Youk traded, pressure on Middlebrooks

So it finally happened. After much speculation Kevin Youkilis was traded by the Red Sox to the Chicago White Sox. In return the Red Sox get a project pitcher, Zach Stewart, and a versatile utility guy in Brent Lillibridge. The Red Sox also sent around $5.5 million dollars to Chicago.

Some people seem to think this is a fair deal, or at least the best the Red Sox could do. Others believe Cherington has given Youkilis away for far too little.

I believe this is a good deal for the Red Sox but it does change things for the player who forced all of this to happen. Will Middlebrooks.

The 23 year old rookie is certainly talented, according to Elias the last player to own a .331 batting average, 9 home runs and 33 runs batted in through his first 40 games was Albert Pujols. It’s those numbers that forced Cherington to move Youkilis on.

But now with Youkilis gone, there’s no back up at third base. Middlebrooks has been performing with little real pressure since being called up from the minors. Not only did he have Youkilis there to mentor him, it’s likely that if Middlebrooks had slumped for an extended period that Youkilis would currently still be pulling on red socks tonight.

Now Middlebrooks has to perform because there is no-one else, it’s all on the young man’s shoulders now.

Can he handle this new pressure? Can he handle the weight of expectation each and every night? I think he can and clearly Ben Cherington believes he can but it’s going to be interesting to watch. It’s also going to be interesting to see what Youkilis can do in new surroundings…


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