(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod and was originally posted on Thursday morning)
The Winter Meetings will basically be over this afternoon after the Rule 5 Draft is complete (they are), and it’s becoming more and more likely that the Yankees will leave the meetings without addressing any of their open lineup holes (they did). They’ve been connected to a ton of players, and lost out on most of the ones in which they had interest just as quickly as they were connected. Third base continues to be the biggest area of activity for the Yankees, and after the events that took place yesterday, the Yanks are down to 2 real “good” option as a temporary starter in Alex Rodriguez‘s absence: Kevin Youkilis and Mark Reynolds.
I get the sense that Youkilis is not only the bigger target for the Yankees right now, but also more of the fan and writer favorite, mainly due to his peak being higher than Reynolds’ and his overall offensive production being better and more well-rounded. While I won’t disagree with either of those facts, I also won’t come right out and say I think Youkilis is the better option. If you look closer, there are reasons to be wary about him.
First off, let’s just get this out of the way right now. It has nothing to due with the fact that he’s an ex-Fraud Sawck. I root for laundry (except when it comes to Big Sloppi) and really couldn’t care less that Youkilis used to play for the team I hate. If you’re one of those people who doesn’t want him because of that, or worries about how he and Joba are going to get along in the clubhouse, please just stop reading this post, take your Yankee stuff off, put it in the back of a closet somewhere, and pull out a coloring book because you’re clearly too stupid to be a baseball fan.
The reason I don’t want Youkilis is that the decline he’s experienced over the past 3 seasons has been even more dramatic than A-Rod’s and he’s had just as many problems staying healthy as A-Rod has. Rodriguez has played 358 regular season games in the last 3 years (2010-2012); Youkilis has played 344. Rodriguez has lost 59 points off his wOBA in the last 3 years and 28 off his wRC+; Youkilis has lost 85 and 45. Youkilis isn’t as far removed from his heyday as A-Rod is, but he seems to be deteriorating just as quickly as a player at 5 years younger. He strikes out more than he used to, walks less, hits for less power, and his defensive skills at third have taken a hit because of all the injuries.
My concern is that if the Yankees were to sign Youkilis, they’d essentially be paying for 1 year of a less expensive version of A-Rod. With the situation the rest of their lineup is in, I question the logic in thinking that move makes the team better. The Yankees need to get younger, need to get more dynamic, and need to get more flexibility in their roster makeup. They need to get better as part of the process, and Youkilis WAS the better player, but there’s just nothing about him right now that makes the Yankees any of those things. He’s going to command more money on a 1-year deal because of his track record, and the Yankees have been down that road before. They don’t need to make that mistake with Youkilis.