Rakuten Golden Eagles To Sign Kevin Youkilis

9:09pm: In an email, Speier clarifies that Youkilis will receive a $2MM signing bonus, $2MM in salary and up to $1MM in incentives.

3:26pm: Youkilis will earn a $4MM base salary, and his contract also contains $1MM worth of "very earnable" incentives, reports Alex Speier of WEEI.com. ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reports, via Twitter, that Youkilis' plan is to play for just one more season.

1:13pm: The Rakuten Golden Eagles will sign Kevin Youkilis, according to a report from Nikkan Sports (passed along by NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman on Twitter). MLBTR has confirmed the report with Youkilis' agent Joe Bick of Pro Star Management, Inc.

Youkilis-Kevin

Youkilis will sign a one-year deal with the Golden Eagles. Though previous reports indicated that he wanted to play close to his California home, Bick explained to MLBTR that his client's West Coast preference was in order to be near to his family. Youkilis' wife and children will be going with him to Japan, however, which was a key factor in his decision. Youkilis considered the opportunity to play in Japan a "life experience that was too good to pass up," said Bick.

Youkilis, who turns 35 in March, inked a one-year, $12MM contract with the Yankees last offseason but saw his 2013 campaign cut short by a pair of back injuries. He would appear in just 28 games for the Yankees, batting .219/.305/.343 with a pair of homers before undergoing season-ending back surgery in June. A three-time All-Star that finished third in the AL MVP voting back in 2008, Youkilis was one of the American League's best hitters from 2007-11 when he batted .294/.395/.517 over a five-year span.

Youkilis could appear at either corner position for the Golden Eagles, who now have a vacancy at third base following Casey McGehee's decision to return to Major League Baseball on a one-year deal with the Marlins. That situation was not necessarily linked to Rakuten's interest in Youkilis, however, as the two sides have been in discussions for roughly three weeks. Youkilis received interest from eight or nine Major League clubs, but ultimately elected to be with his family for a new experience in Japan.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Leave a Reply

122 Comments on "Rakuten Golden Eagles To Sign Kevin Youkilis"


Kingmojo101
1 year 8 months ago

Would have been a good bench player for Oakland

Junior7188
1 year 8 months ago

your really funny if you think that Kevin Youkilis is a bench player, he can hit better the half your team could.

Victoria Roberts
1 year 8 months ago

The problem there is he can only stay healthy for about 50 games a year. At this point in his career, he’s a bench player.

Junior7188
1 year 8 months ago

remember eric chavez was told he would be a bench player for the rest of his carrier from everyone, and look now he can play way more then 100 Games and stay heathly.

Baseball Lifer
1 year 8 months ago

Chavez has avearged 96 games the past 2 years… Most of which was spent as a key pinch hitter off the bench. He is far (much like Youkilis) removed from a everyday regualr player.

Junior7188
1 year 8 months ago

remember eric chavez was told he would be a bench player for the rest of his carrier from everyone, and look now he can play way more then 100 Games and stay heathly.

beisbolista
1 year 8 months ago

From 2010-2012 Youkilis averaged about 115 games per season. That’s not bench player caliber regardless of last season’s health issues. In fact, I bet Youkilis got a pretty good contract with Rakuten. I don’t see this as the Golden Eagles signing an MLB reject. I see this as Rakuten offering Youkilis, still a well regarded big league player, the best deal of any team in the mix, and signing him as a statement directly to Tanaka. The Eagles are trying to keep Tanaka in Japan, and aside from talking to Tanaka about increasing next year’s contract to a record number, signing Youkilis is a great first step in persuading Tanaka to stay in Japan.

Victoria Roberts
1 year 8 months ago

Conveniently eliminating 2013 from the equation does not mean it did not exist. If Youkilis could have found a job in the US don’t you think he would have taken it? He has had declining numbers, and games played for the past three years. He’s not the same player he was and teams can see that. That’s he has to go to Japan to rebuild value.

beisbolista
1 year 8 months ago

1) A single year does not establish a trend. 2013 is an outlier from the recent dataset of 2010-2013.

2) Youkilis’ games played increased from 2010-2012: 102, 120, 122. His games played have not “decreased over the last three years.”

3) There is no evidence that he was not offered a job in the U.S. In fact, common sense and a look at Youkilis’ career numbers both directly support an inference that there were probably several teams willing to give him a chance. Rakuten most likely offered more money, and a guaranteed starting position.

Victoria Roberts
1 year 8 months ago

They have decreased from the 147, 145, 145 and 136 he played in the previous 4 seasons. 2013 is not an outlier, the wheels finally fell off the bus. His performance was trailing off and he finally got the major injury that everyone was waiting for. And career numbers don’t mean squat. What have you done for me lately. Youkilis is never going to hit like it’s 2005 or 2006 again. He is declining because of his aggressive style of play. And in your recent data set would you say he has been a good hitter? How about a good defender? Because at best he looks average over the past three years. His best years are behind him.

beisbolista
1 year 8 months ago

You’re using data from between 5-8 years ago to support a statement you made about the last three years???

