Before I start, this post isn't some:
I merely wish to discuss the possibility of acquiring Youkilis, whether it would be possible and whether the Pirates should entertain the idea.
This premise of this post is based on the success of Will Middlebrooks, the third base prospect who has been slashing 310/356/715 for the Red Sox since Youk went on the DL. Middlebrooks may yet fail and his hot start comes with all the small sample size caveats, but he has the prospect pedigree. Before the season Baseball America had him at 51 on their top 100 prospects, Baseball Prospectus at 55 and John Sickels at 78.
So if Middlebrooks keeps on hitting, then what do the Red Sox do with Youkilis? With David Ortiz at DH and Adrian Gonzalez locked in at first, there is simply no place to put him. Youkilis also seems to be on the outs with his manager as Red Sox skipper Bobby Valentine bizarrely called him out earlier in the season.
Last year Youkilis slashed 258/373/459, for an OPS of 833. This was a decline from his previous two seasons, but would have ranked first amongst Pirates players with a minimum of 250 plate appearences. Replicating that this season would place him as the second best Pirates hitter behind Andrew McCutchen. Youkilis would also strengthen the roster in multiple positions, providing an immediate offensive upgrade at first base and insurance at third for a Pedro collapse.
So what is the downside? MLB Traderumors notes that Youkilis has had five trips to the DL in the last four years and at the age of 33 he is clearly in the decline phase of his career. Cot's Baseball Contracts has him signed for this year at $12 million with a club option next year for $13 million, so he is expensive but affordable for the Pirates.
That contract also contains a $1 million buyout for next season, so the Red Sox may just let him walk if he is unproductive/injured, but would it be possible to persuade him to come to Pittsburgh as a free agent? Jack Moore of Fangraphs thinks the Red Sox should consider trading Youkilis, but today Bobby Valentine seemed to indicate that Middlebrooks would be sent down when Youk returns from the DL.
So assuming that Cole/Taillon/Bell/Marte are untouchable, do the Pirates have the prospects to acquire Youkilis?
Should they even bother?