The Yankees top preference seems to have been a third base platoon of Eric Chavez and Jeff Keppinger, but with them off the table their attention seems to have been on Youk. He is looking for a multi-year deal, but is said to be willing to accept a one-year deal so long as it matches the $12 million he earned last year so this is actually a competitive offer from the Yankees.
They are not alone in bidding for him. Youk’s agent won’t say how many teams are in the running for his services, but we do know that the Cleveland Indians are willing to make a multi-year offer and have his friend and former manager Terry Francona running things so perhaps that gives them the inside track. However, it seems unlikely that they would offer him $24 million so perhaps the Yankees have an edge with a higher annual value.
Youkilis has never been a picture of health. He’s never even played in as many as 148 games in his entire career and has not played in more than 122 since 2009. He is also coming off a season where he posted career lows in batting average and on base percentage. His .409 slugging percentage was his lowest mark since his second season in the majors when he played in just 44 games.
On top of that Youkilis’ ability to hit right handed pitching seems to be deteriorating. He hit .275/.386/.492 against lefties last season, but just .220/.316/.377 against righties. Combine that and the fact that his back problems seem to be chronic these days and it’s no guarantee that he could even fill in long enough until Alex Rodriguez comes back. Not a good sign considering that we don’t even know if A-Rod can play third base when he returns from his second hip surgery.
Considering the fact that the Yankees passed up signing better free agents to less money this seems almost like a desperation move to placate fans that are growing more angry with the Yankees budget constrictions. Or perhaps it’s just a realization that there are no other good third basemen left on the market.