ballparks in baseball into one where there are short porches in both left and right field.

Looking at Youkilis’ career numbers at Yankee Stadium, New York may have been better off drafting him and letting him come up through their system instead of acquiring him so late in his career. The reason: the old Yankee Stadium versus the new Yankee Stadium.

Youkilis was significantly more productive at the old Yankee Stadium than he has been at the new Yankee Stadium. He hit .312/.437/.468 with 12 extra-base hits and 17 RBI in 31 games from 2004 through 2008 (the old Yankee Stadium). From 2009 through last season (new Yankee Stadium), Youkilis hit .233/.337/.397 with four extra-base hits and 15 RBI in 20 games.

Obviously the Yankees can’t go back in time so they’ll hope that Youkilis can transform his swing to fit the new Yankee Stadium even though there aren’t many major differences between the two ballparks.

Youkilis’ approach at the plate next season will also be looked at through a microscope. While his strikeout numbers have stayed relatively steady—averaging over 100 strikeouts when playing at least 120 games—his walk -rates have been up and down.

From 2005 through 2008, Youkilis’ walk rate dropped from 14.7 percent to 10 percent. He ended up raising it to an average of 13.2 percent from 2009 through 2011, but last year it went back to 10 percent.  It is interesting to note that the two times his walk rate has touched 10 percent, he recorded an OPS of .958 (2008) and .745 (2012).

One possible explanation is Youkilis’ health. In 2008, Youkilis played in 145 games. Over the past two seasons he’s experienced lower back issues which may have altered his approach at the plate. In those seasons he’s missed nearly 100 games. Could his back have something to do with his walk rate? That’s definitely something to keep in mind when watching him in 2013; is his back healthy?

If he’s healthy, expect average to above-average numbers from Youkilis, but if he isn’t, Yankees fans will be looking to send him on the quickest train north to Boston.

2013 Predictions: .262/.365/.478, 18 HR, 79 RBI, 77 R

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