The free agent period has gotten off to a slow start as many players wait for the market to stabilize and we continue to take a look at free agents that could find a spot with the Dodgers.
Today, we take a look at a third baseman that finished 2013 on the disabled list:
Youkilis is a 34-year-old third baseman and first baseman that spent 2013 with the New York Yankees. In his career, he’s a .281 hitter with 150 home runs and 618 RBI in 10 seasons.
The former Red Sox infielder joined the Yankees following the 2012 season and was their third baseman; however, Youkilis would play in just 28 games after undergoing surgery for a herniated disk in his back. He hit just .219 with two home runs and eight RBI in 105 at-bats.
Youkilis is a .281 career hitter with a career OBP of .382, meaning he can make contact and gets on base. He provides power at the corner infield position, averaging about 25 doubles and 15 home runs in his 10 seasons. Youkilis also provides a very productive bat in the playoffs, with a career .306 batting average in 29 postseason games.
The 10-year veteran found his greatest success with the Boston Red Sox but was seemingly forced out the same way as Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford. The third baseman will be looking to prove something this season and the Dodgers would be wise to bring in a player with purpose.
The 34-year-old is a strong defensive player at both corners of the infield. As a third baseman, Youkilis is plus-18 runs in Total Zone Fielding in his career and has spent the past three seasons as his team’s primary third baseman. He can also head across the diamond to play first, if needed.
Despite his career numbers, Youkilis is a 34-year-old coming off back surgery that struggled at the plate in 2012. The risks are high with a player with those credentials, especially for a hitter coming to pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium. In his last full season, Youkilis hit just .235 with a .336 OBP, though he did manage to hit 19 home runs and drive in 60 runs. It’s hard to trust a hitter that’s seen a steady decline in numbers the past three seasons.
The back surgery could limit Youkilis in the field defensively and create a liability if he plays third base. He may choose to stay with an American League team, in the case that his mobility is limited so he can become a designated hitter if necessary. The Dodgers would have to be assured that Youkilis will suffer no setbacks or lingering effects from surgery.
In the 2011 Red Sox collapse, Youkilis was rumored to be the player that released team information and lost respect of some players in the clubhouse. The truth was never revealed but Youkilis went into the 2012 season with that target on his back, a target that grew even larger once manager Bobby Valentine questioned his motivation. Many things happened within that Red Sox clubhouse that were unclear; however, the Dodgers must find out if his former teammates trust him before bringing him into the locker room.
Last off-season, Youkilis received a one-year deal worth $12 million from the Yankees. He won’t receive that much this off-season as he’ll need to prove himself once again after the injury. Teams would be wise to bring in Youkilis on a one-year deal, possibly with a team option in case he does well. Look for the 34-year-old to receive a one-year deal worth $6-8 million.
Chances Dodgers Sign Him: 35%
The Dodgers were linked to Youkilis last off-season but decided to settle with Luis Cruz at third base. Cruz failed to stay with the team and Juan Uribe became the new starter. It seems as if the Dodgers have plans to try and re-sign Uribe, but could turn to Youkilis if that falls through.
Prospect Corey Seager is said to be a couple years away from the big leagues, meaning the Dodgers just need a couple productive seasons from whomever they bring in. If the Dodgers don’t bring back Uribe then it’s very likely that they give Youkilis a call.
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