No Red Sox hitter has been in trade talks more than Kevin Youkilis this season, and it won't go away anytime soon.
He's clearly in a rut at the plate, hitting just .219 at the plate with four home runs and 19 RBI this season. Youkilis missed time due to being hit in the rib cage, and his replacement, Will Middlebrooks has taken advantage of it. Middlebrooks is hitting .290 with six home runs and 22 RBI, looking every bit the player who will take over at third base on a permanent basis.
That being said, GM Ben Cherington doesn't see a trade coming anytime soon.
"The reality is there's nothing going on," Cherington said on 850 WEEI. "We've talked to teams about several things. Yeah, teams have called to check in on Youk. That was a while back, right before he went out on his rehab assignment."
Much has been made about Youkilis' reported attitude problems within the clubhouse as well.
"There' a lot about Kevin that you want on a team," Cherington said. "It's hard to see a guy like that who does care that much going through a tough time. We've got to support him and see him through the tough time. I'm confident he will be in a better place soon."
What -- or where -- that place is remains the question.
(ht ESPN Boston)
The Red Sox signed Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract bn August 2014. Over parts of three seasons, the 29-year-old has a .679 OPS across 337 plate appearances in the majors and spent the vast majority of the 2016 season at Triple-A Pawtucket.
Castillo had a chance to start things off on the right foot in 2017, but that ship has already sailed. On Thursday against Northeastern at JetBlue Park, Castillo didn’t run out a routine ground ball. He claims he lost track of the outs. Manager John Farrell isn’t happy about the situation. Via Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald:
“Disappointing for a couple of reasons,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “One, he has lost the number of outs. Still, regardless of another of outs, getting down the line is controllable. And for a player in his situation, every little aspect of the game is important. That’s something that was addressed in the moment. He needs to execute the game situation. And for that matter, every player. But that one obviously stood out.”
Everyone always makes far too big a deal about running out grounders. It’s a real nit to pick when it’s February 23 and your team just finished playing an exhibition game that is even more meaningless than the other exhibition games that will be played in the coming month.
That being said, Castillo has to prove himself to merit inclusion on the 25-man roster and that means dotting all his i’s and crossing all his t’s. Even if he went hitless all spring, Castillo could have at least said he couldn’t have done anything else better. But on day one, he already gave his team a reason to count him out.