By: Chad Smith
It’s May 15th 2004, The Boston Red Sox are playing the Toronto Blue Jays at the Skydome (Now Rogers Centre). Bill Mueller is put on the disable list and the sox call up a third baseman not many people have heard of. I was at that game in Toronto on a vacation to watch the Red Sox take on the Blue Jays. It was a three game series and I was going to two of the games. I was 16 at the time and just excited to see the Red Sox play an away series. I do not remember too much if anything about that trip but I do remember is sitting on the first base side and seeing Kevin Youkilis first career homerun. It was a shot down the left field line. After seeing him run around the bases he became one of my favorite Red Sox. I thought he was going to be good, but at that time I though every young Red Sox was going to be the next big thing. In 2004 he helped the Red Sox win their first World Series even though he did not play a whole during the playoffs.
Since seeing that homerun Youkilis has been one of my favorite
Red Sox. He plays with passion, heart, determination, and sometimes he takes
his disappointments over the top. Some fans and media have got on him about his
temper, but to me all it shows is that he cares. I’m not sure about the people
reading this article but I would much rather watch someone who cares too much
then someone who does not care at all. Watching Youkilis these past seasons as
a Red Sox fan has been awesome. Now however there is a real possibility he
could be on his way out of town. Youkilis was put on the disabled list earlier
this month which allowed for a hot hitting prospect by the name of WillMiddlebrooks to make his debut in the show. Middlebrooks is replacing Youkilis
in the same fashion Youkilis replace Mueller some 8 years ago. Since getting to
the show Middlebrooks has done extremely well.
I’m now 24 and much more opinionated now then I was at 16. After watching the greatest collapse in baseball history, the Red Sox organization not doing much to fix it, and continuing their less then inspired play into this season I question the direction of Red Sox organization. If the Red Sox decide to trade Youkilis there is no doubt that they will be questioned, and if the Red Sox decide to keep Youkilis they will be question. It makes perfect sense as to why the Red Sox would want to trade Youkilis. He is clearly on the down side of his career, and the last few seasons he has been dealing with nagging injuries. The market for Youkilis will be decent and the Sox could probably get a young pitching prospect who could become a third or fourth starter at the major league level. So what if the Red Sox do trade Kevin Youkilis? Will they get better or worse? I think they will miss the playoffs if they keep or trade Youkilis, so I say go the trade route. Don’t get me wrong I would love to see Youk retire a Red Sox, but I just don’t see how it’s going to happen.
Will Middlebrooks is clearly ready to contribute at the major league level and will be in the Red Sox line up full time next season. So far we have seen a small sampling of Middlebrooks but the future looks promising. The Red Sox will not make the playoffs this season as they did not do enough to correct the problems that plagued them last year. The Red Sox might as well use this season as a bridge year and load up for the future. In the end this is the way sports work. The aging veteran who is loved by the fans is eventually replaced by the young prospect. You can debate all day if it’s right or not for a veteran to lose his position to a rising prospect because of an injury. Right now Middlebrooks can contribute more to winning ball games for the Red Sox and that is what sports is all about, winning. Whether or not he is traded his time in Boston is coming to end and the writing is appearing on the wall. So what if the Red Sox trade Youk?, well I will always think of Youk as a Red Sox.