The Red Sox need a first baseman this off-season, whether it comes from within or outside of the organization. It made sense for Kevin Youkilis, who was traded away from Boston to the White Sox this past season, to be one of the potential candidates for the position. That might not be the case, though, as Jon Morosi of FOX Sports is reporting that quite a few teams are intrigued by Youkilis, but not a one of them plays their home games at Fenway.
The Indians, Phillies and Dodgers are looking to upgrade their production at third base and have shown preliminary interest in Youkilis, according to major-league sources. The Mariners and Marlins - the majors' two worst teams this year in first-base production - have checked in on Youkilis, as well.
Youkilis made sense for Boston on a one-year deal, for between $8 million to $10 million, but signing him for just the one year was an idea at least in part predicated on him not having better options to choose from. With five other teams talking to him, there's a very good chance Youkilis might be offered a two-year deal by at least one of them, or a heftier single-season price than that. He's not as intriguing for the Red Sox if he's going to be expensive, since signing him in general should be considered a risky move, given his decline and notable injury issues.
Of course, the Red Sox might also not be talking to Youkilis yet because they're locked in on Mike Napoli to play first, or perhaps Youkilis only interests them if he sticks around on the market long enough to be a worthwhile risk, like Cody Ross was a year ago. Or maybe they aren't interested at all! Free agency is fun like that -- it's hard to know just what teams have in mind, especially one like Boston, where nearly every free agent out there has been or will be linked given the Red Sox' considerable financial flexibility, their current roster holes, and the normal winter act of pretending you want a player in order to drive up the price for competitors.
[Update 12:18 pm] Morosi added on to the five teams listed, giving a sixth interested in bringing Youkilis on board:
Adding on an earlier item: The #WhiteSox still have interest in retaining Kevin Youkilis.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 13, 2012