Kevin Youkilis' time in Major League Baseball seems to be coming to an end, as the former Red Sox infielder is heading to Japan to play for the Rakuten Eagles according to reports out of Japan (via Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker).
It seems like it's been a long time since Kevin Youkilis' time in Boston, but it's been just a year and a half since a strong start from Will Middlebrooks in the midst of the disaster that was 2012 pushed him first to the Chicago White Sox, then ultimately to the New York Yankees. He would play just 28 games with the Red Sox' arch-rivals, missing much of the season with a herniated disk in his back.
Youkilis' decline was precipitous. In 2010, he was easily one of the best hitters in the league. In 2011, he was still above average. By the time 2012 had come around, though, he was struggling to stay relevant at a position which demands the most at the plate, and now he's gone to Japan at just 35 years old.
Still, let's remember Youkilis' better days. From 2008 to 2010, he trailed only Albert Pujols in wOBA. He was a big part of that 2007 World Series team as a ridiculous 1-2 combination with Dustin Pedroia at the top of the lineup. He was flawless at first before moving to third to do what he could to fit the needs of the team. And while those three great years of his came in between World Series wins for the Sox, he's certainly one of the defining players in that brief interregnum.
The Greek God of Walks is gone, but not forgotten.