I was sitting in my living room watching the Cleveland Indians lose to the Houston Astros when news broke on Twitter that Kevin Youkilis had been traded from the Boston Red Sox to an unknown team. Every pundit with a Twitter account reported that the likely destination for Youkilis was the Chicago White Sox, but the Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates made a late push to try and get a deal done with Boston.
As sources began to confirm that Kevin Youkilis was going to the Chicago White Sox, the Cleveland fan reaction began. Some folks were happy that Youkilis wasn't coming to Cleveland and some spent the afternoon criticizing Indians GM Chris Antonetti and President Mark Shapiro for not bringing Youkilis to town.
I'm not going to soften this at all. Fans that wanted Kevin Youkilis to play for the Cleveland Indians were wrong.
Youkilis wouldn't fit into an already crowded Indians third base platoon. Even if the team sent Jose Lopez to the minor leagues (where he belongs), the Indians still have the Jack Hannahan and Lonnie Chisenhall minding the hot corner. And as much as Youkilis supporters might argue to replace Hannahan, there's just no way to look at this year's play from either guy to justify that argument.
Hannahan may not be Mike Schmidt at the plate, but his .261 batting average (AVG) and .336 on-base percentage (OBP) are miles better than Youkilis' .225 AVG and .311 OBP. Add Hannahan's defensive superiority to the offensive numbers, and it's evident that if there's a place that Youkilis would fit with Cleveland, it's not at third base.
The only other place to put Youkilis would be at first in place of often criticized Casey Kotchman. Kotchman (.225 AVG, .285 OBP) is just as inept offensively as Youkilis. If you pinned me in a corner and made me tally the pros and cons of Kotchman or Youkilis in a lineup, I can't guarantee you that I Youkilis wouldn't finish a few tallies ahead. But let's not pretend like that's enough reason to return Youkilis to the position that he played for five years in Boston.
If we decide that Youkilis is a little better than Kotchman (which he isn't), there's still the fact that the Indians would have to give something up to get him. Frankly, I couldn't give my blessing to giving up anything to get a guy that isn't an improvement over a team's big league players at that position.
Kevin Youkilis will definitely help the Chicago White Sox, considering their third baseman combine for a blistering .172 AVG, 1 HR, and 16 RBIs. But Cleveland's needs are different than just finding a guy that isn't terrible.
All Kevin Youkilis represented for Cleveland Indians fans was the prospect of having a right-handed hitter with household name value, but I'd rather have lefties that can hit than a righty that can't.
Josh Flagner was born barely a par 4 away from Downtown Cleveland and has been in a Browns, Indians, or Cavaliers hoodie ever since. Josh's sports obsession has led to him be a Featured Contributor for the Yahoo! Contributor Network and a Co-Founder of More Than a Fan.