On Saturday, with rumors running rampant that the White Sox were in the driver's seat to acquire Kevin Youkilis from the Red Sox, I couldn't have been more clear in my opinion: Youkilis was the right man at the right time for our Sox. Within about 72 hours of the post, my wish became reality as Kenny Williams pulled the trigger and Youkilis will be manning third base for the first-place South Siders tonight in Minnesota.
With the Sox offensive production at third last in the majors by a wide margin, the brass knew something had to be done. And with "Youk," a hard-nosed, clutch player with two World Series rings available, it would have been a miscalculation for the Sox not to at least explore the possibility. Now, you put a real pro that "has an edge" (Williams phrase) along with the likes of Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn and Alex Rios, you've got a significantly improved lineup.
It's true that Youkilis's production hasn't been what it once was, mainly because of injury, but many feel a change of scenery is exactly what he needs. And there's no doubt he'll want to prove to his doubters that he's still "got it."
Aside from the acquisition itself, it is comforting to know that the Sox didn't have to trade one of their bullpen stalwarts or mortgage the future by dealing a top prospect. By trading Brent Lillibridge and Zach Stewart, the Sox did nothing to substantially affect their current roster or rob their system. It's true that Lilli made valuable contributions, but Eduardo Escobar is at the ready. And maybe Stewart will find himself in the Boston organization, but I'm willing to take that chance.
Sox Notes of Note: Ironically, the Sox got their game-winning hit yesterday in the 1-0 10-inning victory because of the trade. In the bottom of the ninth, Lillibridge was called upon to run for Konerko, who walked and stayed in the game as the designated hitter. But when that spot came up again in the batting order, Lilli had already been informed of the trade. So, Escobar hit for him and singled in the winning run...Jose Quintana should file suit against the Sox offense for lack of support. He's been beyond belief...The Sox feted the '72 White Sox yesterday with MVP Dick Allen throwing out the ceremonial first pitch as his former '72 teammates Goose Gossage, Bill Melton, Bart Johnson, Ed Spiezio, Dick's brother Hank and GM Roland Hemond looked on.