Former Red Sox rival Kevin Youkilis officially joined the New York Yankees on Friday when he signed a one-year contract to fill a void left by the absence of Alex Rodriguez, the American League team said.
The three-time All-Star will serve as the starting third baseman with slugger Rodriguez expected to be sidelined until midseason after having surgery on his left hip.
The deal for Youkilis, a career .283 hitter, will pay the infielder US$12 million, according to media reports.
Youkilis, 33, who has played all but 80 games of his nine-year major league career for Boston, batted a combined .235 last season with 19 home runs and 60 runs batted in in 122 games for Boston and the Chicago White Sox, to whom he was traded in late June.
Rodriguez told reporters at a recent charity event in Miami that Youkilis would be a good addition to the Yankees’ lineup.
“Youk has always been a tough out,” he said. “He’s a tough player, a guy that’s a winning player.”
With Youkilis’ deal finalized, the Yankees were working to finalize a two-year contract with Japanese outfielder Ichiro Suzuki.
Acquired by the Yankees in July from the Mariners, Ichiro thrived in New York, batting .322 with five homers, 27 RBIs and 14 stolen bases in 67 games, providing a late-season spark that helped the club win the American League East title.
Overall last season, Ichiro batted .283 with nine homers, 55 RBIs and 29 stolen bases.
It was believed New York were nearing agreement on a two-year deal that would present Ichiro a chance to reach the 3,000-hit mark with the Yankees.
Ichiro, a career .322 hitter, has amassed 2,606 hits in the major leagues since coming to the Mariners from Japan in 2001.
Meanwhile, right-handed pitcher Anibal Sanchez has agreed to a five-year deal worth US$80 million to remain with the Detroit Tigers, snubbing an offer from the Chicago Cubs according to reports on Friday.
ESPN and USA Today reported that the 28-year-old Venezuelan will stay with the club he helped win the American League title before falling to the San Francisco Giants in October in the World Series.
The Tigers have not confirmed the deal.
Sanchez has a 48-51 record with as 3.75 earned run average for Detroit and Miami over his Major League Baseball career.
He and Zack Greinke, who agreed to a six-year deal worth US$147 million this week with the Los Angeles Dodgers, were seen as the two top free agents available in the off-season.
Reports on Thursday had Sanchez going to the Cubs in a five-year deal worth US$75 million, but that arrangement appears to have collapsed.
That leaves Sanchez alongside Justin Verlander, Doug Fister and Max Scherzer in the Tigers’ starting rotation.
Sanchez was obtained on July 23 at the trade deadline from the Marlins and went 4-6 with a 3.74 ERA in 12 regular-season games plus 1-2 with a 1.77 ERA in three playoff appearances.