Yanks agree to one-year deal with Youkilis
By Bryan Hoch / 12/11/12 6:45 PM ET
NEW YORK -- Kevin Youkilis is ready to see what the other side of the historic American League East rivalry feels like, agreeing to a one-year, $12 million contract with the Yankees on Tuesday.
Youkilis, who will turn 34 in March, will slide in as the Yankees' starting third baseman, with Alex Rodriguez lost until at least midseason due to left hip surgery.
The Yankees have not officially announced a deal with Youkilis, because the former Red Sox star, who finished last season with the Chicago White Sox, must first pass a physical.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman met with Youkilis' agent, Joe Bick, at least twice during last week's Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn., with Youkilis receiving the first offer made by the Yankees to a position player this offseason.
Rodriguez, who could be out of the Yankees' lineup until June or July and might see increased designated-hitter duties upon his return, championed the potential signing of Youkilis at a charity event on Sunday in Miami.
"Youk has always been a tough out," A-Rod said. "He's a tough player, a guy that's a winning player. Whatever the franchise wants to do, I think that will be a good move for us."
Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano also recently said that he believed Youkilis "would help us a lot."
"I've gotten a chance to talk to him and he's a nice guy," Cano said at David Ortiz's celebrity golf event last week, according to the Boston Herald. "I've had a chance to meet him at the All-Star Game, and he always seemed cool in talking with everybody. There's some guys that, you know what, the way they play the game, you say this guy's not a nice person. But he's a great person."
The agreement nearly matches Youkilis' $12.25 million salary in 2012, when he batted a combined .235 with 19 home runs and 60 RBIs in 122 games for Boston and the White Sox, having been traded to Chicago in late June.
Youkilis is a career .283 hitter in 1,033 big league games, hitting 148 home runs and collecting 610 RBIs -- beginning with his callup to Boston in 2004. He also reportedly drew interest from the Dodgers and Indians.
The nine-year veteran has spent all but 80 games with the Red Sox and is a three-time All-Star and former Gold Glove Award winner. He had run-ins with the Yankees over the years, including repeated incidents with pitcher Joba Chamberlain.
"Those kind of things, like I say, I don't think [Chamberlain] ever hit him on purpose," Cano said, according to the Boston Herald. "And I would tell you that he would be the first guy who would be happy to see him on our team, because we know he's the kind of hitter who would help us a lot because he's been in that situation before. He can hit. He plays the game the right way."
With Youkilis' deal on the way to being finalized, the Yankees are continuing to pursue an agreement with outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, and they could have a deal in place by the end of the week.
Cashman and the Yankees have had a quieter offseason than some anticipated, with a payroll goal of $189 million for 2014 believed to be slowing the process down.
But even with that objective in place, the club did spend $37 million to retain pitchers Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera before moving on to pursuing position players, including their newest deal with Youkilis.
The Yankees are also likely to pursue a right-handed-hitting outfielder, and though Cashman says it is likely they already have their Opening Day catcher on the roster in Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart or Austin Romine, an upgrade is still possible.