In news that should surprise no one, the White Sox have declined their third baseman's 2013 option
The White Sox traded for Kevin Youkilis during the 2012 season, and that in turn meant they had an option on him for the 2013 season. This option had a buyout of just $1 million that could keep the White Sox from needing to pay $13 million for Youkilis' services in 2013, and Chicago chose to exercise said buyout on Tuesday.. Now, as a free agent, the White Sox plan to negotiate with him further to bring him back -- the third base market is thin enough that another go-round of Youk at the hot corner isn't the worst idea.
Now that he's available to anyone, though, the risk is out there that Youkilis will sign elsewhere. The Red Sox could use him at first base, as could a number of other clubs. The sample is small, but Youkilis was a much better hitter as a first baseman in 2012. This makes sense, given that there's less wear-and-tear on his admittedly injury-prone, 33-year-old body at this point at that position, rather than at third, a position he has mostly outgrown.
A chance to play for John Farrell and return to the park that's been so good for his swing over the years could be tempting for Youkilis, but it's up to the Red Sox to make an offer to him. Normally, something like this could easily be considered more emotional attachment to a player from the past than rational plan, but have a look at the first base market for a moment: it's a place filled with James Loney, Casey Kotchman, Carlos Pena, Carlos Lee, and people who will likely overpay Mike Napoli because of the presence of players like the four mentioned before him. All of a sudden, Youkilis fits in as a rational addition, too.