The Boston Red Sox have worked out a deal that seemed almost inevitable, trading 3B Kevin Youkilis to the Chicago White Sox for RHP Zach Stewart and versatile IF/OF Brent Lillibridge.
ESPN Insider Buster Olney confirmed the report via Twitter.
Derek Jeter told me Saturday he couldn’t imagine the Red Sox without Youkilis. That day is here.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) June 24, 2012
Youkilis was wildly inconsistent this year and also missing a significant chunk of time on the disabled list with a back injury.
In his absence, rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks took center stage, and is sporting a healthy .326 batting average through 41 games in his young career. Middlebrooks also has hit nine home runs this year.
There was much controversy over who would get time at third base when “Youk” came back. Manager Bobby Valentine tried splitting time between the two, but it seemed as though Middlebrooks was clearly the better player.
Thus far, the White Sox have gotten abysmal production from their third basemen, with a plethora of different players combining to hit for a .167 batting average. Acquiring Youkilis gives them a reasonable hitting threat and a defensive stalwart. Although age is creeping up on Youkilis, he still can be an asset for the White Sox.
As far as Chicago is concerned, they just acquired a potential All-Star.
The Red Sox received Stewart and Lillibridge in return for Youk. Stewart had recently been demoted to Triple-A Charlotte, but he is a hard-throwing pitcher who could develop into a valuable middle-of-the-rotation guy. Lillibridge is a versatile infielder who has the potential to become an above-average player. He is a lifetime .215 hitter entering his prime at age 28.
The trade works extremely well for both teams, with Chicago filling a hole at third and the Red Sox adding depth to their squad.