After receiving a one-year, $12 million contract just a year ago, Kevin Youkilis will have to settle for a new job overseas.
Nikkan Sports: Rakuten is going to acquire Kevin Youklis http://t.co/yU9cE8XHvC— Patrick Newman (@npbtracker) December 20, 2013
If only it could be a simple trade of Youkilis for Mashiro Tanaka. Like the Yankees did a year ago, it looks like Rakuten will be gambling with Youk at third base since they already have a decent incumbent first baseman (Ginji Akaminai). They have an opening at third base anyway since former Yankee Casey McGehee played third for them last year and he just signed a deal with the Marlins. I'm sure trying Youkilis at third won't backfire at all for Rakuten!
The $12 million spent on Youkilis turned out to be one of the worst investments in Yankees history. The Yankees had hoped that he would rebound from a shaky 2012 split between the Red Sox and White Sox, but instead he only made it into 16 games before the back injuries that have long plagued his career emerged again. He played just one game between April 21st and Memorial Day Weekend and was atrocious after perhaps being rushed back from injury, since the Yankees had basically no backup plan for him beyond the punchless Jayson Nix. A 6-for-41 eleven-game stretch culminated with an 0-for-7 in that ugly 18-inning game against the A's on June 13th ended his season. Youk underwent lower back surgery to repair a herniated disc and never made it back to the team other than a few random TV appearances on the bench. It was a delight.
Youk had previously stated a desire to play on the West Coast closer to home, but my guess is that none of the West Coast teams wanted him for his terms. I doubt he would have wanted a bench role, and he basically needs a role where he would DH part of the time since he's so fragile, so NL teams were out. The only three West Coast AL teams are set with their first basemen and making him a starting third baseman is foolish, so it's off to Japan for Youk.
I'd wager that Youk will not be invited to Old Timers' Day. Is Japan far enough away?