Youk a Yankee; Ichiro also on board

Not long after I posted on the Royals-Rays trade yesterday, the Yankees made the Kevin Youkilis deal official, signing him to a one-year, $12 million pact.

The Yankees have also agreed to bring Ichiro back in right field, but the sides are still negotiating one and two-year deals. There are rumors the Yankees could put some incentives into a two-year deal for Ichiro, who is 394 hits away from 3,000 in the major leagues. He certainly won’t replace Nick Swisher’s power in right, but if he can do what he did in pinstripes last year (.322, 28 runs, 14 stolen bases in 67 games) he’ll bolster the offense in other ways.

Back to Youkilis, he hit .235 with 19 home runs and 60 RBI in 122 games between Boston and Chicago last year. He did have some severe splits, hitting 72 points higher against left-handed pitching and 126 points higher in home games as compared to road games. He also struggled to the tune of a .214 batting average after the all-star break.

Kevin Youkilis in the Chicago White Sox dugout. (Photo via Wikipedia Commons)

Taking a look at his career splits, Youkilis was a .312 hitter in 109 at-bats at the old Yankee Stadium. He’s a .233 hitter in 73 at-bats at the new ballpark in the Bronx.

Then again, looking at Youkilis’ batting average is a bit of a mistake. His career on-base percentage (.384) is 101 points higher than his career average (.283). He is the Greek God of walks.

That seems to fit right in with the Yankees’ style of play over the last few years, but one has to wonder just how much Youkilis has left in the tank. Will he be the 2012 Youk? Will he be the 2011 Youk (.258, 17 HR, 80 RBI, .373 OBP, AL all-star)? Perhaps the chance to play against the team that ran him out of town will help re-energize him as well. Boston plays at Yankee Stadium on opening day: April 1, 2013.

From Joel Sherman of the New York Post on Twitter: Youkilis becomes the eighth member of the 2004 Red Sox to later play for the Yankees, joining Johnny Damon, Mark Bellhorn, Doug Mientkiewicz, Derek Lowe, Mike Myers, Alan Embree and Ramiro Mendoza. Mendoza threw one inning for the Yankees in 2005.

Here’s how the Yankees lineup for 2013 looks right now, my take on it, at least:

SS – Jeter

RF – Ichiro

2B – Cano

1B – Teixeira

CF – Granderson

3B – Youkilis


C – Cervelli/Stewart/Romine

LF – Gardner

Obviously, Gardner and Ichiro could be flip-flopped or Jeter could be slid back down to second in the order to prevent Cano and Ichiro, both lefties, from hitting back-to-back. As of right now, it looks like Eduardo Nunez might get the bulk of the DH at-bats until A-Rod returns, but I’d imagine the Yankees would also try to lock up a right-handed hitting outfielder in the Andruw Jones mold to platoon there and also split time in the corner outfield spots. Matt Diaz or Xavier Nady could be possibilities along those lines.

Of course, Cashman could do something crazy like trade Granderson for some younger prospects and then sign Josh Hamilton…but we’ll have to wait and see if anything unpredictable happens between now and then.

On the Mets’ front, negotiations are still ongoing with R.A. Dickey, who is signed for $5 million through 2013. Dickey is reportedly looking for a two-year, $26 million extension. The Mets have offered two years and $20 million to the reigning NL Cy Young winner.

There are a few possibilities here.

One, Dickey accepts the Mets offer – or agrees to a beefed-up counter offer that makes him a Met through 2015.

Two, the Mets flip Dickey for prospects in the offseason and really begin the rebuilding process.

Three, the Mets hold on to Dickey at $5 million and trade him in July if they’re out of contention.

Without much of an outfield and few future superstar types in the lineup right now, the Mets could certainly use a few promising position players if they decide to sell high on Dickey. Then again, he’s become one of the most popular players on the team…what does a Dickey trade do to the fanbase?

A big three-team trade went down on Tuesday.

Cincinnati acquired outfielder Shin-Soo Choo from Cleveland. They plan to use him in center field, which has raised eyebrows so far. Choo is a solid right fielder, but no one is quite sure how much range he’ll have in center.

Cleveland got Didi Gregorius, Drew Stubbs and Jason Donald from Cincy and then flipped Gregorius, Tony Sipp and Lars Anderson to Arizona for starting pitching prospect Trevor Bauer and relievers Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw.

You got all that?

Cincy adds a nice leadoff type in Choo. The Reds could be the big buzz team of spring training, especially if Aroldis Chapman takes off as a starter.

Arizona picks up its shortstop of the future in Gregorius as well as Anderson, who lost his luster as a prospect after coming up through the Red Sox system.

Cleveland gets a promising top-of-the-rotation starter in Bauer.

Your thoughts on the latest hot stove news? Let me know on Twitter: @THR_Montgomery. 

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    Will Montgomery

    Will Montgomery covers boys' soccer, girls' basketball, boys' and girls' swimming and diving, boys' lacrosse and baseball (including the Hudson Valley Renegades) for and the Times Herald-Record. Prior to joining the TH-R in November ... Read Full
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