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Olney: the Red Sox are “headed down that path” to trade Kevin Youkilis

Boston Red Sox Kevin Youkilis bats against the Minnesota Twins during the seventh inning of their MLB American League baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston

Boston Red Sox Kevin Youkilis bats against the Minnesota Twins during the seventh inning of their MLB American League baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts May 8, 2011. Youkilis is using a pink bat to raise awareness in the fight against breast cancer. REUTERS/Adam Hunger (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

REUTERS

Buster Olney was on WEEI radio this afternoon and, based on his conversations with some anonymous executives, he thinks the Red Sox and Kevin Youkilis will part ways this summer:

“I’ve talked with a number of executives at other teams this week, because this looks like it’s headed down that path.” ... Olney said that other general managers have told him that Youkilis is going to have to put about three productive and healthy weeks together in order for them to gauge his trade value.

Obviously Will Middlebrooks’ nice place since his callup is goosing this along. I’ve not been paying too close attention to how Middlebrooks is perceived locally, but I get the sense that there’s some college football backup quarterback stuff going on there, where he’s seen as a savior while the old guy is taken for granted.

My question: if the Sox do start seriously shopping Youkilis, do the press and fans perceive it as a white flag waving on the 2012 season, or do they view it as making way for Middlebrooks?