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Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Rapid Reaction: New Youk Yankees

By Wallace Matthews



What went down: Kevin Youkilis, the Red Sox player every Yankees fan loved to hate, now becomes the man Yankees fans will hate to love. According to sources, Youk has reached a verbal agreement to play in the Bronx in 2013. The numbers on the contract are reportedly $12 million for one year.

What it means: That the crisis at third base, created when it was announced that Alex Rodriguez would miss at least half the season due to surgery on his left hip scheduled for January, is over. Youkilis played 111 games at third this past season for the Red Sox and the White Sox, to whom he was traded in June. He also can play first base in relief of Mark Teixeira, a vital role with Nick Swisher gone, and might even serve as a right-handed designated hitter now that Andruw Jones has relocated to Japan.

By the numbers: Last season, Youkilis hit .235 with 19 home runs and 60 RBIs in 122 games and 509 plate appearances. Compare that with A-Rod, who hit .272 with 18 HRs and 57 RBIs in the same number of games and 20 more plate appearances. Youkilis will turn 34 in March; A-Rod hits the big 3-8 in July.

Can Youk stand it? More realistically, can you stand it? Youkilis is not the first member of the Red Sox from the Bitter Rivalry Era to join the Yankees. Johnny Damon, of course, helped the Yankees win it all in 2009, Mike Myers pitched here, and last season Derek Lowe was a valued member of the bullpen and well-liked in the clubhouse. But Youkilis is another story altogether. Can't wait for his joyous reunion with Joba Chamberlain (who, I predict, will welcome him with open arms).

Mr. Precedent: You have to go back nearly 40 years, to 1975, to be precise, to find a situation that compares to Youkilis joining the Yankees, all the way to the trade that brought Phil Esposito and Carol Vadnais from the hated Boston Bruins to the Rangers in exchange for fan favorite Brad Park. It took awhile, but Rangers fans eventually accepted Espo. In fact, he wound up becoming a color commentator on their broadcasts and eventually their GM. Don't see the same things in Youk's future, but who knows?

So what do you think? Will Youkilis help the Yankees? Or will he function as an embedded Red Sox and drag them down? Seriously, will you be able to accept Kevin Youkilis in pinstripes? Do you like the move or loathe it? Let us know below.