ESPN.com’s Buster Olney first reported that the White Sox are one of four major league teams which have talked to the Red Sox about trading for the 33-year-old third baseman.
Sox general manager Kenny Williams said before Saturday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers that he preferred not to discuss where the team was in discussions with other clubs, or to even address the trade climate right now in the industry.
The combined OPS (on-base plus slugging) of White Sox third basemen in 2012 is under .500 while the American League average OPS is .729. Clearly the Sox would like to make a move to get some kind of production on the left side of the infield, while Youkilis is excess talent on a team that would love to clear third base for the much younger Will MIddlebrooks.
A major league source told ESPNChicago.com there are a number of things that must be checked off before the White Sox could potentially acquire Youkilis.
Is Youkilis better than any player the team has in the organization? (The answer to that question is a most resounding yes.)
Will the Red Sox absorb some or most of the $6 million that is still owed on the Youkilis contract? (This answer depends somewhat on question three.)
If the talent going from the White Sox to the Red Sox is of blue-chip caliber, would Boston eat the majority of Youkilis’ contract? (The answers to questions two and three is most likely yes, however if the Red Sox agreed to take a less-talented player they would probably expect the team acquiring Youkilis to pay a larger share of his contract.
The other factor the White Sox are considering, according to the source, is that with a second wild card in the mix this season teams will be less likely to trade off veterans. If clubs feel they can make playoff run and keep their fan bases interested when football season begins, then less talent will be available at the July 31 trading deadline.
The White Sox cannot afford to trade pitching off of their 25-man roster without getting pitching in return. Thus an expanded deal could be explored by both clubs. The White Sox do have good young pitching at the Class A level, which Boston may consider suitable compensation for Youkilis.