White Sox Acquire Kevin Youkilis from Red Sox

After heavy trade rumors the last week or so, the White Sox pulled the trigger on Sunday, acquiring Kevin Youkilis from the Boston Red Sox. This is an interesting move from a team that all year seemed to be straddling the line between rebuilding and contending in one of the weakest divisions in baseball. With this trade, it appears the White Sox are going for it this year, and with a thrilling extra inning 1-0 win over the Brewers yesterday, the Sox currently sit atop the Central with a half-game lead over the Indians and a three-game lead over the Tigers.

After going 13-1 from May 17 to June 1, the Sox have struggled, going only 9 and 12 since. Still, with only two weeks to go until the All Star break and an extra wild card spot for the first time this year, it looks like the Sox have once again traded for a chance to win now. The team has operated in this fashion throughout Kenny Williams’s tenure as Sox GM. Originally, it looked like this might be the year the Sox would finally rebuild. They traded Carlos Quentin and their spectacular closer, Sergio Santos, in the off-season. The Sox have a number of players eating up a bulk of the payroll who struggled mightily last year, most notably Adam Dunn, Alex Rios, and Jake Peavy. This year, however, those players are all having great years. Combining this with the outstanding play of their young pitchers, the Sox are contending.

The White Sox Third basemen have been terrible

Still, that doesn’t mean they’re a team without flaws. Most notably, they lack any consistency at third base. Brent Morel came on at the end of last season, but he started this season hitting below .200 and has spend the last couple of months on the disabled list. Orlando Hudson, claimed off waivers, hasn’t fared much better. Obviously, the White Sox hope that Kevin Youkilis can be the answer here. While he’s not the player he has been in the past, if he can hit .250, that’s a huge improvement over what they’ve had.

The players the White Sox gave up weren’t big parts of the team this year and did not seem to be a part of a long-term solution either. Brent Lillibridge is versatile in that he can play in both the outfield and infield, but he’s a bench player at best and was also struggling offensively this year. His role had really been to pinch run for Paul Konerko late in games, a job I’m confident Sunday’s hero, Eduardo Escobar, can fill easily. Zach Stewart, the other player in the deal, had a 6.0 ERA in limited action with the White Sox this year. Basically, the Red Sox made this deal in order to clear the way for their young phenom, Will Middlebrooks at third base.

The Sox have struggled with attendance this year

It appeared the Sox wouldn’t be able to make a trade this year due to their poor attendance. In fact, Kenny Williams had not been shy about letting the fans know that poor attendance could affect their ability to make a move. Apparently, as he tends to do every year, the Sox were able to figure out the finances. We’ll see if Youkilis’s arrival helps keep the Sox in first and subsequently helps convince fans to go to the park. So what do you think? Will Kevin Youkilis propel the White Sox into the playoffs? Or will the inexperience of the pitching staff be too much to overcome? Let me know in the comments.

468 ad