UPDATE: Friday, Dec. 14 at 11:50 a.m. ET by Tim Daniels
Major League Baseball has announced the deal between Youkilis and the Yankees is now official.
MLB (@MLB) December 14, 2012
---End of update---
Youkilis comes off a season in which he posted a .336 on-base percentage in time split between the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox. It was the lowest OBP of his career by a large margin, raising concerns about his ability to bounce back at age 33.
He became known as the "The Greek God of Walks" because of his terrific eye, but his walk rate dropped more than three percentage points last season. It was another worrisome sign that came at the wrong time for a player heading into free agency.
Yet despite the fading numbers, his prior track record helped him garner interest from multiple teams. After all, it was just two years ago that he posted a .975 OPS with 19 home runs in 102 games for Boston.
If he can return to that level—or somewhere close to it—it will be a terrific signing. It's the type of risk teams often have to take in order to fill holes, especially in a weak free-agent market like this year's.
The chances are, however, that Youkilis' best days are behind him. It would be a major surprise to see him approach 30 home runs with a batting average above .300 again. Those type of comebacks are rare in the post-steroid era.
That said, he can still be a solid placeholder who will provide some pop in the bottom half of the lineup. Given a full complement of at-bats, he's capable of hitting around 20 homers with an OBP that bounces back to the .360 range.
They aren't outstanding numbers by any means, but they are definitely serviceable. It's just important that fans don't get too caught up in what he's accomplished in the past when defining their expectations for next season.
All told, it's a good fit for everybody involved.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!