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Kevin Youkilis Is Willing To Play Third, But Should He?

It's no secret that it's easier to find a first baseman with a big bat than a third baseman. Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez, Mark Teixeira, Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto...

You get the point.

Compare that to third base, and who do you find? Last year Adrian Beltre and Jose Bautista both killed it, Alex Rodriguez is typically elite (though, at this point, it just may be age catching up with him), and Ryan Zimmerman and Evan Longoria are both good. But they hardly provide the same level of production.

Now the question is, where does Kevin Youkilis lie?

Ever since the Adrian Gonzalez rumors gained steam last year, Red Sox fans have been pushing for the elite first baseman to move over to the hot corner, allowing for another big bat to slide in at first. With Adrian Beltre manning the position so excellently, the need for a shift in position faded. But Beltre is gone, and the demand is back. For what it's worth, Youkilis is up for it.

(At 4:25)

So the offer is out there. Should the Red Sox take him up on it?

I would say not.

Can Kevin Youkilis play third base? Yes, of course, he came up through the minors at third, and he has played more than one thousand innings there in the majors (750 in the past few years). But he's not an elite defensive third baseman, just an average one. He doesn't have the greatest range, and his ability to pick the ball out of the dirt is wasted at the position.

And who replaces him? There's not exactly a lot of good free agent first basemen out there. Especially not ones who will want to take one-year deals to allow the Sox to make a run at one of the big names heading into free agency next year. If we're talking about moving Youk to third to replace him with a mediocre bat, why bother? Why not just take good defense at both positions and shift Jed Lowrie over, letting Marco Scutaro keep his job?

It might be different if there were a trade for Pujols or, possibly, Fielder. But it's not exactly this team's M.O. to deal much in the way of young talent for essentially one year of a star before shelling out tons of money for them next year anyways.

So thanks for the offer, Youk, but I, for one, want you to stay exactly where you are.