Kevin Youkilis may have been back in the starting lineup for the Boston Red Sox on Sunday, but make no mistake his time with the club is drawing to a close.
We all knew Bobby Valentine was going to ruffle some feathers in Beantown. What we didn't expect was that the first cage he would rattle would be that of the beloved Youkilis.
"I'm still here. I'm not dead," Youkilis said after sitting out his third straight game on Saturday.
"Is this a goodbye thing? I'm just sitting here at my locker. I haven't been told anything."
Youkilis has been unhappy all season playing under Valentine, who openly questioned his commitment to the team back in April.
"I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Valentine said after an April 15 loss to Tampa.
Valentine apologized at the time, but the damage had been done and the writing was on the wall: there was a new sheriff in town and Youkilis' days in Boston were probably numbered.
Granted, Youkilis hasn't helped his cause any, as he headed into action on Sunday hitting just .225 with 13 RBI and a career-worst.670 OPS. As bad as Youkilis has been his biggest obstacle has been rookie Will Middlebrooks, who has thrived since joining the big club, batting .331 with nine home runs and 33 RBI.
Over his past five games Middlebrooks is 10-for-14 (.714) with three home runs and nine RBI.
"I'm just trying to play the people that I want to be in the lineup," Valentine said. "I think that's one of the things I'm allowed to do."
After Valentine had told the media that he had talked with Youkilis about a reduction in playing time, Youkilis flat out denied that a meeting ever took place.
"You want to play. I definitely want to play the game and enjoy it and have fun," Youkilis said Saturday. "I don't know my situation. To be honest, I was never told what's going on here -- let's get that straight."
There's always been a method to Valentine's madness. He uses the media to his advantage. He always has. So, when he made those comments about Youkilis earlier in the year, he knew that was a way to show he was the boss. Knowing he had Middlebrooks in his back pocket didn't hurt either.
And now the trade rumors have started. So what exactly is the market for an oft-injured 33-year-old, who is in the midst of the worst year of his career and is still owed $7 million.
Well there doesn't appear to be a lack of suitors. The popular opinion seems to be that he will land with the Chicago White Sox, who desperately need a third baseman, as they try to stay near the top the American League Central standings. After Brent Morel was injured, the White Sox signed Orlando Hudson, but he is hitting only .160 and backup Eduardo Escobar is hitting only .190.
"You hear (trade rumors) and stuff," manager Robin Ventura said. "But it's just like being a player. You can't react to them or respond to them unless they become true."
Youkilis' brother Scott hinted on Twitter that he wouldn't mind Chicago being his brother's next destination, while taking a few shots at Valentine in the process.
In response to someone's comment, Scott tweeted, that "Bobby V is a joke", and has started using the hashtag #whychicagoisbetterthanboston?.
The Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers are also believed to be in the running for Youkilis' services.
Either way it should all be settled in the coming days.
What was that line in the movie Cocktail? All things end badly, or they wouldn't end. Well that certainly seems to be the case in Boston, where it appears Youkilis will become the latest Red Sox legend to leave with a bad taste in their mouth, joining the ranks of Roger Clemens, Nomar Garciaparra, Manny Ramirez, Pedro Martinez and Terry Francona