I didn’t have the emotions to make a vlog like a devoted Britney Spears fan, but I had enough disgruntlement to create this post. Since the Kevin Youkilis signing all I see out of Yankees fans on Twitter and around the blogosphere is hate. Hate, hate and more hate. I honestly did not see this coming. I actually felt that most Yankee fans would be on board with this signing. Kevin Youkilis isn’t the player he once was, we know. However, Youk can be of excellent service while Alex Rodriguez is on the DL.
It’s OK Youk, I’ll be your friend. (Image: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports)
It might be wishful thinking to believe Youkilis will have a year similar to 2009 or even 2010, but one like 2011 is definitely not out of the picture. That year Youk posted a 3.7 WAR, .366 wOBA, and a 126 wRC+. Not amazing numbers, but certainly not bad. Depending on how he adapts to Yankee Stadium I could see him faring better than that in 2013.
We’ve all seen the stat based arguments by now though. I don’t feel the issue of all the hate originates from Youkilis’ past production while in Boston and Chicago. No, no, this originates just from being a gritty player in Boston. Just from having will power to win and all the other cool narratives baseball traditionalists like to say. Andrew Corselli pointed out that Youk while apart of the 2004 World Series team, actually didn’t do anything to help the Red Sox win.
What I don’t understand is that Johnny Damon actually hurt us in 2004. He actually put the final blow to the Yankees 2004 season. That never happened, right? Yet, if I remember correctly Damon didn’t receive that much hate from Yankees’ fans when he cut his hair for some extra cash to play in the Bronx. Just think if we didn’t like all the Red Sox who became Yankees? Ahem, Babe Ruth, Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs, etc. One year of Kevin Youkilis isn’t going to ever equal the caliber of play that those guys once achieved, but it’s just the principal. Once a Yankee, always a Yankee. Unless you’re Carl Pavano of course.
I see the big reason as to why Youkilis catches so much hate is because of the incident with Joba Chamberlain. Chamberlain threw two pitches in one at bat in the direction of Kevin Youkilis’ head. Recently though, Chamberlain decided to call Youkilis to welcome him to the team. NY Daily News quoted Joba saying this.
"“We’re both grown men, we both like to play the game,” Chamberlain said. “We’ll continue to move on. I’m glad he’s in our uniform and hopefully he can hit a few balls to right field over the fence for us and not against me like he’s done before.”"
If Chamberlain can welcome Youkilis to the team then you as a Yankees fan can too.
One final major complaint I see out of Yankee fans is the amount of money Youkilis is being paid. Sure $12 million is a lot for one year for a player like Youkilis, but that’s the thing. It’s only one year. If this were a 3-5 year deal, yea I’d be complaining! But the deal Youkilis agreed to makes a lot of sense for the Yankees. For one, it fills a need at third base until Rodriguez comes back. Even then, Youkilis might have to play third because Rodriguez will likely serve as the DH. Also, the contract provides the team with flexibility. It’s not harming their goal of lowering their payroll in 2014.
As fans we just have to give this guy a chance. Are you going to be rooting for Youkilis to strikeout Opening Day against his old team? Or send a ball soaring into the bleachers? I hope it’s the latter.