Thursday, January 15, 2009
Peter Gammons and Tony Massarotti are both reporting that the Red Sox have reached an agreement with first baseman Kevin Youkilis on a 4-year, $41 million extension. THe deal reportedly also includes a $13 million club option for a fifth year in 2013. The Sox locked up AL MVP Dusitn Pedroia with a 6-year, $40.5 extension earlier this season, and speculation exists that closer Jonathan Papelbon could also receive a deal.
While many will certainly say this a good deal for Boston, and yes he is relatively cheap given the contracts being tossed around, but there are reasons to raise an eye to this deal.
Youk will be 30 come the start of next year, meaning he will be 32, at the point when many MLBers are on the back end of their prime, and only half way through the deal. No reason to think he won't start to decline when he will still be owed $20-$30 million. On top of that, while Youkilis had a great 2008 (.312/.390/.569), it was, relative to his other full seasons with Boston, an aberration of sorts. In his previous two seasons he hit a combined 29 home runs, failed to hit .290 and finished 10th and 16th in OPS among MLB first basemen. This was mostly due to his numbers dropping significantly in the second half, and there is no way to know if this was a career year and he will return to his 2006/2007 numbers. Youkilis was still arbitration eligible so Boston could have waited another year to see whether or not 2008 was in fact an aberration or a sign of things to come.
Not a bad deal, but one that did not need to be made.