Predictably, since Thursday there has been much ink spilled over the Yankees' signing of Mr. Kevin Youkilis. We would be remiss if we didn't gather some of these clippings here for posterity.
First and foremost, Marc Carig, formerly the beat writer for the Yankees at the Newark Star Ledger and currently chronicler of the Mets for Newsday, wrote a piece about Yankees fans feelings towards their new third baseman and was kind enough to ask for my opinion.
It's human nature to inflate the importance of recent events, so right now it seems as though signing Youk is the most egregious example of a hated Red Sox player coming to the Yanks, but in reality there are several acquisitions that were of similar magnitude at the time like Boggs, Clemens and Damon.
In Carig's article, Youk said that he consulted with Johnny Damon before accepting the Yanks' offer, who I think is probably the closest comparison. Both were signed as free agents in the modern (post-2004) rivalry era, both players had appearances defined by ridiculous hair on the Sox (facial or otherwise) that they had to remove before coming to New York, and both had irritating on-field behaviors (Youk's batting stance and Damon's baby arm in the outfield).
The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry is as hot as it has ever been, maybe hotter than ever. Youkilis was probably the most hated player on the Red Sox, which is saying something. He is also 33 years old and coming off a pretty dreadful year -- the guy hit .235 and only posted a league-average on-base percentage because he was hit by pitch a league-leading 17 times (Youkilis: The Greek God of Plunk). And it's not even like the Yankees get the joy of taking him away from Boston … the Red Sox gave up on Youkilis in the middle of last season and dumped him on the White Sox.
In other words: There is nothing good about this acquisition from a Yankee fan's perspective. The Yankees are essentially demanding that fans root for a guy they've so thoroughly enjoyed clemenating for so many years AND a guy who probably won't be the hitter he was in his prime. Talk about your lose-lose.
Ouch. All good points, but there's something to be said for choosing the best option available, even if you are choosing between a giant douche and a turd sandwich.
Over at Big League Stew, David Brown suggested that Youk could be "Wade Boggs all over again" for the Bombers. If it ends up with a ride on a horse after a World Series win in the Bronx, I'm all for it.
Jack Curry over at the YES Network's website likened Youk to Paul O'Neill.
Before some of the O’Neill acolytes explode, relax. This doesn’t mean Youkilis and O’Neill are exactly the same player with the exact accomplishments. Of course, they’re not. What it means is that Youkilis and O’Neill share the same style for playing baseball with an intensity that’s visible to everyone and with an approach that chases perfection.
Clearly Youk wasn't the perfect option for the Yankees and Eno Sarris displays that statistically at FanGraphs. The silver lining, he concludes, is that it's only a one year deal.
That's all for now, Fackers. It remains to be seen whether or not the Ghosts of Fack Youk Past will continue to haunt this site. In the meantime, stay strong.