Now that the trade chatter has started, it’ll likely gather momentum in anticipation of the July 31st non-waiver deadline. It could be a long eight weeks for Kevin Youkilis.
The rumors have teams such as the Dodgers, Phillies, Diamondbacks and White Sox interested in acquiring the infielder from his longtime team, the Red Sox. It’s a topic Youkilis prefers to avoid.
“I’m here to play against the Jays,” he said on his way to the indoor batting cages before Sunday’s game in Toronto.
While Youkilis would rather focus on his next at bat than his next team, some players attempt to deflect the rumors and speculation that surround them with a little humor.
Second baseman Dustin Pedroia has had more down time than usual since last Monday, when he injured his right thumb. But Pedroia hasn’t spent the time seeking and digesting the latest updates on his team.
“What’s the rumor mill?” he asked without apparent irony.
Pedroia maintains that he’s not an internet person and that even a mobile phone can be excessive, so his indifference to the trade talk comes as no surprise. His teammates showed a little more curiosity, half-jokingly wondering aloud about possible trade targets for the Red Sox.
It’s nothing more than idle chatter now, but there’s no denying Youkilis’ future in Boston seems less defined than ever before. Will Middlebrooks is emerging as an option at third base, so opposing teams are starting to call general manager Ben Cherington about possible deals.
The Red Sox maintain that they’re not looking to move Youkilis, whose contract includes a $13MM club option for 2013 ($1MM buyout). But until the trade deadline passes two months from now, Youkilis figures to deflect countless questions as onlookers, his teammates included, are left to speculate.