The Indians are "believed" to be interested in Kevin Youkilis, reports Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Tribe GM Chris Antonetti didn't directly confirm his club's interest in Youkilis when asked about the free agent, though he noted that the Indians are looking at players who fit Youkilis' mold.
"There aren't many of those kind of guys that we haven't talked to," said Antonetti. "We need help in the outfield, first base and DH. Does he play one or more than one of those positions? The DH opens up a lot of guys, too."
Youkilis turns 34 in March and the Pro Star Management client is coming off the most tumultuous season of his nine-year career. Youkilis battled injuries, posted a career-low .235/.336/.409 slash line, publicly feuded with Boston manager Bobby Valentine and was traded from the Red Sox to the White Sox in June. Despite this recent history, Youkilis would be a good fit for the Indians, who are in need of both right-handed hitting and help at first base and designated hitter. Youkilis would also be reunited with new Cleveland manager Terry Francona, who managed Youkilis for his first eight years in Boston.
The White Sox bought out Youkilis for $1MM rather than pick up his $13MM option for 2013. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes ranked Youkilis as the 27th-best available free agent this winter, arguing that Youkilis could find a multiyear contract given the "terrible" third base market. The Indians have third base earmarked for Lonnie Chisenhall and keeping Youkilis in a 1B/DH role would likely keep him healthier over the long run.