He is 6-for-19 in his six games since returning with a .316/.409/.474/.883 batting line. He has scored three runs, driven in two, has a home run and three walks to his credit as well.
Initially, I speculated that the viable list of teams that would be interested in Youkilis consisted of the Oakland Athletics, Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds. While the interest from the Athletics and Reds has proven to be minimal, two other teams have moved into the forefront alongside Philly with proven interest in acquiring Youkilis.
In my initial piece, I had this to say about the Phillies:
The Phillies, like the Red Sox, are in need of offense.
Unlike the Red Sox, though, the Phillies actually have the pitching.
Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are on the shelf right now. The Phils have Ty Wigginton at first and Placido Polanco at third.
While both players have been serviceable, they have combined for a .277 average with 16 RBI and two home runs. That is not exactly ripping the cover off the ball.
Youkilis could provide the team with a bit more stability and offense if he indeed is healthy.
Since that post, the Phillies have received an OPS+ (on-base plus slugging) of 83 from Placido Polanco at third base. They've primarily used Ty Wigginton, John Mayberry and Laynce Nix at first this year, garnering less-than-glorious results. While waiting on Ryan Howard seems like a pointless exercise at this point, their first basemen are batting .272/.351/.406 in his absence.
The Tribe has been relegated to using Casey Kotchman at first base this season. He only has a .219 batting average with 15 RBI and three home runs in 41 games. An injured Youk has better stats than that already. If the Indians are in fact making a legitimate run this season, the addition of Youkilis could be imperative to their sustained success.
In a personal dream scenario, perhaps the trade could occur that sent Youkilis and, say, Clay Buchholz to the Tribe with Justin Masterson and a player to be named later coming back to Boston.
One can dream.
Another team that has emerged as contenders for the services of the Greek God of Walks is the Arizona Diamondbacks.
In his Red Sox notes last week, the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo mentioned the interest shared by the Diamondbacks, stating: "General manager Kevin Towers is looking to upgrade his offense at the infield corners."
This is another very interesting landing spot for Youk. The Diamondbacks have solid pitching and could potentially offer a player like Joe Saunders in return, though an outfielder in the form of a Gerardo Parra might be more likely.
Since signing Jason Kubel in the winter, Parra has been relegated to the fourth outfielder position. In Boston, with the revolving door of injuries, Parra should be able to see some regular playing time and significant innings.
So long as Youkilis continues to play well, the interest for his services will continue to heat up and the Red Sox will find no issues in making a deal for him.
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