by Will Overton
My how the mighty have fallen in just a short half of a season’s time. Kevin Youkilus has gone from Boston folklore hero to the guy traded for a utility man and middle reliever. The question is now whether or not a change of scenery can spark the former top 50 player or if the 33 year old is just on the downside of his career.
I will break down each side of this trade and provide my take on the fantasy fallout from the deal. As weird as it will be to see Youk in another uniform it’s going to happen so let’s speculate on what that means for fantasy players:
Chicago White Sox Receive
Kevin Youkilis – Third Baseman: The biggest thing about this deal is that Kevin Youkilis will go from 3 – 4 times per week like he has been to playing every single game at third base where the White Sox other options are pathetic at best. Youkilus best chance at getting things turned around this season is going to come playing every day so in that sense the move is a good thing. Another good sign for Youkilus is that he has recently busted his 3 – 33 slump by going 6 – 14 in his last four starts including 3 XBH.
Youkilis struggles this season go back all the way to last season when he hit .199 in the second half of the season after a really good first half. Youk has struggled through multiple injuries over this time, but there’s a chance he might just be losing his skill set a bit as he ages. Still he has shown signs of life recently and he is going to play every day in Chicago so I think he might be worth a shot in the standard leagues where he’s been dropped. You just can’t think of him as the sure thing he was a couple years ago.
Boston Red Sox Receive
Zach Stewart – Pitcher: Other than being able to dump the contract of Youkilus this is probably the biggest pickup in this deal for Boston. Stewart is a former top prospect who is still struggling to find a major league role. Chicago was using him as a middle reliever as he was used his first couple of seasons in the minor leagues. However his last few seasons in the minors he’s been a starter and ultimately would like a chance to do that in the big leagues.
Given the beaten up state of the Red Sox rotation right now there is a chance Stewart will get an opportunity to do it in Boston. Until he gets a chance at that he’s probably not going to hold much value in fantasy leagues. If he does get a chance to start though he could make an interesting deep league play.
Brent Lillibridge – Outfielder: There’s not a ton of long term value here, but there could be short term value in very deep and AL only leagues while the Red Sox outfield is a hodgepodge of players. Lillibridge has speed and could provide a few steals given the chance. Don’t expect much power though despite his surprising 10 HR’s last season, which seems to be an aberration.
What are your thoughts on this deal? Can Youkilis turn things around still this season with a change of scenery? Did the Red Sox get anyone with any fantasy value in return?