I’ll accept your statement that Youkilis is average without getting into a debate on the merits. The average Major Leaguer has no problem finding a job in the U.S. Nobody is arguing that Youkilis is the player he was in 2008.

Victoria Roberts
1 year 8 months ago

No, I am using that data to support a decline in games played per season. If you can omit an entire season, the most important one at that, being the most recent one, surely I can use that data to support that he plays fewer games now than he has in the past. At best he was average. I was throwing you a bone,. He is a below average defender, particularly at third base. Unfortunately people who play average defense at first base are a dime a dozen as it is the easiest position to play defensively. I think if you really look at his numbers over the past few seasons, slash lines of .219.305.343, .235 .336 .409, and .258 .373 .459, even you have to admit that isn’t average for a corner infielder. That is below average. And declining. And there’s the part where if he could have found a job in the US, he’s be working in the US. Unless you think he’s being serious about wanting to have that experience with his family?

beisbolista
1 year 8 months ago

It seems my points are supported by the contract. The average Major Leaguer last season made $3.19MM. Youkilis’ contract will come out between $4-5MM, and in a league known for much lower salaries than MLB.

Kevin Siver
1 year 8 months ago

I’ll be honest, I believe that his comments were sincere. Experiencing different places in the world is a very good pursuit and it can really improve your outlook on a great many things in life. Japan is a beautiful country and baseball is second to nothing there, paradise for a player with an “aggressive style of play” or as I prefer to call it, heart and guts.

Mil8Ball
1 year 8 months ago

147,145,145,136 is not a trend at all. 3 years it never changed and the last was only 10 less. This can not be considered a negative trend.

NimbusStev
1 year 8 months ago

I dunno, the article says he received interest from 8 or 9 Major League clubs, so I bet he could have gotten a contract from an MLB team if he wanted to. Granted, it wouldn’t have been the type of money he’s used to. Overall though, I think it’s a good decision for him and his family.

Red_Line_9
1 year 8 months ago

I’d agree with you, but add that I believe Youkilis isn’t so much trying to rebuild value as give his family one year of Japanese experience. He can play ball and be closer to them.

$5427573
1 year 8 months ago

I see it as their way of showing Tanaka they’re going all in to win in 2014. Mcgehee did very well for them last year and he has to be considered an upgrade.

Baseball Lifer
1 year 8 months ago

Not with that bad back…. Let’s not forget he has hit .219, .234, and .258 during the last three seasons.

Junior7188
1 year 8 months ago

so what he had surgery, he has a chance to come back, i bet that mlb teams after his first year are going to want him.

Baseball Lifer
1 year 8 months ago

He has had multiple surgreries on his back, neck, shoulder, foot and elbow in his career…. He has missed 302 of his team’s games over the course of the last 5 years in part to his body failing him. He hasnt been the good/great player he was since 2008 (5 years ago). BTW – Just because you have a surgrey doesnt mean you will come back at 100%. As good as doctors are, they are not miracle men.

Mike Blowers
1 year 8 months ago

yea Josh Donaldson and the 2 time defending AL West champs are slouches! Youk would have made them a real contender!

teakayfortoowon
1 year 8 months ago

better than half of the 40-man roster maybe.

AlwaysTFO
1 year 8 months ago

I think you mean, he would be healthy enough to play half the games the rest of the team could

AmericanMovieFan
1 year 8 months ago

I believe him. This doesn’t reek of spinning. He’s made plenty of money, had some amazing seasons, I think this is a great move for him. He’ll mash like 40 dingers there. I wonder what they’re paying him though. Can’t be much. Maybe $1-2MM.

letsgogiants
1 year 8 months ago

I’m sure they’re pay him much more than that. Players that did far less than Youk in the major leagues have gotten paid that, if not more. One of the main reasons players will go to Japan is so they can get paid more than they would in the U.S. I’m sure Youk will get a pretty hefty paycheck there.

Marky Mark
1 year 8 months ago

Tanakas offer of 7 mil was a record breaking offer.. hes not getting more than 3 mil

johnbrooks
1 year 8 months ago

3 million was more than he was going to make in MLB. Casey McGhee made like 1.5 million this year for Rakuten, so he’s getting more than that i suppose

Marky Mark
1 year 8 months ago

Still weird to me that a team wouldn’t have offered an incentive crazy deal with a base of 1 mil or something to see if they can strike lighting in a bottle.. I’ve always liked Youk as a player

johnbrooks
1 year 8 months ago

Some MLB team would offered him a deal in like January or early
February. My guess is Youk wanted the guaranteed salary and if he has a
strong season in Japan, my guess is some MLB team will come calling in
2014 with a starting job. It worked out for McGhee.

