The MLB off-season is officially upon us, and you know what that means? Rampant speculation about free agents that may or may not be signed by the Phillies. First up, third baseman Kevin Youkilis.
After spending his entire career with the Boston Red Sox, the on-base machine was traded to the south side of Chicago in 2012, as the White Sox made a push for the playoffs. He didn't fare well with the Sox -- Red or White -- as his 2012 season was marred by injuries, as he played only 122 games with a .235/.336/.409 line, with 19 homers and 60 RBIs.
But after the White Sox announced that they will not be picking up his option for 2013, the now 33-year-old Youkilis could be a good fit for the Phillies, but only at the right price.
For most of his career, Youkilis has been one of the most consistent players when it came to getting on base. From 2006 to 2011, he ranked eighth among all Major Leaguers with at least 2,700 plate appearances in on-base percentage, where he got on base at a .392 clip as he earned the nickname "the Greek God of Walks."
At his age, he can't be expected to reproduce the .292/.392/.500 line that he did during his prime years, but he's a safe bet to bounce back from a poor 2012. If he's healthy, he could hit well enough, and with enough power (he has averaged 20 homers a season since 2006) to make you forget about his diminishing defensive skills at third base.
His biggest asset, however, is the aforementioned ability to get on base. Aside from Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz, the Phillies really don't have any hitters in their lineup that are particularly skilled at getting on base. Youkilis could be a refreshing, and much needed, addition to the lineup with his superior on-base skills.
And with his 34th year approaching, and coming off a poor season, he may very well be a cost-effective solution at third base in 2013.