The White Sox announced after Sunday’s game that they’ve acquired Kevin Youkilis from Boston in exchange for right-hander Zach Stewart and utilityman Brent Lillibridge.
The Red Sox are also sending $5.5 million in cash to help cover Youkilis’ salary, according to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal.
“I just got off the phone with him, he’s very excited to join our club and he’s got a little edge to him that I like,” White Sox GM Kenny Williams said. “I can’t tell you exactly what he said, but he wants to come in and prove some people wrong.”
Youkilis will take over at the hot corner for the White Sox. Brent Morel, who opened the season with the job, is out with a back injury and there is no timetable for his return. He was struggling mightily anyway, and he’ll likely be optioned to Triple-A once healthy.
The Red Sox are now committed to Will Middlebrooks at third, and they’ll see if Stewart and Lillibridge can help in lesser roles. Stewart, 25, had a 6.00 ERA in one start and 17 relief appearances for the White Sox this season. He’s to join the rotation at Triple-A Pawtucket for now. Extremely homer-prone up to this point of his major league career — he’s allowed 21 in 97 1/3 innings — he figures to benefit from getting out of U.S. Cellular Park. While Fenway is still a hitter’s park, it’s not a home run park.
Lillibridge was outstanding in his bit role last year, hitting .258/.340/.505 with 13 homers in 186 at-bats. This year, he’s returned to previous form, with a .175 average, no homers and 26 strikeouts in 63 at-bats. On the plus side, he’s a good defensive outfielder, and he’s capable of playing anywhere in the infield, though he’s well below average at second base and short.
Youkilis, who was drafted by Boston back in 2001, went 2-for-4 with an RBI triple Sunday in his final game for the Red Sox. He’s hitting .233/.317/.377 in 146 at-bats this season.
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Last night the Detroit Lions played the New York Giants. During the game Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford called an audible. The call itself referenced Stafford’s childhood friend and high school baseball teammate, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. From the Freep:
Matthew Stafford stepped to the line of scrimmage late in the third quarter and surveyed the Giants defense.
With five pass rushers across the front and three Giants cornerbacks showing a press-man look, Stafford looked at his two receivers to the left and invoked the name of his childhood friend, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw.
“Give me Kershaw here, Kershaw,” Stafford said, repeating his friend’s name two more times as he spun around at the line of scrimmage.
The audible did not result in a pick-4 to Aaron Altherr. It called for a run up the middle. And it worked nicely, gaining eight yards.
You may suggest the results of other starting pitcher-themed audibles in the comments. I’ll start: “Harvey! Harvey!” is where the QB fakes a handoff, drops back, looks deep and then his arm falls completely off. Damndest thing.
Matt Harvey‘s season was mostly a loss due to extended time on the disabled list. He’s been given a chance, however, to end the season strong and make a case for himself in the Mets’ future plans. Unfortunately, he has been unable to make that case. He was shelled again last night, and his late season opportunity has been a disaster.
Last night Harvey gave up seven runs on 12 hits and struck out only two batters in four innings against a Marlins team that, until facing him anyway, had been reeling. It was his fourth start since going on the shelf in mid-June and in those four starts he’s allowed 21 runs, all earned, on 32 hits in 14.2 innings, for an ERA of 13.19. In that time he’s struck out only eight batters while walking seven. His average fastball velocity, while ticking up slightly in each of his past four starts, is still below 95. Back when he was an ace he was consistently above that. His command has been terrible.
Injury is clearly the culprit. He had Tommy John surgery just as he was reaching his maximum level of dominance in 2013. While he came back strong in 2015, he was used pretty heavily for a guy with a brand new ligament. Last year he was felled by thoracic outlet syndrome and this year a stress injury to his shoulder. Any one of those ailments have ended pitchers’ careers and even among those who bounce back from them, many are diminished. To go through all three and remain dominant is practically unheard of.
Yet this is where Matt Harvey is. He’s 28. He’s still arbitration eligible, for a team that is, to put it politely, sensitive to large financial outlays. While his 4-5 start opportunity to end the year may very well have been seen as a chance to shop Harvey to another team, his trade value is at an all-time low. It would not be shocking if, on the basis of his recent ineffectiveness, the Mets considered non-tendering him this offseason, making him a free agent.
Someone would probably take a chance on him because famous names who once showed tremendous promise are often given multiple chances in the big leagues (See, Willis, Dontrelle). But at the moment, there is nothing in Harvey’s game to suggest that he is capable of taking advantage of such a chance. All one can hope is that an offseason of rest and conditioning will allow Harvey to reclaim at least a portion of his old form.