With outfielders starting to come back, and Adrian Gonzalez having a hard time hitting like he should, the Red Sox are looking forward to when they can field something resembling a normal lineup. Meaning, one without Gonzalez in the outfield, Kevin Youkilis at first, and Will Middlebrooks at third. Or, the opposite of that, when Youkilis starts while Middlebrooks, who has done nothing but hit most of the year, sits on the bench.
This is why, according to the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo, that the Red Sox have "stepped up" their efforts to trade Youkilis. Cafardo presents not just this news, but his knowledge on which teams have inquired.
The Dodgers are a known suitor, given they have been scouting Youkilis. The Indians need more power in their lineup -- especially since they currently lead the AL Central despite a negative run differential -- and Youkilis could certainly find a home there. The Pirates are a club we've discussed as being a spot for Youkilis, especially given they are in a much easier division, in a less-difficult league, and have shown a willingness to take on seemingly-lost players with histories of effectiveness, the most recent being A.J. Burnett. The Phillies still claim they want Middlebrooks over Youkilis (as do 29 other teams), but according to Cafardo, had two scouts at Fenway this week anyway.
Good timing by them, too, as Youkilis is 3-for-8 with a walk, two doubles, and no strikeouts in those two games. With any luck, someone's scouts will see something they want from his performance, and convince their team it's worth pulling the trigger on a deal.
The Red Sox don't want to do a straight salary dump of Youkilis, nor should they: if they are paying for all the risk in a Youkilis deal, so someone else can attempt to get the productive version of him in their lineup without anything lost except for the plate appearances given to him, then the Sox deserve something for it. It might not turn out to be someone like Parra, but there will be someone out there willing to part with something of value, even if it isn't a player at the MLB level.