The Boston Red Sox are struggling this season and if things continue on this path, they may be in a situation where they have to shed salary as the season goes on. One of those trade chips could be long-time third baseman Kevin Youkilis.
Will Youkilis injured, prospected Will Middlebrooks came up and has torn it up. In five games, Middlebrooks has hit .409 with three home runs, four doubles and nine RBI.
The 23-year-old Texas native seems to be the team’s future at third. With Adrian Gonzalez firmly entrenched at first base, it would appear that Youkilis, and his gimpy back, is a man without a roster spot.
The idea of moving Middlebrooks to the outfield so that he and Youkilis could play at the same time has been brought up. But Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington quickly shot that idea down, since the team really likes the rookie at third base.
There are several teams that could be in the market for a third baseman this season. The Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies could all use his services.
The Tigers would love to add a real third baseman, so they could rotate Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder at first base and designated hitter.
The Red Sox are a mess and they have a gigantic $173 million payroll that they need to start reducing.
Youkilis is 33 years old and is making $12 million this season. His contract has a $13 million team option for 2013, with a $1 million buyout. It is almost certain that the Red Sox won’t pick up that option. Therefore, there isn’t much of a reason to keep Youkilis around.