The boys are back in town. After retiring in October after playing for Japan's Tohoko Rakuten Golden Eagles in 2014, Kevin Youkilis will now be joining the Chicago Cubs Front Office Staff. A Boston legend, "Youk" is known for his ability to get on base and grit. With a career average of .281, 150 homers, and 618 RBI's, he will be the perfect person to tutor the young Cubbies. He is very familiar with Theo Epstein, Youkilis played for the Boston Red Sox from 2004-2012. He was teammates with new Cubs pitcher Jon Lester from 2006-2012. During the 2012 season, manager Bobby Valentine moved young 3B Will Middlebrooks above the aging Youkilis on the depth chart, and suddenly they had no need for him anymore. He was flipped to the Chicago White Sox on June 24, 2012 and received a standing ovation after his final at bat in a Red Sox uniform.
His decline began after the 2012 season. After a short stint with the Chicago White Sox, and a 2013 disappointment in a Yankee uniform riddled with injuries, he decided to take his talents to Japan. Unfortunately, that didn't work out either, playing only 21 games. On October 30, 2014, Youkilis announced his retirement from Major League Baseball, and his post-playing career began. Now, with his contract for a front office job, "Youk" is now back in baseball, relishing every memory on the diamond and making new ones everyday. Assisting Theo Epstein build a championship-caliber club will be no easy task, but with his skills, he will be a great asset.
When Youkilis came to bat, every single fan in Fenway jumped up from their seat and began shouting "Youuuuuuuuuuuk". Imagine hearing a cow's moo, ricocheting around the stadium for 10 minutes as the intimidating Kevin Youkilis is at the plate. With his freakish batting stance, who knows how he managed to hit the baseball so hard, and so often. Before the pitch, his top hand slid up the bat, almost to the beginning of the barrel, and he would rotate his arms around in a circular motion. Then, before he would swing, he would quickly slide his top hand back down the bat and make contact. He did this his whole career en route to three all-star appearances and two years in the top ten of MVP voting. Kevin Youkilis, known as the Greek God of Walks, from the movie Moneyball, was often an enemy in New York or Tampa Bay, but in Boston, he was a hero.
This move was undoubtedly a great one by Theo Epstein and Co. Today at Spring Training, pitchers and catchers will report to their respective camps. Youkilis may not help very much now, but when the batters start filtering in, he can start working with them. Javier Baez seems like a prime target for improvement. In 2014, he had a 52 game stint in the Major Leagues with 95 strike outs, a dizzying amount. With Youkilis's assistance, his strikeout-to-walk ratio will dramatically decrease. This lone improvement will help Baez win the Cubs starting second base job this spring.
The key to winning baseball game is by scoring runs right? Coincidentally, that is how Kevin Youkilis made a living during his playing career. Teaching the Cubs young players how to get on base, like Baez and Alacantra, will improve the number of runs scored in the Friendly Confines. Therefore there will be more wins and more optimistic fans. Cubs First Baseman Anthony Rizzo declared, "It's [winning the NL Central] going to happen this year, it's what we're going to do. We're going to play and we're going to win the NL Central, you can quote me on that." With the help of long-time slugger Kevin Youkilis, Anthony Rizzo might be right. The new tag team of Theo Epstein and Kevin Youkilis will bring a World Series Championship to Chicago for the first time in 107 years.
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Jake Wesley is now the only writer for MLB_NL_AL.com all of these articles are ether based on facts and pieces of his opinion.