Saying Goodbye To Kevin Youkilis

Farewell to a legend.

Whenever I’m at Fenway Park, my eyes can’t help but wander to the second level of seats in right field, where the retired numbers hang. I always think of the current team, and wonder which players, if any, will someday have their number proudly displayed with other Red Sox legends. For what seems like forever now, I assumed Kevin Youkilis would be on of those players.

Nine years with the same franchise will instill that type of confidence. Two World Series rings will only increase it.

But on Sunday afternoon, Kevin Youkilis had his last at bat with the Boston Red Sox. In a move that should surprise no one that has been following Boston all season, they shipped him to the Chicago White Sox for young pitcher Zach Stewart and ultra-utility man Brent Lillibridge.

For those complaining about the trade, as valuable as Youkilis has been for the Red Sox over the course of his major league career, he’s still only hitting .233 this year, with four home runs, and a stint on the disabled list. The sox weren’t going to do much better than what they came with, Sure, Matt Thornton would have been nice, or maybe even a piece from a third team, but all things considered, the fact that Will Middlebrooks and Adrian Gonzalez can now play their natural positions, makes the trade worth it.

The thing I’ll miss most about Youkilis is his stance. Hearing every national television announcer say something along the lines of, “Now, don’t try that at home kids.” It was always a surprise to these announcers, but to someone who watched nearly every game that Youk played with the Sox, it almost grew into an inside joke.

It’s sad the way the game works, but eventually, every player’s time comes to an end. Sometimes you’re ready for it, sometimes you’re not. It’s hard to say goodbye when you’re not prepared to. Even though this trade was something that many were preparing for the last week, or even month in some circles, but by the time Youkilis was heading back to the dugout in the seventh inning, it was hard not to get emotional.

There’s not much statistical evidence backing this statements, in fact there’s none at all, but I’ll still say this: the Chicago White Sox will not regret this trade. In Youkilis, they have a capable third baseman, for a team that was ranked last in literally every major offensive category out of the third base position, but they have a player who cares about the game.  A player who brings heart, intensity, and passion to almost every pitch.

Sure, he may be getting old, and for the last two and a half years now, it’s been hard to keep him on the field. But one thing’s for certain, when he’s on the field, there’s not many other players you would take over him.

Will Middlebrooks is the future. Over the past week it’s been almost impossible to even get him to make an out. He’s been on a ridiculous tear. So, it’s with a heavy heart we say goodbye to Kevin Youkilis, but it’s not without good reason.

For a long time, it seemed like he’d be here forever. It would have been nice if it worked out like that, but baseball, like life, doesn’t always work out the way you plan it to.

The number 20 will probably never be retired at Fenway Park. Sure, there will be Kevin Youkilis appreciation days, but he won’t be remembered the way David Ortz, Jason Varitek, and Tim Wakefield will be. That’s a shame because he’s meant just about the same to this team as those three have over the past decade. After all, now that he’s gone, Ortiz is the only member of the ’04 squad left.

Best of luck to Youk in Chicago. I have a feeling he’s going to make the White Sox season. It won’t quite be the same without him.

 

Categories: Boston Red Sox Chicago White Sox Kevin Youkilis Will Middlebrooks

Alex Convery is a student at the University of Southern California where he studies screenwriting. He spends his time procrastinating. Follow him on twitter here: www.twitter.com/alexconvery

15 Responses to “Saying Goodbye To Kevin Youkilis” Subscribe

  1. Red Sox citizen June 25, 2012 at 7:20 AM #

    Youk deserved to play out his career in Boston! Larry Lucino is the one who needs to go….and if President Ben doesn't grow a couple and end the destruction of Larry, then he should move on to the Cubs Org.

    Youk can still play and he can still hit the ball…..they just didn't give him a chance this year. Youk could have split time between 21st & 3rd and DH…we need him.

    Look what they got in return…basically nothing…an insult to Youk and Red Sox nation!

    Larry L….time for you to leave the front office!

