BOSTON (CBS) — From beloved member of the Boston Red Sox, to Bobby Valentine-era cast-off, to injured New York Yankee, to … Japanese baseball player.
That, reportedly, is the career path for Kevin Youkilis, who agreed to a deal with the Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan. NPBTracker first reported the news via Twitter, and MLB Trade Rumors confirmed it shortly thereafter.
It’s quite a shift for Youkilis, who at 34 years old presumably has some MLB years left in him. The Yankees paid Youkilis $12 million last season, a sum that ended up being part of the dead money at the third base position, along with the $28 million paid to Alex Rodriguez for his 44 games of service. Youkilis only played in 28 games for New York due to back injuries which eventually required surgery.
Youkilis has made more than $56 million in his MLB career, and he won two World Series with the team (though he had just two postseason plate appearances in 2004).
CBS Sports noted that Rakuten lost third baseman Casey McGehee to free agency, thereby creating a need at the position.
Earlier this offseason, Youkilis expressed a desire to play closer to his home in California, but playing in Japan was a “life experience that was too good to pass up,” his agent told MLB Trade Rumors.
Youkilis will reportedly be a teammate with Masahiro Tanaka, the right-hander who was drawing serious interest from MLB but will reportedly stay with the Golden Eagles in 2014.