Free Agent Forecast: Kevin Youkilis
Best known for his on-base percentage, Kevin Youkilis is a great addition to any lineup ... when healthy. Youk has been in the big leagues since 2004, and he's played in over 130 games only four times, including none in his last four seasons. The height of his effectiveness was with Boston, especially during the 2008-2009 seasons. At his best, Youkilis was a .300 hitter with a .400 OBP and would hit about 20 home runs with 90 RBIs. We haven't seen that guy in years, though, and his season with the Yankees in 2013 was a total failure for both parties. Youkilis played only 28 games, and hit two home runs with eight RBIs. For the $12 million the Yankees paid him, they expected significantly more than that. He is recovering from back surgery and is certainly a risk, but his upside may still give him a shot with a big league club this spring. His ability to play Gold Glove caliber third and first base doesn't hurt either.
Youkilis is competing with guys like Juan Uribe, Mark Reynolds and Eric Chavez in the power hitting corner infielder department. When healthy, he's better than all three by a long shot, but back surgery is no joke. There is almost zero chance that the Yankees will re-sign him. The last thing they need is another injury-prone infielder that could end up letting them down. Considering his age and his fragile nature, I think the days of Youk at third base may be over. He's still a very good first basemen and could help a lot of teams. It has been reported that he is healthy and ready to have a normal offseason of conditioning, so I would be shocked if he doesn't sign somewhere.
I could see Youkilis heading out of the American League simply because most teams already have first basemen/DH's on the roster. Teams like the Brewers and Mets could be in the market for a guy like Youk. I don't expect him to get nearly as much money as he did with the Yankees in 2012, but I could see him getting a one-year deal worth $4-6 million from a team who needs a good, veteran bat.