Life hasn't been easy for Will Middlebrooks in the days since Kevin Youkilis was sent packing.
First, there was the slump: 1-for-15 with two RBI in four games after the trade.
He had a mini-breakout on Friday in Seattle going 2-4 with a home run but then injured himself stealing second on Sunday. He's now day-to-day with a hamstring injury, and while it remains to be seen whether he'll make a trip to the DL, odds are that he won't be in the lineup today, or tomorrow.
In other words, the Red Sox don't have a third baseman, which leads to the natural question:
Did they make a mistake by trading Youk?
After all, this is essentially their worst-case scenario.
4. Nick Punto.
But when it comes to Youk, I'm not ready to bite.
He needed to go, and should still be gone.
Can you imagine if we were still stuck in that every day back and forth? The he saidhe said between Youk and Bobby V? The unbelievable tension that surrounded every aspect of that story? It would be torture. Honestly, I don't care if it turns out that Middlebrooks is secretly working for Al-Qaeda. There are no circumstances under which I'd consider that trade a mistake.
Not to mention, just because Youkilis is a "third baseman," doesn't mean you necessarily want him playing third base. I mean, this isn't 2008 MVP candidate Youk we're talking about. Since the start of last season, Youkilis has played in 169 games and is hitting only .250 (151-603). When he was traded to the White Sox on June 24, everyone was like: "Uh oh. Get ready for Youk to blow up now that he's playing every day!"
So far in Chicago, he's batting .231 (6-for-26) with one double, zero homers and four RBI.
I'll take a week of Nick Punto, a healthy Will Middlebrooks and no more drama, please.
Rich can be reached at email@example.com.