Before the season, many Chicago White Sox fans were resigned to the fact that this was a rebuilding year for the team. That dreaded term let fans know that the team would be bringing up young players and developing their talents instead of spending the big money on a postseason push. Well, the way the White Sox have been playing so far this season has shown that a postseason push is now a possibility. With that in mind, General Manager Kenny Williams made a significant move towards a playoff run and picked up Boston Red Sox key player Kevin Youkilis.
The Sox gave up utility player Brent Lillibridge and reliever Zach Stewart in the trade with Boston. Williams is known for playing his hand close to his chest and when their were Youkilis rumors flying around, he always denied their validity. Now that Youkilis is wearing a White Sox uniform, though, the trade makes a lot of sense. Boston is paying $5.6 million of Youkilis’ remaining $8 million contract. For a team with a tight budget like the Sox, the financial aspect is quite appealing.
In addition, Youkilis will be filling the third base slot that became available when Brent Morel went on the DL over a month ago. The Sox picked up Orlando Hudson to temporarily fill that spot and despite going 14-11 since Hudson’s arrival, he is only batting a paltry .170. Plus, his expertise was never at third base and now this move opens him up to a full-time utility role. Fellow bench player Eduardo Escobar will enter a similar arrangement.
Believe me, I loved Brent Lillibridge. He was one of the best defensive players on the team, but his contribution offensively just hasn’t been there. I can’t really say the same about Zach Stewart. His relief pitching was spotty at best and he blew his opportunity starting when the Cubs beat the Sox 12-3 last Monday.
It is true that Youkilis is having an off year, batting only .233 with 15 RBIs. However, Williams was keen on saying that Youkilis will have something to prove when he comes to Chicago. It is also true that however bad Youkilis’ stats may be right now, they still top our current third basemen. In fact, by position, the Sox have the worst third base stats in all of baseball.
This is an exciting move by Williams and hopefully it’ll pay off. Youkilis gets his first chance to play in a White Sox uniform tonight against the Minnesota Twins.