Red_Line_9
1 year 8 months ago

Youkilis is trending into the murky ground of the overpaid former MLB star. It’s a gamble at corner positions where teams don’t want to take a chance. Even if the contract has a games played stipulation….what are they going to get? Teams see his medical charts. Youk knows his health. It looks like he took a chance to take the family to Japan for a year and get paid well one last time. No spin there….and I don’t blame him. Doesn’t make sense to fly all over the US as a bench player.

AmericanMovieFan
1 year 8 months ago

Hence why I said 1 TO 2 million. I bet it’s $1MM base with $1MM or so in roster bonuses.

Marky Mark
1 year 8 months ago

Oh I agreed with you, Was answering the other guy haah

Kevin Wisla
1 year 8 months ago

Who had this one going down??? Super random

letsgogiants
1 year 8 months ago

Whoever did should automatically win the free agent contest.

connfyoozed .
1 year 8 months ago

And they should be paid any cash prize in yen.

1 year 8 months ago

Good luck to Youk, I really wanted him to be awesome last year…but things happen. Hope he rocks Rakuten.

Lilstackhustla
1 year 8 months ago

Japan is pretty close to his California home.

Brandon Mason
1 year 8 months ago

I Never in a million years expected this would happen

johnbrooks
1 year 8 months ago

Yeah I would never forseen this. Hopefully he can replace Casey McGhee for Rakuten.

gpf0r
1 year 8 months ago

Now they can post both him and Tanaka and get more in posting fees for Tanaka. Rumor was that is what teams were trying to do to circumvent the process.

Jmazz88
1 year 8 months ago

His hope is to have a great year out in Japan and get a MLB deal next year. Hence the one year contract.

John Kreese
1 year 8 months ago

“life experience that was too good to pass up,”

Plus the fact they’ll be cutting him a pretty fat check that no MLB team was offering up.

LordOfTheSwings
1 year 8 months ago

I’m sure if he really wanted to stay he could have gotten a deal for 2 m + incentives from someone. The Eagles are probably only paying him 3 to 4 million.

But I guess an extra million (or a little more) is actually a substanial amount of money; especially when you’re an older player whose career could be done any year.

tim2nyy
1 year 8 months ago

Ha, I saw “Rakuten Golden Eagles” and thought this would be a Tanaka development. Very unexpected move, but good luck to Youk.

1 year 8 months ago

So Youkilis, who wanted to play on the West Coast, is now heading to the Far East? Bold move for a bold dude. Best of luck out there, Youk.

Kevin Wisla
1 year 8 months ago

If you go far enough East it becomes West, no?

StevePegues
1 year 8 months ago

Not according to Rudyard Kipling.

jmcbosox
1 year 8 months ago

wouldnt the far east be the same as the kinda near west?

DerekJeterDan
1 year 8 months ago

Plot Twist – Bobby Valentine to Manage the Rakuten Golden Eagles.

johnbrooks
1 year 8 months ago

Rakuten is pretty darn happy with Hoshino, an already popular figure in his own right.

DerekJeterDan
1 year 8 months ago

You missed the joke.

jmcbosox
1 year 8 months ago

badly. like, really bad.

Conquerbeard
1 year 8 months ago

Swing and a miss!

Kevin Siver
1 year 8 months ago

Hang whoop’um.

Carlos
1 year 8 months ago

he could see Cali from Japan

Junior7188
1 year 8 months ago

Goodluck Kevin Youkilis, show mlb that you can still hit, hope to see you back in a mlb team next year.

Ely Sussman
1 year 8 months ago

I’m interpreting “life experience that was too good to pass up” as “no guaranteed contract offers from MLB teams”

Conquerbeard
1 year 8 months ago

I’m sure money was a factor, but there aren’t too many people who get an opportunity to do what they love in a country like that. I would totally take a job to browse the internet while living in Japan, hah.

danistheguy
1 year 8 months ago

That makes Youuuuk and Luuuuuke (Scott) both playing overseas. Weird.

dwarfcatt
1 year 8 months ago

We’re exporting our best fan chants.

EarlyMorningBoxscore
1 year 8 months ago

Good luck Youk. Always enjoyed his time (when healthy) for Boston.

Baseball Lifer
1 year 8 months ago

The Greek God of Walks has fallen…

GrilledCheese39
1 year 8 months ago

You know the Yankees are bad when someone turns down an offer from them to go to japan.

johnbrooks
1 year 8 months ago

Its highly unlikely the Yankees would’ve offered him more than Rakuten did after being injured last year.

Too Many Idiots
1 year 8 months ago

Yankees never made him an offer. I guess haters have to invent stories.

GrilledCheese39
1 year 8 months ago

They didn’t make a formal offer, but they contacted his agent to work out a deal, and they said no

livestrong77nyyankz
1 year 8 months ago

You reached on it end of story.

GrilledCheese39
1 year 8 months ago

They didn’t make a formal offer, but they contacted his agent to work out a deal, and they said no