Here's a parting shot of Boston's Kevin Youkilis - who was traded to the White Sox Sunday - courtesy of Rick Porcello:
For the record, Youk's bull-rush and helmet-toss in 2009 earned him a five-game suspension. He should have been awarded a five-minute major and a free dinner at the "99 Restaurant."
The Red Sox got next to nothing in return for Youkilis, but he gave the team plenty during his nine seasons in Boston. Youk won two World Series rings while wearing a Boston Red Sox uniform. Only seven other people born in the 20th century can make that claim. Youkilis played all-out most of the time. His aggressive play took its toll on his body and the opposition. His reputation emerged relatively unscathed from 2011's carnage, only to find itself on the wrong side of the new boss early in 2012.
Since we can't blame this one on Gisele, Tim Thomas or Wes Welker, we'll just offer Julie Brady's husband good wishes and our hearty gratitude for his service to the Red Sox.
The final clip of Youkilis in a Red Sox uniform shows him walking off the field following his triple, complete with a dirt-stain on the seat of his pants. The cries of "Yoooouuuuuukkkkk," the standing ovation delivered by the home crowd and the hugs from his teammates were instantaneously classic:
Indeed, Dustin. That is how things are done around here.
Youkilis' next standing ovation is scheduled for Monday, July 16, when the White Sox visit Fenway Park.
Often, Youkilis' flair for the dramatic leaned on the melodramatic. Bobby Valentine questioned the legitimacy of Youkilis' heart and hustle a coupe of weeks into the season by claiming "I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason." Youkilis' response: "The only time there has ever been a question is because I've been too emotional." Valentine apologized but the damage was done. The post-strikeout, angst-filled, bat glances were annoying. No, Kevin, it wasn't the bat's fault you missed that curveball.
And that batting stance. Kids, don't try this at home:
A three-time All-Star, Youkilis' overall athletic skill was rarely recognized or appreciated given its rarity on Yawkey Way. His ability to seamlessly move between third and first base was once considered an invaluable asset. It allowed the Red Sox to drive up the Yankees' price on Mark Teixeira and trade for Adrian Gonzalez (that may be good or bad). This is not Youkilis' baseball obituary, even if being sent to the South Side of Chicago can feel like a sentence to purgatory.
Beyond the tributes, Youkilis' exit is the first short sale in a rapidly collapsing market called the Red Sox roster.
How much will Boston have to pay to get rid of Josh Beckett? As much as possible. Any takers for Carl Crawford, Dice-K or Gonzalez? Didn't think so.
The Red Sox have never really gotten the whole "buy low, sell high" thing. Ideally, players should be dealt at close-to-peak value, not after they've been struggling with injuries for four years (Youk hasn't played more than 140 games since 2008), sent to the doghouse or left without a spot in the lineup even when they can play three or four positions (counting DH). This was a case of "buy low, sell after eating $5.5 million of the $6.6 million left on his contract." It's amazing it took Ben so long to move Youkilis. Sorry Zach Stewart and Brent Lillibridge, but the Red Sox shipped Youk to Chicago for a bag of Whiffle Balls.
The Red Sox don't have a single player - and yes, that includes Will Middlebrooks and Jacoby Ellsbury, who should be untouchable. Middlebrooks is hot, the third-baseman of the future. Nothing but upside. In other words, the type of player you need to move in order to land a Felix Hernandez.
How about a three-way deal with the Mariners and White Sox?
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