    • Walt in Maryland June 25, 2012 at 8:09 AM #

      Middlebrooks needed to play, period. A-Gone needs to stay at 1B, and you're not going to use Youkilis to take ABs away from Big Papi.

      Youkilis wasn't going to be back in 2013. I agree he can still play, although not nearly as well as he used to, but this was the right thing to do.

    • Joe in Boston June 25, 2012 at 10:39 AM #

      You obviously know nothing about baseball. You couldn't continue to operate the way they have been. And if you kept this team the way they were and somehow backed into the playoffs what are you going to do play Agon in right field? That's just ridiculous.

    • Danny June 25, 2012 at 4:51 PM #

      They didn't give him a chance? He hit .233 in almost 150 at-bats. That's plenty of a chance.

      Everybody understood it was time for him to go. We have more crucial players already occupying "21st & 3rd and DH".

  2. JMReviews June 25, 2012 at 8:06 AM #

    I think Theo's interview is good evidence that Lucchino is fun to hate, but he does not unilaterally make all of the bad decisions.

    To me, the return wasn't good for Youk. Trading him and cash for 2 AAAA players doesn't seem right. Was there really no high ceiling A-AA prospects available?

  3. Steve H June 25, 2012 at 8:09 AM #

    Should have never traded for Gonzalez. Youk would have held up better playing at first…

    • Willy Mo June 25, 2012 at 8:21 AM #

      I too hate having one of the best defensive 1st basemen and one of the best overall hitters in the league…it became obvious last week that Youk was no longer happy here. Either he understood he wasn't going to play and was unhappy, or he genuinely believed he would be the one that should have started all those games.

      Love Youk and everything he's done, but it's a trade that had to happen. Everyone always talks about distractions and "toxic" clubhouses – Youk growing unhappy was worse for this years team than a clubhouse without Youk.

      Does anyone really believe over the last 3 or so months that Youk will outperform either AGon or Middlebrooks? If not, than why complain about this trade?

  4. Matt Imbrogno June 25, 2012 at 8:37 AM #

    As a Yankee fan, I hated seeing Youkilis 19 times a year. Hated it. Hated him. But, if he were on the Yankees, I would've loved him. Too bad it had to end like this for him in Boston.

    • ChipBuck June 25, 2012 at 8:43 AM #

      Well said, Matt. That's how I feel about Jeter as well.

  5. ChipBuck June 25, 2012 at 8:45 AM #

    Yes, he may have worn his emotions on his sleeve. Yes, he NEVER took a pitch that was a strike. Still, he was our guy. Thanks for the memories, Youk. You'll always be remembered fondly.

    One last time for old time's sake…YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUK!

  6. DezoPenguin June 25, 2012 at 10:13 AM #

    Bottom line: Youk was great in Boston for a long time, and I'm sorry to see him go on a season where he's having such a poor year. Injuries plus the bad season not only made his exit necessary, but depressed his trade value. I wish him well with the White Sox (who are conveniently located in a division without any teams I care about, and are in a better position to make a playoff run than the Red Sox are, so he's now more likely to see postseason action than he was on Saturday).

    As for the trade itself, I do wish that the Sox could have gotten more for him. Lillibridge is a utility guy coming to a team that doesn't really need utility guys; he's also having a rotten year although he's showed some skill with the bat and glove in the past. Stewart hasn't shown he can do anything that Aaron Cook or Vicente Padilla or Franklin Morales can't do as well or (in Morales's case) better. "Nothing for nothing" in terms of baseball value, except the nothing the Sox gave up had provided many fond memories in the past and meant something emotionally to the team. It definitely would have been better to work some kind of package deal and use the available resources to get back something of value.

  7. topherdd June 25, 2012 at 3:55 PM #

    Youk was a heck of a player,hard-nosed,emotional,gritty.His style will be missed,but itd Middlebrooks time.

  8. Tony June 26, 2012 at 5:02 AM #

    I hope YOUK lights it up in Chicago….

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