2004 Player Reviews: 3B


Earl Snyder was the Pawtucket Triple-A team’s resident masher this past year, hitting 36 home-runs in 538 AB and earning a cup of coffee with the Red Sox to the tune of one game, four at-bats. He struck out once, and singled. That was the extent of his contribution to the World Championship season of the Red Sox, but at least he got to contribute.
Kevin Youkilis was one of two of the feel-good stories about the Red Sox during the doldrums that were June and July.

Rookies have provided some of the greatests moments for the Red Sox so far. Earlier in the year, Kevin Youkilis had his first MLB hit which was also a HR. The Red Sox refused to congratulate him, and he high-fived the air going into the dugout. Good times, and that was repeated today when Alvarez trotted out to the mound, hat askew ala C.C. Sabathia of the Indians and Dontrelle Willis of Florida. The entire team on the bench wore their hat askew. Curt Schilling looked hilarious, as did all the other members of the Red Sox.

He provided pretty good defense, and will only get better as his experience improves. He was not having a great AAA season, but was able to turn it around when he got called up. His statistics dipped somewhat near the end, due to inactivity. He got injured August 15th and after that fell off a cliff, hitting .095/.259/.095 in September. He finished the year at .260/.367/.413, pretty good for a rookie who came up as one of those people expected to just fill in, and played his way into a starting job, then had to deal with being a bench player. Without that September, Youkilis could have ended up in the .280 range for his rookie season.
Youkilis will either report to Triple-A or be a bench-player off the bench. He will most certainly see playing time on the big-league club, although he could be moved as a trading chip, perhaps as soon as now. Reports are that the New York Mets have guaranteed a fourth year to Pedro, and quite frankly, Pedro isn’t stupid enough to decline it. As I’ve said, the years are more important to him now than a ring, which he has, and money, which he has. He knows he doesn’t have much left in the business, and wants security where he can get it. His first choice is Boston, but years override that. Reportedly, Pedro was going to return to the Red Sox, and they were just hammering out final details, and were a million apart, which was stopping both parties involved to sign on the dotted line, allowing the Mets to come in with the four-year offer. I’ve already seen some people getting on the Red Sox about this, about being only one million apart, etc. but the fact is that Theo and Co. know what’s best for the team, and need to make the best effort they can to put the best team on the field, and if Pedro at one million more is detrimental to the team, then so be it. Anyways, the pointof this rant was to say – Tim Hudson is on the block. He is an Athletic. Kevin Youkilis is coveted by Billy Beane. Might we see a fit here? Who knows?
Bill Mueller is one of my favorites. He is a quiet player, one of those people that just goes out and does his job the best way he knows how. He doesn’t crave the spotlight and create news. He’s one of those people that stay out of the spotlight, do their job, go home to their family, come back, and repeat it all over again. The 2003 AL batting champ had a chunk of the season missed due to injury, but finished with a very respectable .283/.365/.446 line in 399 at-bats. (Youkilis got 208.)
Mueller will be a free agent at the close of the year and what with him becoming 34 in March, and us having Kevin Youkilis, it will probably be his final year in a Red Sox uniform. He gets to leave with a batting title, a championship ring, and free beer in Boston for eternity. Let’s make this final year with Mueller a bang!
Thanks to Earl for that game that we needed from him, Kevin for a spark of needed energy, and Bill for being a quiet professional. His nickname around Red Sox Nation is “The Professional” or “The Pro” – for doing what needs to be done, whether it be a hit, a sacrifice fly, whatever. He is not one of those players that aims for the crowds. If the team needs a sacrifice fly to get a runner to score, he will do it. A hard-earned nickname from a great Sox player.
Enjoy your rings.